FAQs

When did construction of the Flanagan South tars sands pipeline begin? When did filming begin and end? When will the pipeline begin to operate?

The Flanagan South tar sands pipeline received its permit for construction in 2012. Construction on the pipeline began shortly after across different parts of each of the four impacted states. Filming From the Pipeline, which focuses on the Missouri stretch of the Flanagan South, began in fall of 2013 in the western counties of Missouri. Filming continued through the winter and spring of 2014 following the last of the construction process. The pipeline became operational in mid-2014.

What are tar sands? 

Tar Sands, or “oil sands,” are a crude oil product mined most commonly from the Alberta province in Canada through a process of scraping the earth to get a mass amount of tarry clay that can then be refined into usable petroleum product. The extraction process is extremely destructive, energy intensive and uses large quantities of water. Chemicals, including known carcinogens, are added to the tarry clay to transport it through pipeline networks. The chemical mix added to the tar sands is not publicly available, despite public health concerns, because it is considered proprietary.

Who is building the Flanagan South tar sands pipeline? 

Enbridge, Inc. a Canadian company, is building the Flanagan South tar sands pipeline. They also have built and operate several other crude and tar sands pipelines in the United States. The company owns and operates an existing crude oil pipeline in Missouri, the Spearhead, which runs along the same route as the Flanagan South. The Spearhead is now 50 years old. Enbridge acquired the Spearhead pipeline from BP in 2003. The easements with landowners used to build the Spearhead are still contractual, and Enbridge updated these contracts in order to build the Flanagan South along the same route. The Spearhead is not yet retired. It now operates alongside the Flanagan South.

How long is the Flanagan South? How many states does it cross? 

The Flanagan South is 593 miles long and crosses four midwestern states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. It begins at a station in Flanagan, Illinois, where it connects from an existing northern pipeline. It ends in Oklahoma where another pipeline connects to it and takes the tar sands down to Houston, Texas for refinement and eventual exportation. Missouri has about 200 miles of the Flanagan South pipeline crossing 11 counties.

What pipelines does the Flanagan South connect to? 

To the north the Flanagan South connects to the Line 61 pipeline which is connected to the large Alberta Clipper pipeline in Canada. To the south, the Flanagan connects to the Seaway pipeline. To see a map, visit National Wildlife Federation: http://www.nwf.org/~/media/Content/Environmental%20Issues/Tar-sands/Midwest_OilPipeline_Map_1294x858.ashx

How many barrels of tar sands will the Flanagan South carry?

The Flanagan South has the capacity to carry 880,000 barrels per day with an initial capacity of 585,000 barrels per day of tar sands.

Does the Flanagan South cross rivers and streams? 

Yes, the Flanagan South crosses under hundreds of unclassified waters (streams and creeks.) It also crosses two major rivers in Missouri, the Mississippi and the Missouri. It goes under the Grand River just south of Kansas City, Missouri, which sources drinking water for towns nearby. The pipeline is buried underground and pulled through underneath water bodies using the boring method.

What happens if a tar sands pipeline ruptures?

Emergency plans for pipeline ruptures on the Flanagan South are designed by Enbridge, Inc. and utilize local emergency response units: the police and fire departments. The company is not legally obligated to share these plans publicly, though emergency plans were shared with the city of Adrian, Missouri, at the city council’s demand. Ruptures are more likely to happen with tar sands pipelines due to corrosion from the pipelines’ heating mechanism which keeps the tarry sands liquified during transport. A dangerous tar sands pipeline rupture under the Kalamazoo River (a pipeline owned by Enbridge, Inc.) spilled 843,000 gallons of oil into the water in 2010. The rupture was not detected for 17 hours and caused major pollution to the river and surrounding communities.

How is the Flanagan South different from the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline? 

The Flanagan South tar sands pipeline will carry slightly less barrels per day of tar sands initially than the Keystone XL. The Keystone XL was expected to pump 830,000 barrels of tar sands per day. The Flanagan South received a Nationwide 12 Permit – a “fast-track permit” – unlike the Keystone XL because it does not cross an international border. The Keystone XL pipeline was proposed and would have been built by TransCanada while the Flanagan South is being built by Enbridge, Inc. Both are Canadian energy companies.

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