Not that there would ever be a good time to have to shut down operations due to possible “safety issues,” but the decision made by TransCanada to turn off an already existing Keystone pipeline as activists in several states work to stop construction of Keystone XL isn’t helpful to the corporation. One primary argument by Tar Sands Blockaders and other activists opposing the new, XL pipeline is, of course, based on safety concerns.

Via the Wall Street Journal, TransCanada said they’d

… idled its Keystone pipeline for three days for repairs after detecting an undisclosed “˜anomaly’ on the line … .

The problem was detected Wednesday on a section of the pipeline in Missouri, TransCanada said. The Canadian pipeline company didn’t provide further details, except to say the problem didn’t involve a leak. …

The stoppage is the latest operational problem for the line, which has suffered from more than a dozen minor oil leaks since it began operation in 2010. TransCanada has said many of those leaks were caused by equipment problems that have since been identified and fixed. TransCanada has said that such start-up problems are typical for new lines.

One argument TransCanada has made, in countering the opposition to the southern section of the Keystone XL line in Texas is basically that they’ve got lots of experience.

From CBS News:

A federal agency says TransCanada has temporarily shut down its existing Keystone pipeline after tests showed “˜possible safety issues.’

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says TransCanada reported shutting down the approximately 2,100-mile pipeline, which moves about 500,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Canada, to facilities in Illinois and Oklahoma. …

The CBS report includes a statement from Jeannie Layson, spokeswoman for The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and referred to “possible safety issues,” though apparently had no additional details, at least at that point. Layson did say that

… TransCanada hasn’t reported any leaks on the system.

This comes the day after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News reported:

Whistleblower forced investigation of TransCanada pipeline

A former TransCanada engineer says he reported its substandard practices to the federal energy regulator because he believed the company’s management, right up to the chief executive officer, refused to act on his complaints. …

“˜I wrote a series of emails to a series of project managers saying, “˜We can’t do this practice, we can’t do this practice, we can’t do this practice,” (Evan) Vokes said. “˜And I received increasingly pressured emails about how things were OK to do it that way.’ …

Last Friday, the NEB (National Energy Board) issued a public letter to TransCanada. Without naming Vokes, it said “˜many of the allegations of regulatory non-compliance identified by the complainant were verified by TransCanada’s internal audit.’

Meanwhile, the Tar Sands Blockaders continue their direct, non-violent actions to stop TransCanada’s clear-cutting operations in East Texas.

(Keystone Stop Pipeline Via We Are Power Shift)