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Sustainability and safety

Our commitment to the environment

At TC Energy, we’re committed to protecting the environment. Not just because we have to, but because we want to. We respect the diversity of the landscapes where we operate and work to minimize our environmental footprint, while meeting the world’s growing demand for safe and reliable energy.

From water, land and wildlife to our commitment to a sustainable and responsible energy future, we recognize that how we interact with the environment is of vital importance to you. It is to us, too.

The Keystone XL Pipeline project was developed in line with our approach to long-term sustainability, and our commitments to managing our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and protecting water sources, land and wildlife remain unchanged. We are proud that Keystone XL offers a safer, superior alternative to transporting fuel than trains, trucks and tankers, which produce far greater GHG emissions.

We know the energy landscape is rapidly changing, and we are investing in new energy infrastructure. We are focused on managing our emissions going forward and finding innovative solutions to protect the environment.

Learn more about our commitment to the environment, protecting water and water course crossings.



TC Energy has a deep history of focusing our efforts on making Keystone XL and all of our projects sustainable. Starting with the first day of construction and onward through the pipeline coming into service, we will do our part to manage our GHG emissions. We have worked hard to ensure the programs and initiatives we have in place always meet, and often exceed, regulatory requirements.

TC Energy’s purpose is to deliver the energy people need every day, guided in every decision we make by our core values – Safely. Responsibly. Collaboratively. With integrity.’

Learn more about how we’re addressing climate change.

Providing sustainable

environmental benefits

We believe success comes from joint efforts when we collaborate with others to address how we interact with the environment. We find ways to provide sustainable benefits to the environment while developing and operating important energy infrastructure that helps power our society. We are proud of our 75-plus environmental partnerships with national and local organizations to help conserve natural habitats, protect species at risk, and promote the importance of a healthy environment throughout the communities where we live and work across North America.

Field studies and federal reviews

The U.S. State Department’s scientists and trained field workers conducted extensive field studies and vigorous research to thoroughly review the Keystone XL. We continue to conduct ongoing environmental field studies in order to develop effective measures for maintaining our operations and safeguarding our communities.  

Studying Keystone XL:

  • Six comprehensive scientific reviews by the U.S. Department of State

  • All Environmental Impact Studies over the past 10 years have shown that Keystone XL can be built safely and responsibly

  • Permits acquired in all three route states and two provinces in the U.S. and Canada as well as the Presidential Permit to cross the U.S./Canadian border.
  • Thousands of hours have been dedicated to environmental field studies and engagement with thousands of landowners, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders

  • Pipelines are the safest form of oil transportation – safer than the current reliance on rail and other alternative methods of crude oil transportation

FAQs — Environment, Sustainability and Governance

Like the rest of our liquids portfolio, Keystone XL will have negligible scope 1 GHG emissions. Related to its scope 2 emissions – or the emissions generated from the power sources that drive the pump stations and move the oil – we have a strategy to consider ESG in the planning for Keystone XL’s operations, including ways to minimize our GHG footprint.

Potential tactics include minimizing our emissions by developing renewable power sources, paying for certified green credits from the utilities that Keystone XL accesses along the route, or considering offsets. This feasibility work continues, we have some time, but the analysis and conversations are beginning now.

As it relates to Keystone XL, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS), issued by the previous U.S. administration, indicated scenarios without Keystone XL would result in increased emissions of between 28 and 42 per cent.

The 2019 FSEIS under the Trump administration concluded this analysis remains valid. From a GHG-emissions perspective Keystone XL is preferable to alternative modes of transportation for crude oil required to meet societal demand.

As a company, we understand societal concerns about climate change. We are committed to carefully managing our own emissions intensity and support national and industry commitments leading to global emissions reduction in line with the objective set out by the Paris Agreement.

We design our river and stream crossings based on the waterbody being crossed. Crossing methods involve either drilling or boring beneath the waterbody or trenching across it. Drilling and boring do not disturb the streambed or banks. Trenching across waterbodies is typically a 24- to 48-hour disturbance and reclamation is implemented after construction is complete. When we trench, we maintain adequate streamflow to protect aquatic life and prevent the interruption of downstream uses.

Once the pipeline is installed and reclamation is complete, there are no impacts to the streams and rivers and they are safe to both wildlife and public use.

  • Horizontal directional drills and horizontal bores ensure rivers and streams are not impacted by construction
  • Dry crossing techniques isolate water flow from construction activities to protect sensitive resources found in streams
  • Completing construction in small streams in 24 to 48 hours minimizes the construction time in the water body
  • We will return the construction right-of-way to pre-construction contours
  • We consider restoration complete when the surface condition and vegetation is similar to adjacent undisturbed lands
  • We monitor the condition of our right-of-way the entire operational life of our pipeline and correct reclamation issues that may arise

In pipeline construction, reclamation is the process of restoring an area, as closely as possible, to its former condition.

The land will be returned as close as practicable to pre-construction conditions; including vegetation, such as grasses and shrubs. Forested land accounts for about one percent of the total project area, with most trees occurring next to rivers and as part of shelterbelts or windbreaks. Trees will be replanted next to some rivers. Shelterbelts and windbreaks are replanted where required by our landowner agreements.  Tree planting will not occur within the permanent right-of-way.

Environmental documentation

In 2018, an additional environmental study on Keystone XL was conducted on river crossings and the Mainline Alternative Route.

Safety and emergency response

Safety is TC Energy’s highest priority; constructing and operating safely is job number one. Like all our operations, Keystone XL will have comprehensive Emergency Response Plans in place that outline the steps we’ll take to respond in the unlikely event of an incident. We develop these plans throughout the project, and don’t launch operations until they’re finalized.

We work closely with emergency responders (police, fire and EMS) across our pipeline route so that everyone will be prepared in case of an incident. Every year, we host more than 100 safety exercises to ensure that we, and our first-response partners, are ready in the rare case of an incident.

In an emergency situation, our goal is to ensure an effective, coordinated response to contain and control any incident, so we protect the community, employees, the environment and surrounding infrastructure.

Response activities

Our local field staff handles direct response activities, such as isolation of the emergency, containment and control, coordination of response activities and restoration of service. We also work with local communities through regular emergency drills and exercises, which allows us to build relationships with local first responders and community officials, informing each other of emergency response strategies and gaining an understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.

TC Energy holds an industry-leading safety record – one that we only look to strengthen in the future.

Zero is Real

Why is safety our #1 value?

Our goal is for our pipeline and energy facilities to operate safely every day so that the public, our workforce and the environment aren’t affected by an incident involving our assets. We believe that zero incidents is an achievable goal. Every day, our teams across North America work tirelessly to proactively maintain our pipelines, adopting innovative solutions in energy transportation and incorporating past learnings to push us closer to our ‘zero is real’ goal.

Safety is, and always will be, our number one value. Safety is part of our culture and we are proud of our industry-leading safety record.

Learn more about our investments in pipeline safety, such as our Pipeline Integrity Program, as well as the many measures and steps we take to ensure our pipelines are built and operated safely with round-the-clock monitoring and proactive pipeline inspections, ensuring our pipes remain safe.

We have implemented a Pipe Integrity Enhancement Program to ensure the safety and reliability of the Keystone Pipeline System. This program includes a review of the full integrity program by a panel of independent industry experts. As learnings and recommendations are being captured from the program review, these are being actively implemented into the Pipe Integrity Enhancement Program activities for both Keystone and Keystone XL The program plans have been shared with both PHMSA and the CER.