Friday, January 6, 2012

Keystone 'whistleblower' alleges shoddy materials along original pipeline

A former inspector for a company that did work on TransCanada's original Keystone pipeline is accusing the Calgary-based company of a cavalier disregard for the environment.

Mike Klink was an engineer for construction company Bechtel Corp., a contractor that worked on the first portion of the Keystone pipeline that carries Alberta oilsands crude to refineries in the American Midwest. It was completed in 2010; the controversial Keystone XL would extend that pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries.

In an opinion piece published over the weekend in Nebraska's Lincoln Journal Star, the 59-year-old Klink says he raised a series of concerns about alleged sub-standard materials and poor craftsmanship along the Keystone pipeline.

The Indiana man says he was fired by Bechtel as a result, and filed a complaint about his dismissal with the U.S. Department of Labor in March 2010. In his formal complaint, also sent to the U.S. Office of Whistleblower Protection Program, Klink says the company began treating him as a "problem inspector" culminating in one supervisor angrily ordering him to quit before he got fired. Read More