Monday, January 02, 2012

TransCanada Whistleblower: Keystone XL unsafe, will have catastrophic oil spills

In a bold and timely op-ed, Mike Klink, a civil engineer--and inspector with TransCanda during earlier phases of the Keystone project before his constant pointing-out of dangerous shortcuts, cheap materials and shoddy workmanship, and mind-blowingly poor siting choices got him fired--blows the whistle.

Actually, "whistle-blowing" seems like such a diminutive phrase to describe what he's doing. To my mind, it's more like grabbing a spare LRAD cannon from one of the violent, authoritarian thugs riot policemen at the latest stop-the-XL demonstration in Washington DC, packing it to the brim with weapons-grade truth, and firing it at the sleepy public.

If this doesn't get Americans' attention and make them scream at their government, night and day and all week long, and not stop until the President drives a final stake into the tarry heart of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, nothing will. To wit:

Despite its boosters' advertising, this project is not about jobs or energy security. It is about money. And whenever my former employer Bechtel, working on behalf of TransCanada, had to choose between safety and saving money, they chose to save money.

As an inspector, my job was to monitor the construction of the first Keystone pipeline. I oversaw construction at the pump stations that have been such a problem on that line, which has already spilled more than a dozen times. I am coming forward because my kids encouraged me to tell the truth about what was done and covered up.

When I last raised concerns about corners being cut, I lost my job — but people along the Keystone XL pathway have a lot more to lose if this project moves forward with the same shoddy work.

What did I see? Cheap foreign steel that cracked when workers tried to weld it, foundations for pump stations that you would never consider using in your own home, fudged safety tests, Bechtel staffers explaining away leaks during pressure tests as "not too bad," shortcuts on the steel and rebar that are essential for safe pipeline operation and siting of facilities on completely inappropriate spots like wetlands.

Go and read the whole thing. Then call or e-mail President Obama, as well as your senators and representatives, and get busy with the Twitter and Facebook buttons directly below this post. There isn't much time, and if President Obama's actions to date are anything to go by, his next thumbs-up for a wealthy, powerful interest--with an attendant thumbs-down to our dying hope for a sane energy policy and green future--is likely a foregone conclusion. In fact, I don't doubt that he'd have already signed it if it weren't for all those aforementioned pesky protesters, with their rag-tag signs about pending environmental disasters and their reams and reams of scientific evidence.


  1. I've been agitating against it, and will continue to do so, but it's a lost cause.

    Obama will okay this pipeline. He always intended to okay it. He'll just wait until after the election to do it. Because he knows he still has millions of dunderheaded followers who will vote for him, people who still refuse to believe what's right in front of their noses, environmentalist like Bill McKibben who are actively working for his re-election.

    He will wait until after the election and, assuming he gets back into office, will have no compunction about rewarding his Wall Street buddies and screwing the rest of us.

    It's what he has done from the beginning, it's what he will continue to do, and it's what the bots refuse to acknowledge.

  2. I do not know America's stance on the pipeline, other than your view of things, but as told in Canada: A lot of people want it for the jobs, for the economy and a few people do not want it mostly for environmental concerns and for national protectionism of our resources. It is said, in our news, that Obama is saying no and our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is putting on the pressure by threatening to sell our oil to China, instead of America if Obama does not relent. Canada bullying the U.S.A. ... Can you imagine?

  3. And, of course, amidst all the backslapping going on now over the temporary decision to not approve the permit, Bill McKibben et. al. are refusing to acknowledge that Obama left the door wide open to approve it after the election.

    Really, how many Pyrrhic victories do these people have to get before they stop their trumpeting?