News Releases

NTSB Findings Reinforce Need for Pipeline Safety Legislation

Oct 08 2002

NTSB recommendations already included in pending legislation

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends new safety precautions that are included in pipeline safety legislation sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). The report concludes that a number of factors – including inadequate inspection procedures and poor oversight of valve testing – contributed to the catastrophe that killed three in 1999.

In its report, the NTSB made two safety recommendations that called for better training for pipeline personnel, and for pipeline operators to develop new standards to test relief valves. These recommendations, however, are included in the legislation sponsored by Murray and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and, which has passed both the Senate and the House and is currently in conference. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) spearheaded the House effort.

The pipeline legislation authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to "establish minimum standards for pipeline personnel training and evaluation." It also calls for the Secretary to require pipeline operators to develop mitigation plans to "prevent and mitigate unintended releases, such as leak detection, integrity evaluation, restrictive flow devices."

"The NTSB report confirms the senselessness of this tragedy, that it was entirely preventable," said Murray. "The Senate and House have passed pipeline safety legislation that not only address the NTSB's safety recommendations, but also improves inspections, expands the public's right to know, and increases fines for violators. Congress must act so that no family will ever again have to lose a loved one to such a preventable tragedy."