Need for Action

WITH THE oil and gas boom sweeping the nation, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration needs help in dealing with the situation.

A recent problem occurred in March when 10,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a damaged pipeline into the 374-acre Glen Oak Nature Preserve near Cincinnati. Small animals were affected by the spill but fewer large animals as they weren’t going through the contaminated area because of the cold weather.

Yet, cleanup is time-consuming and expensive. For example, it was necessary to build a road so heavy machinery could travel to the area and to build a containment structure to keep spilled crude oil out of the nearby Great Miami River.

The spill came from a 5-inch crack in the Mid-Valley Pipeline. Repairs have been completed on the pipeline, which has been reopened.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the massive leak is “at least the third time in the last decade that oil has leaked in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region from this pipe,”and it’s “the 40th incident since 2006 along that pipeline, which stretches 1,100 miles from Texas to Michigan.”

With current boom, an expansive network of pipelines are being built or repurposed., and individual companies are left largely in charge of pipeline routes and safety monitoring. Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration officials report they don’t have the tools needed to enforce stricter standards.

WASTEFUL spending on the federal level is no secret so money surely is available somewhere.

As far back as 1975, the late U.S. Sen. William Proxmire was announcing Golden Fleece Awards about spending for unnecessary projects.

Although scientists sometimes objected to some of his awards, there are some recipients such as the Commerce Department for a $28,000 study of the best surfing beaches in Honolulu and $6,000 for the Army to spend on a 17-page study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce. Proxmire told reporters that whoever dreamed up that project “must have been on the sauce.”

SINCE 1986, there have been nearly 8,000 significant pipeline incidents, resulting in more than 500 deaths, more than 2,300 injuries and nearly $7 billion in damages.

With figures such as that, it’s obvious governmental action is needed.