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TransCanada: Corrective action letters, fines… or jail time?

TransCanada’s letter urges “significant” prison time for Sam and Michael to “send a strong message of deterrence” because safe and reliable operation of its facilities “is of utmost importance” to TransCanada: “our pipelines are designed, constructed and operated to achieve very high safety standards…”

TransCanada’s record of ruptures, leaks, and violating construction codes gives the lie to their claim of concern for safety.  It appears that they need “a strong message of deterrence.” If we follow their advice, that could be in the form of significant prison time for its officers. On the other hand, maybe Sam and Michael simply merit a Corrective Action Letter.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada issued a Pipeline Investigation Report in 2013: 

TransCanada’s Integrity Management Program is supposed to prevent pipeline ruptures… It failed, just like it has failed in the other eight pipeline ruptures the corporation has had in Canada since 2009—more ruptures than any other pipeline company. These ruptures occurred on both recently built pipelines and pipelines that are decades old which raises serious questions about TransCanada’s ability to safely design, build and maintain pipelines.

US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issues continuous warning letters to TransCanada identifing violations of construction codes and Pipeline Safety Regulations, unprecedented anomalies and failure to build to mandated minimum requirements, among other failings.  The consequences for TransCanada? Corrective Action letters. Rarely, a fine.

From 2008 to 2015, TransCanada tallied more than 300 “reportable incidents,” including ruptures, leaks, fires, explosions, serious injuries, and one death, at its facilities.(1)

To take one example:  TransCanada’s Bison Pipeline came on line in January 2011. That March, US regulators warned the company of “discrepancies,” inadequate quality inspection and testing. In July the pipeline exploded near Gilleette, Wyo. (see photo above). The consequences for TransCanada? Yet another Corrective Action Letter.

(1) Hilary Beaumont, Vice News, Nov. 3, 2015


450 – 1st Street SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P5H1

January 16, 2018

The Honorable Judge Laurie A. Fontaine
Pembina County Courthouse
301 Dakota St. W., #3
Cavalier, ND 58220

Dear Honorable Judge Fontaine,

TransCanada owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline that Michael Foster and Samuel Jessup…attacked in October 2016. In your determination of sentencing for M. Foster and Mr. Jessup, we ask that the sentence reflect the importance of safety in the operation of energy infrastructure, the significant risks Mr. Foster and Mr. Jessup created in the October 2016 attack, the fallacy of their justification for it and their apparent lack of any measure of regret or remorse. We urge you to consider giving significant prison time to the two defendants because a significant period of incarceration will deter future attempts to attack critical energy infrastructure.

The safe and reliable operation of energy infrastructure is of utmost importance to TransCanada.  Our pipelines are designed, constructed and operated to achieve very high environmental and safety standards…and to ensure that the public, our employees and the environment are not negatively affected by any incident involving our assets.

…Compliance is extremely important in our daily operations. ….the community needs to be confident that TransCanada operates safely and in compliance with the laws and regulations that apply in our business…



Kristine Delcus
Executive Vice President
Stakeholder and Technical Services and General Counsel

(Excerpts from a three page letter sent by TransCanada)

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(first printed in The Guardian, 24 November 2017; little…