The Little Pipeline Agency That Couldn’t


Six years ago in Bellingham, Washington, a gas pipeline explosion caused the death of three young people. The pipeline had ruptured where years earlier a backhoe had struck and weakened the fifty year old pipeline. A year later, another natural gas explosion killed twelve people in New Mexico. The loosely regulated oil and gas industry, year after year, causes millions of dollars in damage and countless deaths from failing systems and equipment.

Since the blasts in Bellingham and New Mexico, public outrage has exposed huge gaps in safety regulations. In 2004, the creation of the PHMSA, a pipeline safety agency and a division of the Department of Transportation, which was designed to keep oil and gas companies in check, has critics saying that the agencies regulations are very much molded by the oil and gas industries, and it’s open-ended approach is far from effective securing public safety. Click here to read POLITICO’s in depth report…

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