Dept of Trans, not EPA??

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/business/energy-environment/04pipeline.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1301952451-scpF4hG7z4FAvijeoOhTTQ


It is good that any Agency is (at all) is willing to admit that this Gas Boom is dangerous and not nearly thought out enough...  The existing pipeline infrastructure is neglected for the normal reasons...

Cynthia L. Quarterman, the administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said her office did not have the authority to order replacement of pipes unless it found an “imminent hazard.” And, she said, pipes only had to be “fit for service.”

These are rules that are written and approved by small groups of people.  These rules can be changed...  

Pipelines should be scheduled to be replaced when their working lifetimes have been reached.  Period.
There are engineering specs for the pipes and they should just be followed...  
The enforcement action should be that the replacements should be scheduled (as per the Engineering spec) and the pipeline should be shut off the day after they are not in compliance...
With that built into the business model, the necessary maintenance will be done on time...

What exactly is the problem with doing things the proper way???
Why does it seem that every corporation is jury rigging their businesses to the lowest possible standards (and then in many cases not even complying with those minimal standards).
Where is the Personal or Corporate Pride and the Self Respect that comes naturally when a service or a product is created that is well made, is safe and does not contaminate the ecosystem?

Everything seems cheap, temporary, disposable or expedient and Frankly it is just not the right way to do things.
Results matter...and the results that we are getting need to be improved...(and not just measuring the single metric of paper money profits).
We need to honestly measure the RESULTS...

In the example of the Natural Gas drilling in the Delaware Watershed,  We need to do an impact study that details the expected RESULTs.
If the impact of the Natural Gas drilling is unacceptable,  we need to not allow the actions that will produce the undesired results....

People make personal mistakes all of the time.
They look back later and wish that they had made different choices.

Cultures also make mistakes and they also have to live with the ramifications of their combined actions....
Let us LISTEN to the advice of the people that are speaking out and detailing the possible ramifications of this Industrial Assault in the name of short term status quo.

Listening is a sign of Maturity and it can be applied to individual people as well as the actions of a State, a Nation or a Culture.
It would be good if we could start to grow up.

Final note:
The only reason not to replace worn out pipelines is the cost.    And saving money so that shareholders of oil and gas companies can reap extra profit should not be valid reason for risking pipeline explosions and environmental contamination. (Re.. the Alaska Pipeline has serious maintenance issues that are being deferred... When there is a disaster, it is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that those people that are responsible for the negligence will not be held accountable...).  It is also expected that people in the rest of the country will be sad and mad, but it will be too late to do anything at that point...  (again, just SOP).


Transportation Chief to Unveil Pipeline Safety Effort

WASHINGTON — With so many pipeline accidents in the last few months that federal investigators cannot get to them all, the secretary of transportation plans to introduce a safety campaign on Monday aimed at coordinating federal, state and local oversight and making more information available to the public about potential hazards under foot.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“We ought to have the decency to tell people there's a pipeline in the front yard, if they want to know that,” the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said in an interview.

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A blog about energy and the environment.

“I want to be able to say to people, when you throw a light switch, you shouldn’t cause an explosion in your front yard,” the secretary, Ray LaHood, said in an interview. “We ought to have the decency to tell people there’s a pipeline in the front yard, if they want to know that.”

And pipeline owners will come under pressure to assure that their pipelines, mostly out of sight and out of mind, are safe, he said.

Mr. LaHood will announce the campaign in Allentown, Pa., where an explosion from a natural gas pipeline killed five people on Feb. 9.

In September, a 30-inch-diameter pipeline in San Bruno, Calif., exploded, killing eight people and burning down three dozen houses. Federal safety investigators, busy with the San Bruno catastrophe, said they did not have time to investigate the Allentown accident and would have to leave it to Pennsylvania officials.

And in July, a pipeline in Kalamazoo, Mich., ruptured and spilled more than a million gallons of a petroleum mixture derived from Canadian tar sands. The form of oil, which has become more popular as world prices have risen, is especially corrosive, according to Anthony R. Swift, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. But federal regulations have not caught up with this problem, he said.

Mr. LaHood is asking Congress to increase the civil penalties his department can levy on companies that violate pipeline rules — to $250,000 a day from the current $100,000, and to $2.5 million for a series of violations, up from $1 million. He also wants to close some regulatory loopholes, including those that allow some pipelines to escape any regulation at all.

Companies that drill natural gas wells often transfer the gas to high-pressure transmission hubs through pipes that are sometimes completely unregulated, experts say.

Deborah Nardone, a natural gas expert at the Sierra Club, said that to get permission to drill on private property, companies sometimes promise to deliver gas to the landowner’s home, and the pipe to the home is unregulated.

Despite the series of recent accidents, the Transportation Department says those that result in death or serious injury are down nearly 60 percent over the last 20 years. But some of the accidents reveal deep problems.

At San Bruno, for example, Pacific Gas and Electric did not understand what kind of pipe it had buried in the ground. Pipe fabrication flaws in the 1950s helped lay the groundwork for the accident, and more recent problems, including a poor understanding of the computers used to manage the system, may also have played a role.

Aging pipelines are also a problem. In Pennsylvania, according to the Transportation Department, some cast iron pipes laid in the 1930s do not legally have to be replaced until 2111, when they would be 180 years old. New York State has a requirement that its oldest cast iron pipes be replaced by 2090, but many are already decades old, according to the department.

Mr. LaHood said he had met with the executives of major natural gas companies to discuss better surveillance of pipelines and a new replacement schedule.

Cynthia L. Quarterman, the administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said her office did not have the authority to order replacement of pipes unless it found an “imminent hazard.” And, she said, pipes only had to be “fit for service.”

“There is no hundred-year deadline for any piece of pipe,” she said, although companies “have to assure it’s been operated and tested appropriately.”

But Mr. LaHood said “the point of this is to get everybody around the table and say, O.K., another 100 years in the ground is not going to cut it. We’re trying to work with all the stakeholders to reach a conclusion.”

Mr. Swift, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “Part of the problem is there hasn’t been a focus on the replacement schedule, what we do with these 50 or 70 years down the line. People are aware it’s aging, but it’s a process we didn’t plan for gracefully.”

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