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Seaway pipeline and Dallas drinking water

April 25, 2012

The Dallas Morning News just published an editorial (subscription only, alas) expressing concern about the potential risk to Dallas drinking water from reversal of the Cushing-Gulf Coast Seaway pipeline to carry tar sands diluted bitumen from Oklahoma through Texas.  This recalls the 2007 controversy over the risk posed by the Keystone I pipeline to the drinking water catchment for the city of Fargo, ND.  Testimony was offered by TransCanada claiming that the risk of a spill in areas that could affect the drinking water catchment was less than one in 5400 years.  Given Keystone I’s now-proven tendency to leak like a sieve, those numbers seem absurd.  Fargo, a city of 105,000 people, expressed concern in PSC filings at the time about “the cost, in human suffering and lives, and in money, that it would take to clean up a leak of this highly hazardous tar sands crude oil, should there be a leak.”

Fargo ultimately reached a settlement with TransCanada and withdrew from the PSC docket, in exchange for some additional consultation and safety measures and a $100,000 payoff to a “water education fund”.  In the settlement, Fargo also agreed to support Keystone I publicly and refrain from submitting any further comments in the federal siting process.  So Dallas, now you know what the going rate is for shutting up about your drinking water.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 29, 2012 9:28 am

    Tom Smith & Trevor Lovell wrote an excellent piece. It is also available at
    with no subscription necessary.

    Perhaps one way to slow things down is for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to apply the brakes to Seaway Crude Oil Pipeline Company’s tariff proposals. It appears that that is the last hurdle the company needs to pass before it begins its transport of tar sands crude.

    Please sign the petition:

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