Tag Archives: PHMSA

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Is Porter Ranch the natural gas industry’s Three Mile Island?

Thirty-six years ago, Three Mile Island turned public opinion against nuclear power. The worst in history, right now still spewing after three months and Los Angeles County and the state of California have declared emergencies at Porter Ranch, is the “natural” gas industry’s Three Mile Island.

Nuclear, too was touted as safe, clean, and infamously “too cheap to meter”. It turned out to be none of those things, and neither is fracked methane. Three Mile Island alone didn’t stop the thousands of nukes President Nixon promised, but it sure helped. The Porter Ranch disaster has already lasted far longer, had worse direct effects, and is in the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area.

Plus TMI was the first U.S. civilian nuclear accident. The “natural” gas industry has leaks, corrosion, fires, explosions, and now earthquakes monthly and sometimes daily. Sure, the shadow of nuclear war hung over the nuclear power industry, but the monthly fireballs from methane explosions hangs over the natural gas industry. The 2010 San Bruno, California explosion is back in the news because, says AP 13 January 2015: PROSECUTORS: PG&E RESISTED RECORD-KEEPING CHANGE AFTER SAN BRUNO BLAST.

It’s time for a complete moratorium on all new natural gas projects, like the moratorium on all new nuclear projects after Three Mile Island. Instead, let’s get on with what we didn’t have back then: solar and wind power already less expensive than any other sources of power, far cleaner and safer, much faster to deploy, using no water, and requiring no eminent domain.

In 1962 President John F. Kennedy famously said: Continue reading

America’s Dangerous Pipelines –Center for Biological Diversity

7,978 fatalities by in 2013 – 4,199 by 2001 = 3,779, which is more than the 2,977 killed by the hijackers on 9/11. If the fossil fuel industry was a foreign country, we would have invaded it by now. Why should we let that industry invade our lands for their profit? Let’s not permit a fossil fuel disaster here.

Center for Biological Diversity wrote on YouTube 31 July 2013 America’s Dangerous Pipelines: Continue reading

Video of Spectra answering a question about Sabal Trail in Madison, FL @ Sabal 2013-12-17

When someone took Susan Waller up on her offer to answer questions about the Sabal Trail pipeline, she seemed to find the truth as reported by her own company to a federal pipeline oversight agency to be “disruptive”.

Disable Sabal – Sabal Trail (Spectra Energy) Open House Madison, FL,

We are a very genuine, safe, law-abiding company.
So said Spectra VP or Shareholder Outreach Susan Waller. She then complained that “your group” was “disruptive” and “you don’t want to hear the truth”.

So Ben Vieth showed Waller lists of incidents of corrosion reported by Spectra to PHMSA. To which another Sabal Trail rep. said, “We have a safe operation”.

Here’s the video:


Video of Spectra answering a question about Sabal Trail in Madison, FL
Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline,
FERC-required Open House, Sabal Trail Transmission and Spectra Energy (Sabal),
Video by Blake Clark, Madison, Madison County, Florida, 17 December 2013.

It’s interesting that even after Continue reading

Spectra reps unfamiliar with Spectra fines @ LCC 2013-12-09

Both of Spectra’s principal representatives to the Lowndes County Commission and the Dougherty County Commission claim not to be familiar with Spectra’s well-known public record of safety violations, and some of what they say contradicts the public record, so how can we believe any of their safety assertions about Spectra’s proposed Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline?

Update 3PM: more evidence from Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

As I’ve mentioned before, Spectra’s Andrea Grover told us that everyone in Pennsylvania was happy now, after I asked her about the Steckman Ridge compressor station leak in front of reporter Matthew Woody, at the 16 October 2013 Spectra meeting at Wiregrass Tech in Valdosta. There’s more beyond the article about pipeline fines and incidents Woody wrote 24 November 2013 for the Valdosta Daily Times (VDT), the local newspaper of record.

Her excuse for the compressor leak, if I recall correctly, was that Continue reading

Spectra pipeline property damage and safety record

Sabal Trail Transmission reps promise us their pipeline will be safe, but their parent company Spectra Energy has had twenty one incidents since 2006 for $8,564,246 in property damage, according to PHMSA, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

That Final Order of 21 December 2012 to Spectra CEO Gregory L. Ebel for $134,500 for violating both federal regulations and Spectra’s own internal company policies was only a in the flaming bucket. Another, marked in red as MAT’L/WELD/EQUIP FAILURE, PUMP/COMPRESSOR-RELATED EQUIPMENT for $251,170 in property damage on 13 March 2012 in Marietta, York County, Pennsylvania, could be related to that compressor incident Spectra first said was nothing. Most of the others are about “internal corrosion” such as a Spectra employee says they never bothered to check for.

Here’s the current list of incidents from PHMSA, no doubt each with its own sordid story:

Serious Incidents are denoted in red.

Continue reading

Spectra never bothered to check pipeline for corrosion –Spectra employee

So “the pipe will be monitored 24/7”? That’s not Spectra’s actual practice, according to an employee and according to a federal fine.

By fjgallagher for Natural Gas Watch 19 June 2013, Spectra Energy Employee: We Never Bothered to Check Natural Gas Pipeline for Corrosion,

A Spectra Energy employee acknowledged to federal inspectors that the company never conducted key tests for corrosion on a natural gas pipeline that was already operating at excess capacity, according to documents recently obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org.

There’s much more in the article, including this:

Additionally, according to another May 2, 2013 letter sent under separate cover from (PHMSA) to Holeman, Spectra failed to install equipment to monitor whether or not the natural gas pipeline in question was being affected by corrosion and could not produce any records indicating that the pipeline had, in fact, ever been tested for corrosion or that the pipeline was even structurally sound.

So that’s what “the pipe will be monitored 24/7” means. Good to know.

See Item 2 in that Final Order with fines from the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to Spectra Energy CEO Gregory L. Ebel: Continue reading

Spectra backtracks about pipeline incident

Spectra flip-flops on major safety events as well as on whose houses are beautiful and whether Georgia cities can use gas from its pipeline from PCB-polluted Anniston, Alabama to Orlando, Florida. And Spectra was fined recently for violating both federal safety requirements and its own operating procedures, including for pipeline monitoring. Oh, and its natural gas comes from fracking.

Remember Spectra rep Andrea Grover, quoted by the VDT? Well, she’s been quoted elsewhere, too. Mike Benard wrote for CSRHUB 5 April 2013, Spectra Energy ‘Backtracks’ on Methane Incident: First: “Nothing Released …. No Smoke …. No Incident”; Then Admits: Methane & Hydrocarbons Released,

Spectra Energy Corporation (SE, NYSE) was forced to backtrack on dismissive assertions it made about a nighttime incident at its huge natural gas compressor station in Bedford County, PA, after persistent neighbors and a reporter kept pressing the company and state regulators for facts.

A natural gas compressor station, like the ones Spectra says will be along its proposed AL-GA-FL pipeline, maybe in Dougherty County, maybe in Lowndes County; we don’t know.

Now Spectra could say this was a different kind of compressor because it’s a different kind of operation in Pennsylvania. What kind? Fracking: Continue reading