Will the proposed Keystone XL pipeline be safe? What is being done to prevent spills/leaks?
Pipelines have long been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and well-regulated ways to transport crude oil and petroleum products. Built to the most advanced specifications and monitored and maintained by state-of-the-art technologies, the 1,661-mile Keystone XL pipeline would be no exception.
Nicolas Loris, policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, explains:
“[The Keystone XL pipeline] has already met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Furthermore, the pipeline would be equipped with 16,000 sensors connected to a satellite that would monitor pressure” to prevent spills and leaks.”
The fact is crude oil from oil sands has been transported in existing pipelines for decades, and oil sands crude is no more corrosive to transmission pipelines than other crudes.
The State Department has reviewed the Keystone XL pipeline three times since 2010―studying and addressing potential risks to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife and endangered species. After each review, the State Department has concluded that the pipeline would pose only minimal environmental risk during construction and operation. Most notably, this three-year analysis and environmental review has confirmed that the Keystone XL pipeline would “have a degree of safety over any other,” offering a safe, practical way to bring more Canadian oil to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast states.
If a leak or spill occurred, pipeline builder TransCanada says it would be able to locate and isolate the problem within minutes and shutdown affected portions. TransCanada has also worked to form strong relationships with local emergency response groups, such as volunteer fire departments and EMT personnel, all along the pipeline route, for 1,600 miles.
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