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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Exxon Keeping Maintenance Reports on Ruptured Pipeline Secret From Public, Congress

From InsideClimate News:
That leaves the public and regulators with two critical questions: Did Exxon manage and test its broken Pegasus pipeline according to established guidelines? And, if it did, is the Arkansas accident a warning that other pipelines might be at risk? 
If so, the repercussions would be nationwide, since many of the nation's liquid fuel and natural gas pipelines are of similar vintage and were built using the same inferior construction techniques. The gas line that ruptured in San Bruno, Calif. in September 2010, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes, included segments made with the same process as the Pegasus pipe. Investigators foundthat the pipeline's owner, Pacific Gas & Electric, had neglected to properly inspect and repair the line and that regulators issued testing exemptions and placed "blind trust" in the company's assurances. 
Recent maintenance and testing records for the Pegasus, as well as the metal analysis report that blamed the accident primarily on a 65-year-old manufacturing defect, would offer important insight into why the pipeline failed. Those documents, however, are being withheld from the public as well as from a Congressional committee, two Arkansas Congressmen and a water utility worried that the pipeline could foul drinking water for nearly half a million people. 
Exxon has given pertinent data to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the federal agency that regulates the nation's pipelines, and to Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (in response to a subpoena). But Exxon says the two most recent inspections it conducted on the Pegasus are proprietary and confidential, so they shouldn’t be shared with the public.
Read the whole article here. 

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