For Immediate Release: December 9, 2014

Hear audio from a press call on the report.

A new Sightline Institute report finds energy giant Kinder Morgan has an alarming track record of pollution, law-breaking, and cover-ups in communities where it operates throughout North America. As the company seeks to expand its operations from coast to coast, swelling its coal terminals and oil pipelines, local decisionmakers are taking note of the company’s pattern of misbehavior nationwide.

Kinder Morgan has been found guilty of numerous violations:

  • Kinder Morgan has been fined numerous times by the US government for stealing coal from customers’ stockpiles, lying to air pollution regulators, illegally mixing hazardous waste into gasoline, and many other crimes.
  • Kinder Morgan’s pipelines are plagued by leaks and explosions, including two large and dangerous spills in residential neighborhoods in Canada. One hedge fund analyst has accused the firm of “starving” its pipelines of maintenance spending.
  • Kinder Morgan was convicted on six felony counts after one of its pipelines in California exploded, killing five workers.
  • In Louisiana, Kinder Morgan’s terminal spills coal directly into the Mississippi River and nearby wetlands. The pollution is so heavy that satellite photos show coal-polluted water spreading from the facility in black plumes. The same site generates so much wind-blown coal dust that nearby residents won a class action lawsuit because their homes and belongings are so often covered in coal dust.
  • In South Carolina, coal dust from Kinder Morgan’s terminal contaminates the bay’s oysters, pilings, and boats. Locals have videotaped the company washing coal directly into sensitive waterways.
  • In Houston, Kinder Morgan’s terminal operators leave coal and petcoke, a highly toxic byproduct of oil refining, piled several stories high on its properties. The company’s petcoke operations are so dirty that even the firm’s promotional literature shows plumes of black dust blowing off its equipment.
  • In Virginia, Kinder Morgan’s coal export terminal is an open sore on the neighborhood, coating nearby homes in dust so frequently that the mayor has spoken out about the problem.
  • In Oregon, Kinder Morgan officials bribed a ship captain to illegally dump contaminated material at sea, and the firm’s operations have repeatedly polluted the Willamette River.

As the company’s spokesperson said when the firm was pushing a failed coal export plan in Oregon, “What we’re proposing is not something we don’t already do.” The report’s author, Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place, says, “That’s exactly the problem. Kinder Morgan has demonstrated a consistent lack of regard and respect for the communities where it does business.”

The full report is available at


About Sightline Institute: Sightline Institute is an independent think tank providing leading original analysis of energy, economic, and environmental policy in the Pacific Northwest.

December 9, 2014