imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

San Bruno - Natural Gas Pipeline Safety is a Myth!

by PHMSA Fails to Regulate Pipeline Corporations Sunday, Sep. 12, 2010 at 10:42 AM

San Bruno, CA - Following another deadly natural gas pipeline rupture and explosion, it becomes clear that there are few safety standards and the promises of safety made by natural gas pipeline operator corporations like PG&E, El Paso and others are nothing less than blatant deceptions of the public trust. Federal regulators at PHMSA are beholden to corporate interests, NOT to public safety.



The recent disaster in San Bruno, CA following a natural gas pipeline explosion is just the latest in a string of deadly pipeline explosions over the years. Our pipeline infrastructure keeps increasing with new gas and oil pipelines constantly being constructed, though none of the older pipelines being properly maintained. The evidence of constant pipeline explosions and resulting fatalities over the years shows that extreme neglect is the norm for the pipeline's corporate operators, and looking the other way is the norm for federal regulators at PHMSA.



"Oil and gas industry writes its own standards"

Critics decry 'conflict of interest'

By Andrew Restuccia 8/13/10 5:31 PM

Photo by Rick Z.

"This story is the third in a series on federal oversight of the nation’s 2.3 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines. You can read the first story here and the second story here.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal agency that oversees the country’s 2.3 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines, has adopted as part of its regulations all or parts of at least 29 standards written by the oil and natural gas industry.

The revelation, which comes to light as part of an investigation into pipeline safety by The Washington Independent, raises significant questions about the relationship between PHMSA and the industry that it regulates. It also feeds into comparisons between the agency and the now-defunct Minerals Management Service, which was in charge of permitting and licensing offshore drilling projects in the run-up to the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill.

PHMSA has come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of a July 26 pipeline break near Battle Creek, Mich., that bled nearly 1 million gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. While an investigation into the cause of the spill is ongoing, environmentalists and advocacy groups have been quick to criticize PHMSA, arguing that the agency doesn’t require adequate inspections of the nation’s pipeline system and it has a too-cozy relationship with industry.

For her part, PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, who took over the agency in Nov. 2009, has promised to reform the agency. But Quarterman herself has close ties to the oil industry, working as legal counsel for Enbridge Energy, the very company that owns the pipeline that burst in Michigan.

Now, The Independent has learned, PHMSA has adopted a series of industry standards by reference in its Pipeline Safety Regulations. At least 29 standards were written by two powerful industry trade groups: the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Gas Association (AGA). API, which represents both the oil and natural gas industries and is a powerful lobbying force in Washington, authored 27 of the standards. AGA, which represents 195 natural gas companies around the country, has authored two standards, according to a list provided by PHMSA.

“There’s kind of a basic conflict of interest there if you’re letting industry develop part of things and then you adopt them as regulations,” said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a non-profit group that advocates for fuel transportation safety.

The industry standards touch on a number of issues key to ensuring pipeline safety, including pipeline welding, monitoring for liquid pipelines, evaluating the strength of corroded pipelines and testing pipeline pressure.

But even though these standards have been adopted as federal regulations, they continue to be the property of the oil and gas industry. As a result, public access to these standards is severely restricted. If a member of the public wants to see one of the standards, they must travel to the PHMSA headquarters in Washington or purchase the standard from API or AGA. Industry groups see the standards as proprietary information and therefore will not allow PHMSA to publish them on its web site.

“What makes this worse is that those standards are still the property of industry,” Weimer said.

Weimer has focused much of his scrutiny on a 2003 API standard that has been adopted by PHMSA. The standard outlines a process for oil and natural gas companies to alert nearby residents to the presence of a pipeline in their area. Weimer argues that API has no business writing such a standard. The standard should be written by an outside group with experience communicating important information to people, he said.

“The American Petroleum Institute is clearly a group that lobbies on behalf of industry, and sometimes they are developing standards that they really don’t have expertise in. API doesn’t have some deep understanding of how you communicate with the public about a pipeline,” Weimer said.

API’s public awareness standard, a read-only version of which has been published online by API after prodding from Weimer and others, says, “A more informed public along pipeline routes should supplement an operator’s pipeline safety measures and should contribute to reduce the likelihood and potential impact of pipeline emergencies and releases.” But the standard also stresses that “pipelines are a relatively safe mode of transportation, that pipeline operators undertake a variety of measures to prevent pipeline accidents, and that pipeline operators anticipate and plan for management of accidents if they occur.”

While pipeline accidents are rare, they can be deadly. According to PHMSA records, there were 265 “significant incidents” in the U.S. pipeline system last year, resulting in 14 deaths, 63 injuries and more than 2 million in property damage.

Incidents involving natural gas resulted in 10 deaths and 59 injuries — most commonly caused by equipment failure and corrosion. But, a previous story found, PHMSA does not have the mandate, or the staff, to oversee the millions of miles of pipelines crossing the country. Federal law mandates that PHMSA require only seven percent of the country’s natural gas pipelines and just 44 percent of the country’s liquid pipelines to be inspected.

PHMSA, responding to questions about the standards in a written statement, said it is bound by law to incorporate by reference acceptable standards into its regulations. The agency cited the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, which directs federal agencies to adopt standards set by “voluntary consensus standard bodies” when possible, rather than writing their own standards.

The Office of Management and Budget defines voluntary consensus standards as “technical standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, both domestic and international,” PHMSA said, noting that “every U.S. government technical regulatory agency uses consensus standards.”

The public has access to the standards at the Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington or at the Government Printing Office, PHMSA noted. “PHMSA is actively working with standards organizations to urge them to provide better access to standards they have authored,” the statement said.

While federal law requires federal agencies to consider adopting standards, Weimer said PHMSA should take more precautions with the standards it adopts. PHMSA had adopted a total of 69 standards. Beyond the 29 written by the oil and natural gas industry, the others were written by more technical groups like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or the National Fire Protection Association.

“Some of these standards are developed by groups like National Association of Corrosion Engineers. So, some of these groups really do have lots of expertise in the area and it makes sense,” Weimer said. But groups like API, Weimer argued, should not be developing standards because they have too much of an interest in the outcome of regulations.

Peter Lidiak, pipeline director at API, said PHMSA is not doing anything wrong in adotping industry standards as regulations. “They’re doing what they are supposed to be doing. We wouldn’t put out a standard if we didn’t think it was an appropriate set of guidelines for the industry to follow,” he said, adding, “We do often suggest to them that they might look at a standard that we have put in place rather than writing all new regulations if they address the same thing.”

On the issue of public access to the standards, Lidiak stresses that the standards are proprietary information, but notes that industry groups provide copies to PHMSA for public inspection. “If somebody wanted a bound copy, they’d have to pay to see them. But we provide a copy of all of our pipeline related standards to PHMSA,” Lidiak said. “And I will grant you, it’s not convenient for somebody living in Kansas City to come to PHMSA’s office.”

Lidiak also stressed that PHMSA reviews all industry standards before adopting them and can choose to adopt them in part if necessary. PHMSA also allows public comment on the standards, he said. A spokesperson for AGA did not return a request for comment.

Ultimately though, Weimer isn’t satisfied with the the standards and the lack of public access to them. “We believe in transparency. The more information that’s available to the public, the better,” he said."

above article found here;

http://newmexicoindependent.com/61614/oil-and-gas-industry-writes-its-own-standards



"California Gas Explosion Raises New Questions About Pipeline Safety."

By Andrew Restuccia 9/10/10 11:06 AM

"At least four people are dead in San Bruno, Calif., after a natural gas pipeline break caused an explosion that leveled dozens of homes and damaged many others.

Quite a few questions remain about what caused the explosion and details are still unfolding. But the explosion will likely bring more attention to the issue of pipeline safety, which I’ve written about extensively in a series of articles published this summer.

As I reported in August, many industry observers say pipeline oversight by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is severely lacking.

According to my story:

A 2002 law mandates the inspection of pipes in “high consequence areas” — regions near natural resources like rivers, or populated ares like towns or cities. But because only portions of pipeline in the high consequence areas must undergo safety inspections, companies are under no federal regulatory obligation to adequately or consistently inspect thousands of miles of pipeline outside of those areas.

In addition, I reported that there are no federal regulations that require pipelines to be set back a safe distance from houses or commercial buildings.

Moreover, there are no federal laws or regulations to ensure that houses and commercial buildings are constructed a safe distance away from pipelines. This lack of a so-called “setback” regulation raises particular concerns when it comes to natural gas pipelines, which, if broken, can burst into flames causing huge fireballs.

“There aren’t any regulations at all about setbacks. You can build a house right next to a pipeline,” Weimer says. The only rule regarding setbacks is that a landowner cannot build on the right of way easement used to build the pipeline, Julia Piscitelli, a PHMSA spokesperson says. “Generally, pipeline burial locations are determined by local, county and state ordinances,” she said."

above article found here;

http://washingtonindependent.com/97132/california-gas-explosion-raises-new-questions-about-pipeline-safety

So far in 2010 the PHMSA lists 38 incidents involving pipelines. CHEC has an online data sheet listing all these incidents;

Created Aug 23, 2010 by Conrad Volz

"Data pertaining to gas transmission and gas gathering incident data. Incidents data includes: significance, operator name, location, commodity released, causes, injuries, site descriptions, minimum value for property damage, value or volume of product lost and criterion for fire and/or explosion, etc. The 2010 to present PHMSA flagged data set reports 38 total incidents across the country. Thirty Three (33) or about 87% of these incidents were reported as significant incidents."

find data here;

http://www.fractracker.org/2010/08/methane-and-other-types-of-pipelines.html



Please contact PHMSA and demand that they do their job to prevent future pipeline explosions;

http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/

Another way to prevent future pipeline disasters is to not build any more needless pipelines across long distances! Although construction on the 680 mile Ruby Pipeline has already begun, it is not too late to try and stop this monstrosity from crossing pristine desert ecosystems.



"The Ruby Pipeline L.L.C. (El Paso Corporation) Project which will transport natural gas from Wyoming through northern Utah and northern Nevada to Oregon is moving along quickly. However, there is still time to take action in stalling this project until all environmental and cultural impacts, as well as alternative routes, have been fully studied. Please download and sign the following letters (or write your own personalized letter) to Senator Harry Reid and Ron Wenker of the BLM."

http://www.gbrw.org/take-action/105-take-action-ruby-pipeline-project.html
Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Protecting Sage Grouse from Ruby Pipeline Great Basin Resource Watch Sunday, Sep. 12, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy