TXU Told to Remove Poly 1 Pipe by December
The Texas Railroad Commission last week voted to approve tough
pipeline safety proposals that include targeting one of the largest
utilities in the state - TXU Energy. The TRC voted unanimously to
require TXU to have all segments of its polyethylene 1 pipe out of
the ground by December.
"It's the commission's responsibility to take a look at the
results of the Garland (TX) Report and to do whatever possible to
get all poly 1 pipe out of the ground as soon as possible," said
TRC Chairman Michael L. Williams. "Our top priority must be to
provide Texans with assurance that the pipelines running through
our neighborhoods are safe and properly installed."
The TXU mandate was prompted by TRC's recent release of
investigative findings into a January 2000 house explosion in
Garland, TX, which determined that the probable cause for the
explosion was an accumulation of natural gas migrating from a crack
into the area of the fusion of two pieces of polyethylene pipe.
However, TRC didn't stop at just singling out TXU. TRC's
measures adopted last Tuesday also will affect the state's other
utilities, and call for the formation of a pipeline safety task
force charged with determining how best to identify and maintain
data related to polyethylene pipe throughout the state. A databank
will be set up to allow TRC and operators to have pipeline make,
location and manufacturer information readily available if
unacceptable pipe is identified.
The state's recommendations also followed a hearing nearly two weeks ago in
the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which is
considering pipeline safety legislation (see NGI, May
15). Pending pipeline safety legislation before the Senate committee would
impose stiffer penalties in the event of spills or accidents, provide better
worker safety protection for anyone who becomes a whistle-blower and create
a network of regional advisory councils to help oversee the safety of gas
and hazardous liquids lines.
Carolyn Davis, Houston
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