Gas pipes crumbling, government bungling?

September 6, 2011

The condition of gas transmission pipelines all across the United States is being grossly misrepresented by the nation’s top regulators, taking a “friendly tone” toward the industry. [SanFranciscoChronicle]

The newspaper obtained a copy of a draft report by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which the newspaper said misrepresents accident statistics, overstates the industry’s track record, and omits key issues arising from the San Bruno explosion and other recent disasters.

Another report on the same subject, by the National Transportation Safety Board, was much more critical of the pipeline industry after an examination of the Pacific Gas and Electric explosion a year ago which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

The allegedly flawed report is being prepared at the behest of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who commissioned the report in April in reaction to pipeline accidents in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, as well as San Bruno.

LaHood’s own agency, however, has learned that significant safety incidents involving gas transmission lines increased more than 50 percent, from 286 to 442. These have occurred since the federal government started regulating pipeline inspections eight years ago, compared with the previous eight years. Injuries rose by two-thirds, from 61 to 102.

Ten deaths from gas-line accidents in 2010 was the second-largest number for any year in the past two decades, the newspaper reported.

“This report as currently configured is not credible,” said Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety consultant from Redmond, Wash. “It contains many errors of fact.”

Carl Weimer, executive director of the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust in Bellingham, Wash., warned that the public is “going to start questioning the report right off the bat.”

The report will undergo “more review” before being released, agency officials said.


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13 Comments

  1. KimM says:

    Some have noticed a correlation between the Smart Meters being installed nationwide & the spike in explosions such as the one in San Bruno…

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. RayCollins says:

    For a take on a different disaster with similar tactics by vested interests watch: “The Big UnEasy”. It’s out on DVD.

    It covers an investigation into the flood damage & coverup in New Orleans resulting from a history of substandard over site by government and private contractors.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. stopagenda21 says:

    let’s not forget the San Bruno pipeline explosion was caused by an electrical malfuntion which opened valves and caused the over pressure. The oil and gas companies in this country have been laying pipe and drilling holes in the ground for years, didn’t we show the rest of the world how to harvest the black gold and natural gas trapped below ?

    If government would just get out the way, stop over regulating, offer tax incentives that will free up the cash to fix the infrastructure that needs fixing. might even create a few jobs.

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • Moderator says:

      In January 2011, federal investigators reported that they found numerous defective welds in the pipeline. The thickness of the pipe varied, and some welds did not penetrate the pipes completely. As PG&E increased the pressure in the pipes to meet growing energy demand, the defective welds were further weakened until their failure. As the pipeline was installed in 1956, modern testing methods such as X-rays were not able to detect the problem
      link

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
      • stopagenda21 says:

        Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles (except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism). Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or with their real identity,

        Wikipedia footnotes http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitlist.cfm?docketID=49896
        documents 28 40 41

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      “If government would just get out the way, stop over regulating, offer tax incentives that will free up the cash to fix the infrastructure that needs fixing. might even create a few jobs.” Wow. The saddest part of that whole sentence is that you probably actually believe what you wrote. In a word, NO. “If government would just get out of the way, stop over regulating, ….”; in other words, you would probably prefer NO regulation at all. That would sure make the profit margins soar; as for “tax incentives”, surely you jest? Are you aware that “energy extraction companies” are at the top of the public trough? PG&E has no incentive to make sure that their facilities and infrastructure are as safe as possible IF it means that they have to spend any money because that would mean their profit would be reduced. As for the jobs that you think “might” be created, once again, if it means reducing companies profits, without government regulation and enforcement, it just won’t happen.

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  4. easymoney says:

    From what I have been reading for quite some time is, almost all of our infrastructure is crumbling and in disrepair.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  5. Typoqueen says:

    NRC (govt. agency)+PG&E(same co.)=holy cr@p we’re in trouble!

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  6. rallyraid says:

    Shouldn’t the headline read “Gas pipes and Government crumbling”.

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  7. bobfromsanluis says:

    From the article: “LaHood’s own agency, however, has learned that significant safety incidents involving gas transmission lines increased more than 50 percent, from 286 to 442. These have occurred since the federal government started regulating pipeline inspections eight years ago, compared with the previous eight years. Injuries rose by two-thirds, from 61 to 102.” So let’s see, have the “incidents” increased simply because of federal regulations, or is it more possible that the incidents increased due to cronyism, lackadaisical inspections, or possibly even bribery by the gas pipeline owners to the supposed inspectors? Please notice the timeline mentioned ” … eight years ago, …” when we had an administration in place that ran on a platform of “government is the problem” then proceed to defund the regulators to the point that the job that they are supposed to do doesn’t get done properly. Will there be any repercussions for this criminal lack of oversight? Not likely, we “have to look forward, not backward” which is why none of the lawbreaking by the past administration will never be prosecuted. Government oversight does have its place in society and it has a very serious function that it is to carry out, to protect the citizens from individuals and companies whose sole motive is profit at all costs, safety be damned. In reading the linked article however, the attempt at whitewashing the safety concerns by the current Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is again showing how the regulators often bend to the wishes and concerns of the very industry that is supposed to be regulated. Very sad.

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
    • r0y says:

      Not quite. None of the lawbreaking of the past administration is done because the current administration would be in the same spot next election cycle. It’s all the same, doesn’t matter if it’s Bush or Obama. Crooks all of them, and if you think it is only limited to one party or administration, then you have the reason crap like this is perpetuated. Ignorance.

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        r0y: So you would have everyone believe that an administration that runs on the ideal that “Government is broke, government is evil, government can’t do anything well so let’s privatize as much as possible” is going to run the same as an administration who’s stated program was “Let’s bring accountability back to the running of government agencies” is the same? It was no surprise that during the Bush Administration that we had less oversight, less enforcement of regulation, but I do agree with you to a degree that the Obama Administration has been a disappointment in their lack of fixing most of the ills that came about due to planted, entrenched appointed officials whose sole function was to extend the rein of misery inflicted by the Bush Administration. The fact that the Republicans in Congress did every single delaying tactic they could to keep the Obama Administration from moving forward in appointing effective officials who planned to root out the incompetence that infected government agencies. I wasn’t going to point this out before, but Ray LaHood is the only Republican appointee of the Obama Administration, so there is that as well.

        (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
        • r0y says:

          No, I simply do not believe any administration regardless of “what they run on” – fool me once, and all.

          (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down

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