|The Keystone Oil Pipeline is pictured under construction in North Dakota in this undated photograph released on January 18, 2012. (REUTERS)
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. -- Federal energy regulators have cited TransCanada Corp. for non-compliance in the midst of the company's bid to build its controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
A complaint from a former employee regarding inspection standards resulted in a public scorning and an audit from the National Energy Board.
The letter, which was posted to the NEB’s website on Friday, said it would audit TransCanada’s pipeline inspection procedures to look at welding procedures, employee training and engineering standards. The regulator warned it will not tolerate any safety violations. The audit will probe
“The board is concerned by TransCanada’s non-compliance with NEB regulations, as well as its own internal management systems and procedures,” says the letter from board secretary Sheri Young to Dan King, vice-president of TransCanada’s engineering and asset reliability.
“Pipeline safety is of paramount importance to the NEB, and it will take all available actions to protect Canadians and the environment,” it said. “Should the NEB audit and inspections result in the finding of residual or additional non-compliances, the board will not hesitate to impose appropriate corrective actions.”
The letter does not identify the former employee or give their job title.
The NEB said it conducted an investigation in June after it received the former employee’s complaints in May.
The investigation confirmed many of the allegations, although the agency said the shortcomings “do not represent immediate threats to the safety of people or the environment.”
TransCanada has already made internal changes to address the non-compliances, with several more in the process of being implemented.
The audit comes at a time when the company is trying to get approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, which will connect Alberta's oilsands to refineries in Texas.
In January, President Barack Obama denied TransCanada’s original application for the pipeline, citing concerns about the project’s environmental impact.
The White House argued more time was needed to review the proposal. TransCanada has since reapplied.
The U.S. administration does not plan to make a decision until next year. However, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has vowed on several occasions to approve Keystone XL “on day one.”