Andy Black opened his remarks with a simple explanation of why he traveled to York, NE: “We want to answer your questions.”  The forum sponsored by Nebraskans for Jobs & Energy Independence helped assure many Nebraskans who have questions about the safety of a building a new energy pipeline.

Andy Black is the president & CEO of Association of Oil Pipelines in the York News Times:

“This pipeline would be made of high quality steel that would be tested and coated…It would be installed by teams of expert welders. Then trained and licensed inspectors would monitor the construction. Every single weld will be X-rayed and inspected. PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) maintains comprehensive safety regulations and their inspectors would also be in the field, watching. The pipeline would go through high pressure testing with water. And once determined to be sound, it would be ready for operation.

“The pipeline would be managed by control centers – where highly trained experts would look at things such as pressure, temperature and flow changes…They would watch for a potential release. They are authorized to shut down the pumps upon any sign of a release.”

“Safety is of great importance to all of you and the operators…The pipeline is the safest and most reliable way to transport oil – over rail, barges and trucking.

Black was joined by Brigham McCown who ran the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  As reported by the Omaha World-Herald: 

But Brigham McCown, who once headed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said further delays in federal approval for the project could raise the likelihood of crude oil spills. That’s because transporting oil by rail, truck or barge carries a greater risk of accidents, he said. “We can’t eliminate our oil dependency overnight,” said McCown, who now works as an industry consultant in Dallas. “If it’s going to be used, how do we move it from point A to B as safely as possible?

More from Andy Black

Pipelines deliver between 11 billion and 13 billion barrels of liquid fuels each day in the United States, and 99.9 percent of it arrives safely, said Andrew Black, president and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipelines.

TransCanada Corp., the company that wants to build Keystone XL, plans to use the latest, corrosion-resistant pipe for the 1,700-mile, underground pipeline. Construction welds would be inspected by third-­party inspectors, which, in turn, would be audited by federal regulators.

The finished 36-inch diameter pipeline would be tested by running pressurized water through its entire length. The test would reveal any manufacturing or construction defects, Black said.

Keystone XL would be operated by trained staff members at a control station, where they would watch for drops in pressure or volume, which could indicate a leak. “In the event of a release, they are authorized by management and told by management to shut down the pumps,” Black said.

Over the past decade, the pipeline industry has reduced such releases by 62 percent, Black said.