POLITICAL CORRUPTION IS A NATIONWIDE ISSUE AFFECTING ALL OF US. ALABAMA RANKS #5 AS THE MOST CORRUPT STATE. *DOJ 2007 stats
Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton


PERTINENT ENVIRONMENTAL AND CORRUPTION ISSUES IN OTHER STATES ARE ALSO DISCUSSED


NO OTHER COMMUNITY, RICH OR POOR, URBAN OR SUBURBAN,BLACK, BROWN,RED, YELLOW OR WHITE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BECOME AN "ENVIRONMENTAL SACRIFICE ZONE."

Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Rachel Maddow Show on the ExxonMobil Spill in Montana and Pipeline Safety

Once again the feisty Ms. Maddow breaks down the facts and fiction of big oil in this recent segment of the TRMS, including an interview with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer-D.

Schweitzer is also a soil scientist and he's signaled a zero tolerance for any shenanigans from ExxonMobil. Something to keep in mind about him though is that he is a big proponent of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Notable statistics on pipelines in the US:

The energy and transportation network of the United States consists of more than 2.5 million miles of pipelines. These pipelines are operated by more than 3.000 private, small and large companies. According to the federal DOT this network includes approximately:
  • 168,900 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines
  • 320,500 miles of gasoline transmission pipelines
  • 2,200,000 miles of natural gas pipelines
Most of the pipeline system in the US in antiquated, forty years plus for some major lines running from Texas to the northeast, and buried only to depths of 3-6 feet in many areas.

The PIPES Act of 2006 was enacted to strengthen regulations and improve safety while protecting our nation's energy supply. Still, the amount of federal inspectors remains low, around 100 employed with positions for 135. That doesn't solve the additional problem of a decrease in state budgets, resulting in less available money for their own programs and inspectors. Less money equals less inspectors and more infrequent inspections.

If you look at recent stats, states are responsible for pipeline safety covering over 92% of 1.9 million miles of gas distribution piping in the nation, 29% of 300,000 miles of gas transmission and 32% of 166,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. If you figure that into budget cuts, furloughs of some workers and a dismal state economic outlook, it can become a real challenge.

Couple that with compliance issues and violations resulting in frequently non-existent civil penalties on a state level (Alabama is linked) and there's a recipe for disaster in the making by not using available civil penalty compensation to help the state programs remain solvent. ADEM uses this tactic as a means to keep their state agency funded, why doesn't the Alabama PSC also do the same with in-state pipeline violations?

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of pipeline safety was discovered by investigative reporting from the San Francisco Chronicle revealing that 2/3 of the safety studies used by federal agencies were funded by pipeline operators:
Industry's access guaranteed influence. The studies launched by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration helped mold national and state safety rules and inspection procedures for 2.3 million miles of pipelines that carry natural gas and hazardous liquids, some underneath neighborhoods.
Three deadly accidents in the past three years involved decades-old pipelines that might have been replaced - saving lives - had the outcomes of the federal agency's research, and the policies they influenced, been different.
The Chronicle's reporting shows who's really in charge of the hen house--the foxes and their corporate lobbyists influencing Capitol Hill to go along with their own biased information and studies  Corporate interests and public interests are rarely aligned in their purposes, and the issue of our aging pipeline infrastructure should be a wake up call to all of us.

Handing responsibility for safety over to the same entities you are supposed to be regulating for the public good is not only foolish, it's ripe for corruption and a deliberate misinformation campaign that ends with proven deadly consequences. 
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7 comments:

  1. "Pass the Exxon paper towels..."

    Gotta love that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice.

    And we keep giving the big oil companies taxpayer subsidies. What's wrong with this picture?

    Wish we had a Guv like Schweitzer in Alabama.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel like s spider in a web when I look at available maps of where all the pipelines run.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i'myourhuckleberryJuly 6, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    It's elementary Max Watson.
    The PSC is hands off our good energy buddies.
    Useless as t's on a boar. If we got rid of them we'd probably be better off.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Don't we bury bodies deeper than most of these pipelines?

    ReplyDelete
  6. We the sheeple are eternally asleep.

    ReplyDelete
  7. He talks a good game until you get to that 'minor' detail about the Keystone Pipeline. Poser. Trying to look like a good guy to the liberal audience.
    Next.

    ReplyDelete

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