News Articles Featured | Andrew Nikiforuk | TheTyee.ca | October 01, 2012
Evan Vokes, a 46-year-old Calgary pipeline engineer, is a man with a mission, and a conscience.
While building natural gas pipelines in Canada, Mexico and the United States for TransCanada Corporation, he started raising concerns about industry practices.
Vokes had an important inside job: he was the guy that ensured the pipelines were constructed safely.
His specific duties included metallurgy and welding. He also specialized in an important accountability process known as non-destructive examination. And he didn't like what he was seeing.
At the invitation of Russ Girling, TransCanada's CEO, Vokes provided documents to senior executives of the company (it is Keystone XL's controversial sponsor) that allegedly documented systemic failure to follow code and regulations in 2011.
Shortly afterwards, the engineer lodged a complaint with regulators in Canada and the U.S. Last May TransCanada fired the engineer without cause.
Drawing on examples from the records of Enbridge and Kinder Morgan (the CBC is investigating TransCanada's record) Vokes is going public with his concerns about an industry facing unprecedented growth and what even the National Energy Board (NEB) describes as "an increased trend in the number and the severity" of pipeline incidents.