U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said she would like to see the U.S. Congress implement the stringent oil and gas pipeline safety rules that her agency has developed through its investigation into last September”s San Bruno, Calif., pipeline explosion.
“From the board”s perspective, we”ve issued about 40 recommendations over the course of the last year stemming from this investigation, and we”d like to see all of them implemented,” Hersman said in an interview Sept. 25 on the all-energy news and talk television program Platts Energy Week. “We believe that if all of our recommendations were implemented, we could prevent another accident like San Bruno from happening.”
The September 9, 2010, explosion killed eight people, and NTSB”s investigation found that the pipeline, owned by Pacific Gas & Electric, was badly welded when installed in 1956 and barely inspected over its 54-year lifespan.
Hersman acknowledged that the safety recommendations laid out in NTSB”s report, which was released earlier this month, could cost the industry billions of dollars. The recommendations include the elimination of loopholes that allow older pipelines to remain exempt from tests mandated on newer pipelines.
As an independent government investigative agency, NTSB can only recommend regulations and cannot implement or enforce them. Such laws would have to be proposed by Congress, and several bills have been introduced with varying degrees of safety rigor, according to Platts Energy Week.
For the full Platts Energy Week report on this story, click here.