FERC trusts pipeline companies to self-regulate: result…

In one case:

“In the largest penalty in an environmental case since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Connecticut-based Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company will pay $22 million in criminal and civil fines for violating federal environmental and safety laws, the United States announced today [23 May 1996].

The company and four of its high-level officers and supervisors pleaded guilty to numerous criminal violations of the Clean Water Act including failure to clean up or restore damage to nearly 200 streams and wetlands as a result of rushing to meet construction deadlines.”

That’s even larger than the U.S. EPA fine of $15 million in 1989 against Spectra’s Texas Eastern Pipeline for spilling PCBs at 89 sites, although not when you add in the $18.6 million fine by Pennsylvania plus $200 million for cleanup.

Yet Iroquois Gas Transmission System L.P. touts A Tradition of Partnership and Responsibility, just like a Spectra Energy VP claimed “We are a very genuine, safe, law-abiding company.” even as she was being confronted on-camera with a list of Spectra’s PHMSA violations. Would you buy a used car from such a company?

Stephen M. Tomasik, Stop the Pipeline, 25 February 2015, quoted from a letter from the New York Division of Environmental Permits,

  • FERC’s Conclusions regarding environmental impacts hinge on the “assumption” that companies will follow the rules and regulations in the FEIS and agency

So how are FERC’s Environmental Assessments, Conclusions and Assumptions working out?

The Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company(Iroquois), a co-applicant with Constitution for this project, has built only one major pipeline in the United States, running 370 miles from Canada through upstate New York and

Connecticut to Long Island. The project was approved by FERC.

The results? Twenty two million dollars in criminal and civil fines for violating federal environmental and safety laws. According to the press release:

“In the largest penalty in an environmental case since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Connecticut-based Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company will pay $22 million in criminal and civil fines for violating federal environmental and safety laws, the United States announced today.

The company and four of its high-level officers and supervisors pleaded guilty..to numerous criminal violations of the Clean Water Act including failure to clean up or restore damage to nearly 200 streams and wetlands as a result of rushing to meet construction deadlines.”…

“Each of the four felony violations of the Clean Water Act to which Iroquois pleaded guilty fall into one of three categories:

  • failure to clean up or otherwise restore 188 streams and wetlands;
  • failure to install innumerable trench breakers;
  • failure to install trench breakers at the edges of wetlands.

In total, the categories encompass thousands of individual Clean Water Act violations.”

“Almost everywhere we dug we found violations,” said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“The widespread nature of the criminal violations is almost impossible to overstate,” said Joseph A. Pavone, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York. “(2)

So when Sabal Trail can’t even file environmental information correctly, why should anyone believe it will “mitigate” the destruction and hazards of its pipeline?

No pipeline. Solar power for the Sunshine State.

-jsq

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