Explosions fuel gas pipeline fittings debate
Another hard hitting report by Brett Shipp of WFAA Channel 8 news. Last night was the first report about exploding gas pipelines and the inaction of the Railroad Commission. Shipp found that “tens of thousands of lives may be at stake.”
In tonight’s report we learned about the faulty compression couplings that separate and Atmos Energy’s failure to respond when residents smelled gas. Later Atmos found 24 leaks in the area.
Pipeline engineer Don Deaver of Houston said compression couplings are known throughout the industry as dangerous and the manufacturers even warn of a potential pullout.
“And this has been known for a long time,” he said. “These warnings have been here for many, many years.”
- On December 8, Texas Railroad Commission found that one house explosion was caused by
“line that separated from a compression coupling… possibly due to shifting of soil” and “natural ground movement
- An email from Railroad Commission Safety Director Mary McDaniel: “susceptibility to pull out with stress.”
It’s clear that the Texas Railroad Commission knew there was a problem with the couplings.
- The final RRC report omits anything about the faulty couplings.
In a notification letter to Atmos, the safety director “thanked Atmos for their assistance” with what she termed “a favorable report” and praised Atmos’ “efforts to maintain their pipeline”.
I wonder how Atmos got on her good side.
Pipeline engineer Don Deaver:
“I don’t understand the reason for even making that statement,” he said. “It’s almost suggesting that there’s a lack of independence between the Texas Railroad Commission and the industry its regulating when it gets to be so chummy and makes those statements considering two people were dead.”
Read the rest here
Sunday Shipp will conclude his series and he promises we haven’t yet seen the worst of Michael Williams and the Railroad Commission.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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