Environmental Protection

Communities along the pipeline route launched Texas Pipeline Watch to arm landowners and citizens with cameras to document every spill, leak, and disturbance along the risky pipeline.

Texas Pipeline Watch to Closely Monitor TransCanada’s Tar Sands Pipeline

As the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline starts to flow this week, residents around the route will be using cameras from the Texas Pipeline Watch to monitor and document all activity of the pipeline.

As TransCanada starts operations on its Gulf Coast Pipeline (the southern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline), communities along the pipeline route launched Texas Pipeline Watch to arm landowners and citizens with cameras to document every spill, leak, and disturbance along the risky pipeline.

Citizens and landowners have long had a strong network with each other, which has included:

  • Investigating pipeline anomalies. Along one 250 mile stretch, there were 125 excavations to repair potential problems. Along one stretch of the pipeline, 48 percent of the welds were considered adequate.
  • Meeting with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to discuss anomalies along the pipeline route.
  • Circulating an online letter to the Attorney General for citizens to ask him to intervene, and to ensure that all first responders have been informed about the chemical contents that are coming through the pipeline so that they can adequately prepare.
  • Documenting new construction that happened over the weekend, where the pipeline was dug up and construction workers placed new sensors on it.

“No foreign corporation building a for-profit pipeline should be able to take any American's land, and the Texas Supreme Court's recent decision on our case signals they believe the issues merit a more thorough review,” said Julia Trigg Crawford, Texas landowner along pipeline route.

“In our state, citizens and landowners continue to push back against this unwanted pipeline,” said Kathy DaSilva, Texas advocate. “A Texas coalition recently attended a meeting held at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the agency charged with the oversight on pipeline projects in our 5-state area.  In September PHMSA sent warning letters to TransCanada concerning code violations committed in the construction phase of the KXL southern leg, but the agency has no plan to follow up to see if these violations have been corrected.  In their words, they have "faith" that the pipeline is now safe and ready for start-up.  We have faith that this pipeline is inadequate and is ready to leak.”

“On Wednesday, January 22, the Southern Leg of Keystone XL [began]to flow with the dirtiest of fossil fuels, bringing more toxic insults to low-income communities of color that already overburdened with disproportionate health impacts,” said Bryan Parra, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services Youth Coordinator.Yet this pipeline that was fast-tracked by the Obama Administration will bring even more emissions of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and fine particulate matter to our neighborhoods.  Communities living at the tail end of the pipeline remain committed to fight, and stand in solidarity with all impacted communities against the extraction, transmission and refining of tar sands."

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