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TransCanada Offers Six Point Pipeline Plan to Lawmakers

By   /   October 18, 2011  /   News  /   8 Comments

After months of standing firm on its blueprint to run the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, TransCanada is offering some last minute changes.

While the company refuses to move the pipeline it is proposing a six point plan (see all six below) it believes will help alleviate fears of a massive leak.

The plan includes a $100 million bond “made available” to the State of Nebraska if TransCanada fails to clean up a spill. It also finds the company willing to locate equipment and manpower in the Sandhills in order to respond to a leak in less than 2 hours “versus the federal requirement of 12 hours.”

TransCanada’s proposal was received by the Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood today. During a four-and-a- half hour meeting with the company last week Flood and three other lawmakers urged TransCanada to do what it could to guarantee that any leak will be plugged faster than fast.

TransCanada has insisted that the pipeline is state of the art safe.

According to a statement from Flood’s office, the Speaker has not had an opportunity to review TransCanada’s offer and is not commenting at this time.

Reported by Joe Jordan, [email protected]

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Editor’s note: TransCanada’s Six Point Proposal.

  • To provide additional assurance of TransCanada’s commitment to clean up accidental releases of oil, we are prepared to provide and maintain a performance bond of $100 million, to be made available to the State of Nebraska if TransCanada does not clean up a spill in the Sandhills. We will be happy to discuss how such a bond would work at your convenience.
  • TransCanada would construct a concrete containment structure surrounding the Keystone XL pump station #22 in Holt County. In the event of a spill, the containment structure will inhibit oil from mixing with surface water.
  • TransCanada would locate oil spill response equipment and personnel in the Sandhills region to minimize initial spill site response time to less than 2 hours versus the federal requirement of 12 hours.
  • TransCanada would install concrete coating, rock jacket or other protective materials that will fully encircle the pipeline in the Sandhills where the water table is near at or at the surface for significant distance. Engineering analysis has identified approximately 35 miles of pipeline between milepost 600 and milepost 677 as having a water table that could potentially be at or near the surface.
  • TransCanada would offer to conduct water well testing for all interested Landowners that have water wells within 300 feet from the centerline of the proposed pipeline in the Sandhills region. Baseline samples would be collected prior to placing the pipeline in service. Subsequently, in the event of a significant spill in this region, TransCanada would conduct water well sampling for wells within 300 feet of the spill site. TransCanada will provide an alternate water supply for any well where the water quality is compromised by a spill.
  • Prior to construction TransCanada would select, subject to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality approval, and pay for a public liaison officer to facilitate the exchange of information between TransCanada’s contractors and employees, and landowners, local communities and residents. The purpose would be to respond to any questions or concerns and to resolve promptly any complaints or problems that may develop as a result of the pipeline during construction. The public liaison officer shall report to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • What the

    $100 million is a drop in the bucket for them. Make it $1Billion with us getting the interest every year.

  • Watching From Lincoln

    $100 million? So LITTLE?????? The Enbridge pipeline Tarsands Crude spill in Michigan last summer has ALREADY cost the State of Michigan OVER $650 million to clean up (because like Nebraska is currently, Michigan had no laws on the books that pinned the costs of clean up, restoration and damages outside the of the easement on the pipeline, so the State is left holding the bag) and they have only cleaned up an estimated 60% of the Enbridge spill in 14 months of effort.

    If I was in charge of Nebraska’s “negotiations”, here’s my counter offer: Move the damn pipeline or we will make it so expensive to run it through the Sandhills you’ll move it because the $1.6 Billion to reroute it will be so much cheaper. We do NOT care about your contracts with Vallero, Exxon-Mobile and Shell to deliver Tarsands Crude to their Texas Gulf refineries at a price per barrel based on the cost of running through the Sandhills. Making promises before the fact you can’t keep is NOT the State of Nebraska’s problem!

    1) TransCanada will be required to post a $20 Billion assurity bond BEFORE the first piece of pipelaying equipment rolls across our state line.

    2) The thickness of the primary pipe’s wall will be 1.500″, not the 0.406″ that is currently proposed, and that for the entire length of the route from the South Dakota border to Steele City the pipeline WILL be double-walled with the outer pipe having a wall thickness of 1.500″ with suitable spacing between walls so that in the eventual breech of the inner pipe, the space will be able to contain the volume of crude carried in the inner pipe between shutoff valves.

    3) Through the ENTIRE route through the Sandhills, not just in the Ogallala Aquifer, the double walled pipeline will be encased in a water-tight reinforced concrete caison.

    4) FULLY equiped and manned spill response teams will be stationed no further than 30 minutes from any point on the pipeline in Nebraska, regardless of weather conditions.

    That’s just for starters, the more those Snake Oil Salesmen from TransCanada squirm, the tougher and more expensive the counter offer becomes.

  • Watching From Lincoln

    5) ALL engineering and design will be approved by the State of Nebraska PRIOR to ANY pipe being laid.

  • Watching From Lincoln

    6) Even better yet, DON’T BUILD THE DAMN THING AT ALL!!!!!

    There, that’s MY six point plan!

  • Ditto

    @Watching from Lincoln- Good job! If you’re not already on a committee or testifying somewhere, you should be. Just saying….

  • Bam

    I think this sounds like a reasonable, practical plan. Let’s get started on laying pipe.


    @Watching……..You are especially right on at least two major points:

    1.XL committed to a price they couldn’t deliver!(In the free enterprise system that is called RISK). They rolled the dice and came up snakeyes and now want somebody else to pay for their gamble.

    2. Nebraska should make the sandhills route so expensive that a new route is the way to go! The only pressure they respond to is the almighty dollar.

  • THANK YOU gentlemen…we the people who live on and own the land have spoken. The days of the Government just doing as they please are over. Keep that in mind Governor Heineman, make the wrong choice and you are toast.