Background

In 1999 a pipeline tragedy in Bellingham, Washington killed three young men playing in a city park and destroyed an entire salmon stream, and provided a wake up call for the need to increase pipeline safety across the nation. In Washington State two new organizations grew out of that tragedy. The first one was the governor-appointed Citizen Committee on Pipeline Safety (CCOPS), created by the governor and the state legislature “to advise the state agencies and other appropriate federal and local government agencies and officials on matters relating to hazardous liquid and gas pipeline safety, routing, construction, operation, and maintenance.” The other was the national Pipeline Safety Trust (PST) a non-profit based out of Bellingham, which was created by victims’ families and the community and funded with four million dollars of the criminal penalties that resulted from that tragedy.

 

CCOPS was challenged by the chairman of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) a few years ago to draft a report that would review how well measures already in place are doing to ensure the safety of the pipelines in Washington State, and to make recommendations for what could be changed to make pipelines even safer. CCOPS embraced this idea, but as a volunteer advisory committee that only meets four times a year believed such a report was beyond its ability without assistance. They asked the PST to draft such a report independently with the intention that they would then review it and endorse the parts they agreed with, and the UTC supported the initiative by providing $9,700 of funding.

 

The final Pipeline Safety in Washington State report

 

Surveys taken to produce report

List of all Reportable Pipeline Failures in Washington State

 

Maps of all individual transmission pipelines (over ten miles long) in Washington State

PHMSA State Program Guidelines and Performance Scores

Links to Information Used in Report