More Williams Company Surprise incidents

Apparently pipeline companies are the last to know that pipelines can be dangerous, even after Williams Co’s four strikes this year. Maybe they should stop believing their own propaganda. And why do pipeline companies get four strikes and they’re still not out, anyway?

Dory Hippauf wrote for No Fracking Way 8 May 2014 Williams Co Has Gomer Pyle Moment,

Recently, the Williams Company, the 4th largest pipeline operator in the US, experienced 3 accidents in rapid succession between Feb-Apr 2014.

As reported by Bloomberg news “Williams Reviews Safety After Fire, Explosions at Gas Plants“, May 1, 2014:

“Certainly, this has come as a big surprise to our organization,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong said on a conference call with analysts today. “We are conducting very thorough investigations into each incident to determine if there’s any common or root cause.”

Why it comes as a big surprise to CEO Armstrong is, well, surprising. It’s well known that pipelines and related infrastructure do have spills, leaks, fires and explosions resulting in property damage, injuries and deaths. At a time when fossil fuel corporations are expanding and building new infrastructures and pipelines, safety, not profits, should be the foremost consideration.

Follow the link for the list of Williams Co. incidents, which includes many more than these few big ones from 2014:
  1. PHMSA deputized Oregon PUC to investigate three-month Williams Co. methane leak, starting 10 January 2014
  2. Williams fire and explosion near Plymouth, WA 2014-03-31
  3. Williams Oak Grove explosion in Marshall County, WV 2014-04-05
  4. Williams explosion and fire, Opal, WY 2014-04-23

That’s four “abnormal operations” or accidents so far in 2014 alone. In baseball only three strikes and Williams would be out. Why does a pipeline company get nothing but PR out of all this?

What’s an actual accident or “abnormal operations” anyway? PHMSA uses definitions from the American Petroleum Institute (API), and requires pipeline operators to put out propaganda according to API guidelines. Maybe Williams CEO Alan Armstrong actually believed that API propaganda.

The No Fracking Way article also notes:

According to Tom Droege, Williams Co. spokesperson, as stated in an email, over the last five years, Williams has had a lower rate of incidents on its pipelines than the industry average, he said, citing federal statistics.

Hm, so if Williams has fewer than the industry average, where does Spectra rank?

Droege failed to mention the industrial average was 1.6 pipeline incidents per day, so what does a “lower rate of incidents” really mean?

And who ever heard of a solar panel leak or explosion? What say we cancel the pipeline and go straight to faster, cheaper, safer, job-creating solar power.


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