Category Archives: PHMSA

Pipelines don’t age, and we have no idea why Transco blew up (again) –Williams Co.

How do they say these things with a straight face?

Although the pipeline that ruptured was at least 4 decades old, company officials say pipelines don’t age —

Sure and their bathrooms don’t require air vents, because they don’t stink.

…and its maintained according to federal standards.

As in the standards the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Agency (PHMSA) told Williams Co. to follow back in September 2012, before fining it for not doing so? The PHMSA standards that are so poor that Continue reading Pipelines don’t age, and we have no idea why Transco blew up (again) –Williams Co.

KMI playing same tricks for Palmetto as Sabal Trail did

This meeting format sounds like the Open Houses Sabal Trail held to snow and bully landowners. And notice it’s always “80 percent survey approval”, yet we never get to see any list of landowners? Plus pipeline companies are always working to improve their safety record, except it never seems to improve. See below for some recent highlights of KMI’s long lack of safety record.

T.J. Lundeen, North Augusta Star, 21 May 2015, Palmetto Pipeline of confusion: Session in North Augusta leaves many baffled, Continue reading KMI playing same tricks for Palmetto as Sabal Trail did

Oil (Palmetto) vs. gas (Sabal Trail) pipelines at FERC

FERC’s role for oil pipelines is different than for natural gas pipelines. FERC doesn’t actively promote petroleum products pipelines through federal eminent domain like it does for fracked methane; instead it leaves oil pipeline eminent domain to the states, which for Georgia seems to mostly mean the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

FERC’s website says about Regulating Oil Pipelines:

The Commission’s responsibilities include:

  • Regulation of rates and practices of oil pipeline companies engaged in interstate transportation;
  • Establishment of equal service conditions to provide shippers with equal access to pipeline transportation; and
  • Establishment of reasonable rates for transporting petroleum and petroleum products by pipeline.

So Kinder Morgan’s Palmetto petroleum products Project does fall under FERC, but not the same way as for Sabal Trail’s fracked methane pipeline.

These FERC oil roles help explain why Continue reading Oil (Palmetto) vs. gas (Sabal Trail) pipelines at FERC

NTSB tells PHMSA to fix its horrible pipeline safety methods

Tired of reporting on explosions unprevented by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). just issued a damning set of recommendations to PHMSA, plus to an alphabet soup of other organizations to ride herd on PHMSA to try to get some improvement. How about instead we stop building new pipelines and get on with solar power?

NTSB said its motivation was three recent explosions it reported: the 2009 Palm City, Florida flying pipeline that almost hit a high school, the 2010 San Bruno, California PG&E Pipeline Rupture and Fire, and the 2012 Sissonville, West Virginia I-75 house destruction, about which NTSB said:

These three accidents resulted in 8 fatalities, over 50 injuries, and 41 homes destroyed with many more damaged.

And NTSB reporting on PHMSA’s failures goes back way farther than that, Continue reading NTSB tells PHMSA to fix its horrible pipeline safety methods

Sabal Trail PR countered by actual information in the Suwannee Democrat

On the same day, the Suwannee Democrat posted a fluff piece from a PR firm for Sabal Trail and actual reporting from the recent Open House in Jasper, FL that gives some answers Sabal Trail did not. They’re both well worth reading, the first for its absolute certainty of safety, cleanliness, and no export, and the second for its actual evidence of hazards, record of safety failures, and already-authorized LNG export operations. Oh, and Ms. Grover admitting route changes (caused by objections) blew her end-of-October filing date. The second for opponents attempting to get answers from Sabal Trail and having to get them from other protesters who have done the research Sabal Trail denies can be done. The “epitome of ignorance and greed” indeed. Please go read. Continue reading Sabal Trail PR countered by actual information in the Suwannee Democrat

Sabal Trail surveyed without permission –Beth Gordon on WCBJ TV

Beth Gordon told a Gainesville, FL TV reporter 1500 feet from her home is still too close for the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline. And since they moved it off her property, they won’t entertain any compensation. Same for you, if a pipeline blows up in your county or state like one did in neighboring Gilchrist County, Florida in 2012: you get no compensation, but your taxes may have to pay for emergency responders, hospitals, etc.

Jesse Pagan reported Wednesday 22 October 2014 for WCJB TV, Natural Gas Pipeline Concerns, Levy County,

“It would destroy the whole way of life here in Levy County.”

“I never gave them permission, yet I came home one day and they’d cut into my locked gate. I don’t know how they did it. I think they climbed over my fence. There were surveyor stakes all over my property.

First they wanted to put it on my property. Now they’ve moved it onto the farm next door.

The reporter said that’s about 1500 feet from her property, “Too close for her comfort.”

“And because the property isn’t physically right on our property, they will not entertain payment for it.

The reporter mentioned her petition to the Florida Public Service Commission (FL-PSC) Continue reading Sabal Trail surveyed without permission –Beth Gordon on WCBJ TV

Pilot Grove, MO PEPL explosion 2008-08-25

Not in a High Consequence Area (HCA)? 300x225 8/26/08 #13 -Different view of the possible failure origin after the pipe was turned over., in Pilot Grove, MO PEPL explosion, by John S. Quarterman, for SpectraBusters.org, 25 August 2008 Then a pipeline explosion may not even rate pictures on the news, even if your house or field or forest or river is what explodes. That’s what happened near Pilot Grove, Missouri 25 August 2008 on the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline 200 Line.

PHMSA, the so-called Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration, doesn’t actually know when the “impressed curent cathodic protection system” was energized, and doesn’t have the results of the last hydrostatic test, which was in 1955, 53 years before the pipeline corroded until it exploded. PHMSA’s Administrator just resigned, after continuing to let pipeline companies set the very definitions of accidents. Do you want to trust your air, water, property values, or safety to such an industry or such an agency?

Dennis Rich reported for the Sedalia Democrat 29 November 2013, Pipeline explodes near Hughesville,

Another Panhandle Eastern pipeline in the area ruptured on Aug. 25, 2008, near Pilot Grove in Cooper County and caused $1,046,359 in damages, according to a company pipeline failure investigation report.

Actually, it was Continue reading Pilot Grove, MO PEPL explosion 2008-08-25

Departing PHMSA Administrator has let regulated companies determine testing as LNG exports increase

PHMSA Administrator Rather than stopping leaks and explosions, Cynthia L. Quarterman (no relation) seems to spend a lot of time testifying before Congress, see for example these CSPAN videos. Maybe now that “market forces” are shifting away from fossil fuels, instead of chasing the white whale of pipelines for fracked methane to LNG export, we can get a new PHMSA Administrator who will do something about the lax safety of the pipelines we’ve got while we get on with shifting to sun, wind, and water power.

James F. Bowe, Jr. and Sara E. Peters wrote for Energy Newsletter, March 2014, Congress Probes Crude by Rail Safety Developments; Voluntary Industry-Regulator Agreement Addresses Safety Concerns, Continue reading Departing PHMSA Administrator has let regulated companies determine testing as LNG exports increase

A methane pipeline company sues a newspaper about publishing open records

How desperate is the pipeline industry getting? One has gone so far as to demand a court grant it veto power over public open records.

Kala Kachmar, Montgomery Advertiser, 17 September 2014, Alagasco sues Advertiser to stop use of pipe safety plan,

Alabama Gas Corporation has taken legal action to attempt to stop the Montgomery Advertiser from publishing or writing about the company’s document that outlines a plan to ensure the safety of gas pipes.

The document, Alagasco’s Distribution Integrity Management Plan (DIMP), was obtained in June through a public records request to the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC), which oversees the state’s utilities.

All gas companies are required by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to file a plan that assures pipeline safety and integrity with the state entity that oversees utility companies.

The regulation requires Continue reading A methane pipeline company sues a newspaper about publishing open records

State and local permitting for Sabal Trail pipeline

The Florida Public Service Commission has a special say in the Southeast Market Pipelines Project because the Florida Southeast Connection (FSC) leg of this pipeline is completely inside Florida and completely owned by FPL, a Florida regulated electric utility. And Florida has a say because the entire excuse for the three-part Transco -> Sabal Trail -> FSC project is that supposedly Florida needs the power (it doesn’t, but that’s the excuse). FPL is getting so desperate for public acceptance of this boondoggle they pressed their own CEO, Eric Silagy, into attempting to rebut Our Santa Fe River’s latest entry in the op-ed debate.

Sabal Trail and FERC would like everyone to believe state regulators have no say, but that’s just not true. It’s not even clear GA PSC has no say, considering that Continue reading State and local permitting for Sabal Trail pipeline