NATION & WORLD
Pipelines at risk of failure in Montana, Wyoming
closed problems Nov. 15 with oil and other hazardous liq- uid pipelines at seven major river crossings and hundreds of smaller crossings in Montana and northern Wyoming — problems that could put the lines at increased risk of failure. Problems found at the major river crossings must be fi xed
by spring or the companies that own them will face enforce- ment actions, said Chris Hoidal with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
pany representatives. Many of the pipelines were installed decades ago in shal-
Gallatin, Tongue and other rivers that are owned by three companies: Exxon Mobil, CHS and ConocoPhillips. Some repairs already are under way, according to com-
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Federal safety regulators dis- That includes pipelines crossing the Missouri, Musselshell,
low trenches just a few feet beneath riverbottoms. Erosion caused in part by record fl ooding has since exposed the lines or left them buried under minimal cover. The consequences
they will have to shut them down,” said Hoidal, who over- sees pipeline safety in 12 Western states for the Transporta- tion Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. He characterized the problems at the major crossings as putting them at a signifi cant risk of failure. Information on the smaller crossings still is under analysis, and Hoidal said repairs to those would be scheduled on a case-by-case basis. Hoidal said he has instructed his inspectors to take a simi- lar look at pipelines elsewhere in the West. But the most de- tailed information has been collected since the Yellowstone spill for Montana and portions of northern Wyoming within the Missouri River basin.
of a line failing was highlighted by an Exxon Mobil pipeline break in July that spilled 1,000 barrels of crude into the Yel- lowstone River, fouling dozens of miles of riverbank. “They’ve got to do something. If they can’t fi x them, then
Thursday, November 24, 2011 ■ Page 11 Associated Press
LEFT: This Sept. 16 photo provided by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality shows an exposed section of a ConocoPhillips gasoline pipeline along Beaver Creek near York, Mont. The pipeline was one of hundreds highlighted by federal offi cials as being at risk of failure after high waters eroded the groundcover over pipelines across the state.
ABOVE: In this July 11 fi le photo oil swirls in a small eddy in a back channel of the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Mont. Federal safety regulators are due to disclose to a state panel whether any more oil or gas pipelines crossing beneath streams and rivers in the state are at risk of failure.
TransCanada says it will reroute planned pipeline
By GRANT SCHULTE Associated Press
line developer TransCanada will shift the route of its planned oil pipeline out of the environmentally sensitive Sand- hills area of Nebraska, two company offi cials announced Nov. 14. Speaking at a news conference at
LINCOLN, Neb. — Canadian pipe-
ident for energy and oil pipelines, said rerouting the Keystone XL line would likely require 30 to 40 additional miles of pipe and an additional pumping sta- tion. The exact route has not yet been determined, but Pourbaix said Nebras- ka will play a key role in deciding it. The announcement follows the fed-
the Nebraska Capitol, the offi cials said TransCanada would agree to the new route, a move the company previously claimed wasn’t possible, as part of an effort to push through the proposed $7 billion project. They expressed confi - dence the project would ultimately be approved. Alex Pourbaix, Trans-Canada’s pres-
panse of grass-strewn, loose-soil hills — and part of the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies water to Nebraska and parts of seven other states. Company offi cials had claimed that
eral government’s decision last week to delay a decision on a federal permit for the project until it studies new potential routes that avoid the Sandhills area and the Ogallala aquifer as the proposed pipeline carries crude oil from Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refi neries. Debate over the pipeline has drawn
international attention focused largely on Nebraska, because the pipeline would cross the Sandhills — an ex-
moving the route was impossible be- cause of a U.S. State Department study that found the Sandhills route would leave the smallest environmental foot- print. Pourbaix said he was confi dent a
new route would also avoid the parts of the aquifer that sit closest to the sur- face, which was a major concern cited by environmentalists and the region’s landowners. He said moving it out of the Sandhills region would likely ease many of the concerns posed by land- owners.
could have built a safe pipeline through the original route that was approved by the State Department” in an envi- ronmental impact statement released earlier this year, Pourbaix said. “At the same time, it has always been a priority of TransCanada to listen to our stake- holders.” He added: “We’re confi dent that col-
“We do remain confi dent that we
laborating with the state of Nebraska will make this process much easier.” The fi nal federal decision on the pipeline will still likely take 12 to 18 months, a State Department offi cial familiar with the process said Nov. 14. The offi cial spoke on condition of ano- nymity because no fi nal decision has been made.
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