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TXU Told to Remove Poly 1 Pipe by December

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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