On January 22, the southern portion of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is set to become operational, although environmentalists and Texas homeowners are continuing to fight against it.
In early January 2014, landowners and activists attended a meeting with Roderick Seeley, director of the Southwest Region of PHMSA and members of his staff.
Julia Trigg Crawford, whose lawsuit against TransCanada for confiscating her land is still pending, told DeSmogBlog what she learned at the meeting:
"The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says they don’t have enough inspectors to watch everything…only 32 inspectors for five states. Based on what they told us, I have NO confidence there was even minimal oversight and inspection. I NEVER saw a PHMSA hard hat, jacket, decal, business card….If they were on my property inspecting, they were invisible."
Evan Vokes has his own opinion of the pipeline’s integrity. A former TransCanada employee turned whistleblower, Vokes exposed TransCanada for violating construction codes to regulators in Canada and the US. He laughed when told regulators had faith that TransCanada properly repaired the anomalies.
"Having faith," Vokes says, "is not an engineering strategy."