Report Points To Pipeline Problems
By Shelly Slater

6 August 2002

Charleston, WV, Aug. 6

Aerial views of devastation raise questions about pipeline regulations. A federal report calls the Office of Pipeline Safety or OPS: "Slow to improve it's oversight of the industry and implement critical safety improvements."

The report criticizes OPS for ignoring safety regulations passed down by the government. Even so, Karl Brack with Columbia Gas, believes in the pipeline industry."The pipeline system in America is the safest form of energy transportation available today."

Still he says OPS neglects to re-inspect pipelines, create stricter operator qualifications, and build public awareness to keep people from digging into pipelines.

The Public Service Commission regulates pipelines for the state. But even then...we do what OPS tells us to do, we do it well, our main goal is obviously safety. when we see a need we try to fulfill that need." By creating new rules. Something the PSC has only done once in the last fifteen years.

Since states like West Virginia aren't making many rules on their own, it's up to the federal government to put restrictions in place. The federal report says those rules may not be enough to keep these flames from firing up again.

I think their role as a regulator is not so much to help us, but to make sure we're accountable." For incidents like Monday's pipeline failure.

Copyright WSAZ
Original Story

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