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Bad Vibes: TransCanada Dials Down Keystone Pressure, Replaces Worn Fittings

TransCanada is dialing down the pressure on its leaky Keystone pipeline to replace bad pumping station parts. Apparently the Canadian land-grabber is attributing the frequent leaks at its pumping stations (the Calgary Herald says 14 in the past year, but I count 13 including the little leak in Miner County last month) to faulty fittings. While they replace these parts, the pipeline will pump 400,000 to 450,000 barrels of corrosive tar sands oil per day instead of the max 591,000 bpd.

Note that TransCanada says that corrosive oil did not cause the failures. Vern Meier, TransCanada's U.S. pipeline chief, said at a press conference yesterday that "equipment vibration" caused (in the Wall Street Journal's words) "[p]remature wear of pumping-station valve fittings and gaskets."

Meier also assures us that numerous leaks in the first year or two are normal for pipelines and that (Meier's words) "we would fully expect a significant decrease in these types of incidents."

Yes, we would expect that, given that Keystone's Year One spills have cashed in a century's worth of the spills your own risk assessment predicted.

Related: Bold Nebraska beats up on Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry for his parroting of Koch brothers' propaganda in support of TransCanada's Keystone XL. Bold Nebraska's Malinda Frevert also beats up on the claim that Keystone XL will bring jobs. Sure, it will... but equivalent investments in clean domestic energy would bring more:

Another bonus to investing in clean energy? JOBS. Clean energy investments create 16.7 jobs for every $1 million in spending while fossil fuels only generate 5.3 for the same cost. The Center for American Progress found that Nebraska could see a net increase of $930 million in investment revenue and 11,000 jobs based on its share of a total of $150 billion in clean energy investments across the country. Compare that to the 1,200 jobs the Keystone XL would bring to Nebraska, only 120-200 of which would go to Nebraskans, and the $150 million in property taxes TransCanada would pay to our state [Malinda Frevert, "Rep. Lee TransCanada," Bold Nebraska, 2011.06.15].

Meanwhile, Rep. Terry joined his fellow Republicans on the House Energy and Power subcommittee in approving a measure that would rush the federal government's permitting process for Keystone XL. Sure, who need environmental oversight when there's money to be made for Big Oil?