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Amid Pipeline Incidents, Lax Enforcement at the State Level

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story today on the role of states in ensuring pipeline safety. Much of the responsibility for enforcing pipeline

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 07, 2010

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story today on the role of states in ensuring pipeline safety. Much of the responsibility for enforcing pipeline safety rules is in the hands of the states and, at least in the case of the California Public Utilities Commission — which oversaw PG&E, the owner of the pipeline that exploded in California last month, killing eight people — there appears to be lax enforcement.

The Journal reports:

Federal law dictates how gas pipelines should be built and operated, and the Pipelines and Hazardous Material Safety Administration was created in 2004 to improve safety. But Washington delegates enforcement to 48 states, and in California, the job falls to the Public Utilities Commission—which has just nine pipeline inspectors to police more than 100,000 miles of gas mains and audit utilities.

Over the past decade, the number of CPUC inspectors has stayed steady while the serious incidents reported by utilities have risen. And while California gas pipelines spring thousands of leaks each year and utilities are cited for scores of safety violations, records show companies rarely are penalized, even when accidents kill or maim.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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