There are a number of studies, like the Cornell Study Impact of Tar Sands Pipeline Spills, which indicate that tar sands are much worse than crude oil spills. In addition, in the US, one study by the Federal government, EPA: Tar Sands Pipeline should be held to a different standard speaks to the differences between tar sands and crude oil.
The companies do not often take care of local communities or have concern for the communities they pass through. Evan Vokes, former engineer for TransCanada profiled in DeSmogBlog, has spoken out against his former employers talking about how unsafe their practices are. And, here he is speaking at a state department meeting in Nebraska.
PHSMA spokesperson Jeannie Layson told Vokes that PHMSA will no longer be able to refer to the code they are currently tasked with enforcing. President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 into law. Public Law 112-90 says, “Section 24 of the Act requires, within one year of enactment (January 2013), that PHMSA no longer incorporate, in whole or in part, voluntary consensus standards by reference into its regulations unless those standards have been made available free of charge to the public on the Internet.”
This new law goes into effect in January 2014 and essentially deregulates the entire pipeline industry. Since the American Society of Mechanical Engineer code is not available at no cost online, PHSMA cannot insist on currently mandated standards. In 2014, the pipeline industry will have sole responsibility for determining and monitoring their own quality standards in construction.
“The risks they could take for every pipeline in the United States are staggering” Vokes says.