Bribing a ship captain, oil spills, and million-dollar fines among the transgressions highlighted by a U.S. report on Kinder Morgan.
Front cover of Sightline Institute’s “Facts about Kinder Morgan” report released Tuesday.
The Seattle-based think-tank Sightline Institute released a report Tuesday highlighting Kinder Morgan’s enviro-transgressions across the energy giant’s continent-wide network of pipelines and export terminals.
The company’s recent troubles on Burnaby Mountain in Canada were cited as a major reason for updating the second edition of this report. More than 100 people were arrested last month — including scientists, environmentalists, First Nations and other people young and old — for disobeying a court order designed to protect the company’s drillers on the mountain.
The story was not widely reported in U.S. press, the think tank lamented.
“It’s become the Keystone XL fight of Canada,” said the institute’s policy director Eric de Place in a tele-press conference to journalists on both sides of the border.
“I often despair that the 49th parallel ends up being quite a barrier [to news coverage from Canada].”
The Sightline Institute’s report — “The Facts about Kinder Morgan” — is described as a “careful, factual examination of Kinder Morgan’s track record.” It contains a laundry list of the company’s troubles with American federal investigators, million-dollar fines, oil and gas spills, and safety failures.
“For years, and in many locations, Kinder Morgan has engaged in behaviour that experts and regulators have called fraudulent, deceptive and irresponsible,” said De Place.
“Kinder Morgan’s plans have run into trouble, both in the Gulf Coast region, Louisana and Texas, as well as in British Columbia and many other places around North America,” he added.
Kinder Morgan protesters arrested after crossing an RCMP-zone protecting the company’s drillers last month on Burnaby Mountain. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.
The Texas head office of the company responded to the report, stating:
“The Sightline Institute has an agenda, and their report certainly takes sensational liberties,” wrote Kinder Morgan spokesperson Sara Loeffelholz from Houston.
“Kinder Morgan complies with all applicable rules and regulations, and we are committed to employing sustainable business practices and conducting ourselves in an ethical and responsible manner.”
“You will find that Kinder Morgan continues to perform better than its industry peers relative to environmental, health and safety measures,” she wrote Tuesday.
Ship Captain bribed
The $100-billion company is the “largest energy infrastructure company in America” according to its website. The company is well known for its pipelines – but it also operates several coal and fertilizer export terminals.
In one colourful example, Sightline highlights how Kinder Morgan plead guilty to bribing a Portland, Oregon ship captain to dump a 160 tonnes of potassium-chloride fertilizer in the Pacific Ocean in 2003. The U.S. Department of Justice fined the company $240,000.
“Kinder Morgan…is paying for its employees’ attempts to save money by illegally dumping materials at sea,” said a U.S. Attorney General in 2008.