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How Safe are Natural Gas Pipelines?

According to a story in the Bellingham Herald datelined Saturday, March 17th, 2001, in the US:

"Pipeline accidents kill more than 20 people in an average year and destroy millions of dollars worth of property. During the past decade or so, major accidents -- involving injuries, death or more than $50,000 in property damage -- increased by about 4 percent annually, federal statistics show."

How concerned are U.S. pipeline companies about this trend? Are they concerned enough to shoulder their responsiblity and cooperate with state and federal authorities in the passage of legislation designed to make pipelines safer?

For insight into answers to these questions, read Marlene Robinson's poignant testimony in support of a pipeline safety bill in the state of Washington.