Monday, August 3, 2009

Oklahoma considering regulation of intrastate natural gas lines

OKLAHOMA CITY - A state agency has stepped forward asking for the authorization to monitor the currently the unregulated natural gas pipelines in Oklahoma.
Currently, no state or federal government agency monitors intrastate natural
gas gathering lines in Oklahoma or investigates accidents, even if they’re deadly. The Corporation Commission wants to change that.
"We don't want anyone to get hurt, so we'd kinda like to know where some of these pipelines are," said Brooks Mitchell, Corporation Commission appointing authority.
"We don't seem to have a problem with operators maintaining and taking care of their system, but what if we had a problem where people were not maintaining their pipelines," said Dennis Fothergill, Corporation Commission pipeline safety manager.
The commission met with people from pipeline companies to explain why it wants to regulate thousands of miles of natural gas pipeline and to help push a bill that died last session. The bill would give the agency the ability to regulate the natural gas pipelines that the federal government does not monitor.
The commission said it wants to eliminate accidents like the one that occurred last November when a pipeline ruptured in Alex and destroyed three homes and seriously burned one woman.
The bill would also allow the commission to investigate an accident like the one in November.
Enogex, a subsidiary of OG&E's parent company, operates the gas pipeline involved in the Alex accident. Enogex said the line was inspected about two weeks prior to the explosion, but why it happened remains a mystery.

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