The state regulator’s perspective on gas infrastructure inspections and investments.
Philip B. Jones is a commissioner on the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and currently is president of NARUC. Paul J. Roberti is a commissioner on the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission and is chairman of NARUC’s Pipeline Safety Task Force.
A little more than two million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines crisscross the United States, connecting homes and businesses with one of our most important energy resources—natural gas. The nation’s pipeline system is the safest, most reliable and cost-effective way to transport this essential fuel across the country. Yet, despite the gas industry’s strong safety record, the 2010 San Bruno, Calif., and 2011 Allentown, Penn., incidents transformed public sentiment and placed both industry and regulators under intense scrutiny about the perceived safety of pipeline systems and the effectiveness of federal and state enforcement.
As these recent incidents demonstrate, a life lost because of a gas or hazardous materials pipeline accident is a tragedy that strikes pain and fear into the heart of the affected community. Any incident is always one too many.