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Pipelines are the safest method for the transportation of petroleum products when compared to other methods of transportation. Steel pipelines provide the safest, most efficient and most economical way to transport crude oil. Each year, billions of gallons of crude oil and petroleum products are safely transported on pipelines. If they do occur, pipeline leaks are small; most pipeline leaks involve less than three barrels, 80% of spills involve less than 50 barrels, and less than 0.5 percent of spills total more than 10,000 barrels.
Safety of the public and the environment is a top priority for TransCanada. Through our risk-based integrity management program – which includes ongoing maintenance and inspection, combined with investment in pipeline research and development to continually improve our materials and processes – we are focused on preventing pipeline incidents.
TransCanada monitors and controls our pipeline systems from a computerized control centre that is staffed 24 hours a day. If an incident were to occur, TransCanada is able to shutdown the pipeline and isolate the affected pipe section from service within minutes.
The Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Pipeline Project has been designed and will be constructed and operated to the highest industry standards. Keystone will meet or exceed all requirements of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates the design, construction and operation of the 2.3-million-mile pipeline system in the United States.
The Keystone Pipeline System is monitored 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Pumps and valves are remotely started and secured. In the unlikely event of a spill or leak, pump stations and valves will be closed to limit spill volumes. The leak detection system uses a variety of methods to detect a leak of any size.
In the event of a leak, TransCanada is responsible to clean up the oil, remediate leak impact, and to pay for damages. Keystone will initiate an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to minimize any effects to the environment. The plan will address specific environmental features in the vicinity of the pipeline and will be based on practices that are well-understood and tested. This comprehensive plan is required to be filed with and approved by PHMSA prior to pipeline operation and will meet or exceed all federal safety standards.
Keystone Integrated Public Awareness Program will provide local emergency responders with the information and training necessary to ensure their preparedness for responding to such events. Keystone responders are trained in execution of the ERP. Keystone will utilize a combination of company personnel and contract resources in executing its response plan. These arrangements will be in place before the pipeline begins operations.
The Keystone ERP will include plans for resources including personnel and equipment to respond to a worst-case situation, an approach that calculates the largest possible spill volume and ensures resources are adequate and available to respond with company and contract personnel.