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Last year’s Enbridge spill into Kalamazoo River affecting Keystone perceptions

Last year’s devastating spill of nearly a million gallons of tar sands crude oil into the Kalamazoo River is having an impact on the public’s perception of the safety of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as the federal government nears a final decision on the project.

The Calgary Herald reports:

Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., now attempting to get approval for construction of its proposed mega-pipeline from Alberta to Texas Gulf Coast refineries — the $7-billion 2,700-kilometre Keystone XL — acknowledges the impact the Enbridge spill and others have had on industry.

In an interview at his office with the Calgary Herald, TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling explained the poor timing of the Kalamazoo and other spills, in the final hours of the U.S. State Department’s deliberations on whether to issue the project a presidential permit (check out the Saturday Calgary Herald for a story now being prepared with more on Girling’s view of the hotly-debated project).

“We have had, over the last year, we have had numerous incidents that have shaken the confidence of the public. The Enbridge Kalamazoo spill, obviously that shook confidence, the BP incident on the Gulf Coast, the ExxonMobil (spill) in Montana,” Girling said.

“All of those things shake public confidence.”

The EPA has said publicly that while they were prepared to handle spills of conventional crude oil, spills of tar sands crude, which is much thicker and loaded with heavy metals, present challenges that they are not prepared to handle.

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