A former TransCanada Corp. employee-turned-whistleblower has lashed out against the National Energy Board (NEB) for its “toothless” audit of the pipeline company’s safety practices.
Former TransCanada pipeline engineer Evan Vokes was instrumental in speeding up the NEB’s planned audit,released in late February 2014. But now that the NEB has found TransCanada to be compliant in just five of nine safety components, Vokes is arguing that the NEB is not doing enough to prevent future pipeline accidents.
“In my experience, TransCanada’s management failings are systemic, and cannot be fixed by a review of what TransCanada says its policies are on paper,” Vokes said in a March 6, 2014 statement released by his lawyers. “Time and again, TransCanada’s audit systems have failed to catch substandard engineering on its pipelines. Unless the NEB is willing to engage on-the-ground to ensure that TransCanada is actually constructing and maintaining pipelines that are safe, future ruptures are inevitable,” Vokes added.
TransCanada has a history of leaks and spills. Its most recent accident was a natural gas pipeline explosion south of Winnipeg on January 25, 2014.
The audit of the Calgary-based firm’s safety practices found TransCanada was non-compliant in hazard identification, risk assessment and control; operational control in upset or abnormal operating condition; inspection, measurement and monitoring; and management review.
The audit comes as TransCanada awaits a decision from the U.S. government on the fate of the controversial $5.4-billion pipeline that would move Alberta oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries.
TransCanada is required to file a corrective action plan with the NEB within 30 days detailing how it intends to fix the problems raised in the audit.