Category Archives: PHMSA

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

Inadequate insurance and safety plus eminent domain and environmental destruction by Sabal Trail –OSFR

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Our Santa Fe River sent this letter yesterday to the same newspapers Sabal Trail has been in recently. -jsq

Sabal Trail’s spokesperson distributing large quantities of disinformation

“Safety, public input, federal monitoring, jobs, tax revenue, exceed federal safety requirements, reliability, affordable, clean, thorough review, latest proven technologies:” these are all good little meta tags and nice sounding words and phrases used by Andrea Grover, public relations employee for Sabal Trail, in her recent editorial about that company’s proposed natural gas pipeline which was carried by newspapers in the southeastern United States.

But let us point out a few facts that this editorial fails to mention. There were plenty of public input meetings (we attended seven of these, and we read the minutes from others) and the input was overwhelmingly negative. Issues of concern include Continue reading Inadequate insurance and safety plus eminent domain and environmental destruction by Sabal Trail –OSFR

My son was killed in a pipeline explosion –Paul W. McCorkle

A comment on Other Hazards 30 June 2014:

My son was killed in a pipeline explosion 7-5-10. There are many old lines that are only a few inches in the ground, because of years because of top cover erosion. A shallow covered gas line is more dangerous than an exposed one!!! This was the case of my accident. After the accident, several lines in my immediate area were found to be totally exposed!!! What about the ones that are not covered to the proper depth and are seldom inspected. The federal pipeline administration is a joke. They have no idea how to do their own investigation, the rely on the pipeline companies to tell them what happened or what to do. As it has been said, THE PIPELINE COMPANIES ARE FUNDING TO MUCH MONEY TO THE AGENCIES THAT REGULATE THEM.

Paul W. McCorkle

For those who have not heard about that very unfortunate event, wrote 5 July 2010, Continue reading My son was killed in a pipeline explosion –Paul W. McCorkle

Williams Transco explosion in Appomattox Virginia 2008-11-14

Almost $1 million PHMSA fine to Williams Transco for safety regulation violations that let corrosion continue until a pipeline exploded near Appomattox, Virginia in 2008, taking out two homes and injuring five people, with local and state governments footing the bill as usual for the pipeline company failure. Yet Transco let much the same thing happen again in 2011 in Marengo County, Virginia, after which even PHMSA said “Transco has a history of cathodic protection [corrosion] concerns on other segments.”

The Lynchburg News & Advance wrote 11 August 2009, Company fined in Appomattox pipeline explosion, Continue reading Williams Transco explosion in Appomattox Virginia 2008-11-14

Pipeline compressor station map

How big is the U.S. pipeline network? 510,917 miles, according to PHMSA’s National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS).

According to the Q4 2010 newsletter of Pipeline Open Data Standarrd (, you can get this map of pipelines and compressor stations through PHMSA’s National Pipeline Mapping System. Should it be suprising when some of these compressor stations leak or some of this half-million miles of pipe explodes?

Has anybody ever heard of an exploding solar panel?


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.


PHMSA abnormal vs. accident

Apparently an actual fire or explosion may (or may not) count as an accident according to PHMSA, but there’s a huge gap in PHMSA’s definitions: they don’t seem to say they apply to methane. And guess whose Public Awareness Program PHMSA requires pipeline operators to follow?

According to PHMSA’s Glossary and Definitions,


A release of the hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide transported that results in any of the following:
  1. explosion or fire not intentionally set by the operator.
  2. release of Continue reading PHMSA abnormal vs. accident

Questions from SpectraBusters, Inc. to FERC

FERC’s ecomment system was malfunctioning, so Beth emailed this on behalf of the board, which unanimously approved it earlier that same day. She also forwarded it to John Peconom of FERC and to her U.S. Rep Ted Yoho (FL-03) and to Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-02). Here is contact information for your elected officials and candidates. -jsq

From: Beth Gordon
To: efiling <>
Date: Sat, Apr 19, 2014 6:05 pm
Subject: PF14-1 Sabal Trail Pipeline

To Whom it may Concern at FERC:

I am the President of a group of citizens and landowners from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida affected by the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Here are some important questions we hope you will answer for us. We have had no answers from FERC representatives at any other time. These are the questions we would like answered:

  1. Is lack of justification of energy need by Florida sufficient for FERC staff to recommend denying a permit for the Sabal Trail pipeline? Continue reading Questions from SpectraBusters, Inc. to FERC

Gas line ruptures under Raritan River

Central New Jersey last week, Alabama, Georgia, or Florida next year, under the Chattahoochee, the Flint, the Withlacoochee, the Suwannee, the Santa Fe, or the Ichetucknee River? Both Spectra and Williams Transco have pipelines under the Raritan River, and they want pipelines under our rivers.

Tom Davis wrote for New Brunswick Patch 14 February 2014, UPDATE: Ruptured Gas Line In Raritan River; Local Roads Closed,

The Fire Department and PSE&G are currently working on a ruptured gas line which runs under the Raritan River.

Due to a ruptured gas line in the vicinity of the Raritan River, portions of Johnson Drive will be closed to traffic. Expect delays and/or possible detours. The New Brunswick Fire Department and PSE&G are on scene and are not requiring any evacuations at this time.

There is no need for evacuation at this time. There is a strong odor of natural gas in the area.

Nicholas West posted a video on New Brunswick today that same day: Gas Line Ruptures in the Middle of the Raritan River: Continue reading Gas line ruptures under Raritan River