Harding County neighbor Bret Clanton goes walkabout up north and finds this remarkable sight next to tiny Gascoyne, North Dakota:

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16. Photo by Bret Clanton

That's Keystone XL pipeline laid out along Highway 12. TransCanada has been stockpiling pipeline at Gascoyne and other sites up and down the Great Plains since last fall, before TransCanada had federal permission to build the Keystone XL. The federal government rejected TransCanada's flawed Keystone XL application in January, yet TransCanada continues to move steel into position on American soil.

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16. Photo by Bret Clanton.

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16

TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline depot, Gascoyne, North Dakota, 2012.02.16. Photo by Bret Clanton.

Clanton takes a wild guess and says the site appears to be 50 to 60 acres. He shared a beer with locals who say they've heard TransCanada plans to stockpile around 300 miles worth of pipeline at the depot. As is shown in the third picture, the pipes are kept in place by laying them across four low, parallel dirt berms.

Clanton sees that the workers busily stacking the regular flow of new pipe are from Michels Pipeline Construction, the same Wisconsin outfit that ran the show on the Sibson farm and other eastern South Dakota points along the Keystone 1 route in 2009. Clanton chose not to hop the fence and risk a run-in with the roughnecks moving big steel, so he didn't get the chance to see how much of the pipe is stamped "Made in India" like the Keystone pipe now sitting under Mike and Sue Sibson's farm.

TransCanada has previoulsy balked at telling us which companies are producing that pipe due to confidentiality agreements. But after pressure from U.S. lawmakers, TransCanada has just put out a press release listing its suppliers:

  • Welspun, Little Rock, Ark.: 332,800 tons (50 percent)
  • Evraz, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada: 156,266 tons (24 percent)
  • ILVA, Italy: 103,147 tons (16 percent)
  • Welspun, India: 69,457 tons (10 percent)

Worth noting: TransCanada said just two weeks ago that "We have not sourced any steel from India." Apparently 69,547 tons falls within TransCanada's definition of zero... just as 1.4 spills every ten years really means 33 leaks in one year.

The majority of the steel that is supposed to contain 900,000 barrels of high-pressure toxic tar sands oil a day is coming from Welspun, the same outfit that supplied lots of defective steel during the 2007-2009 pipeline construction boom. And now a lot of it is sitting out in the open in North Dakota, waiting for construction that now may not start for two years.