The Trust in the News

Industry dominates lobbying of pipeline, hazmat agency. By Rachel Leven, Bloomberg (Feb 8, 2016). “‘Hardly any environmental nonprofits focus on pipeline issues. From our standpoint, that’s kind of sad. We’d love to have some allies,’ Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, told Bloomberg BNA. ‘There’s room to lobby on issues that PHMSA has control over.’”…. “In Weimer’s view, this increased activist involvement is important. His organization was initially funded as a watchdog group by a 2003 court-order that dedicated $4 million in criminal fines as a result of a 1999 Olympic Pipe Line Co. pipeline rupture in Bellingham, Wash. that killed three people. When asked why public input was important, Weimer pointed to that 2003 court sentencing where Judge Barbara Rothstein of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington said ‘with $4,000,000 … they’re nowhere near the lobbying potential of the oil industry. It’s not even David and Goliath. It’s more like Bambi and Godzilla….They need to make a difference, because they are the ones that will be the watchdogs. No industry polices itself very well,’ Rothstein said. ‘You need outside people, and these are going to be the people so pay attention to them,’ she added.”

New federal gas storage regulations likely to mimic industry’s guidelines. By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News (Feb 8, 2016). “‘Once again, the industry has got out ahead, drafted the regulations, and now PHMSA , which hasn’t done anything for years, is going to incorporate these recommended practices as the regulation,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit based in Bellingham, Wash. ‘So once again, it’s industry designing their own regulations.'”

Pipeline leak statistics should give pause to pipeline supporters. By Ron Whittington, Athens Banner-Herald (Jan 3, 2016). “The problem is that each company uses different criteria, so ‘it’s a nightmare for regulators,’ according to Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a public charity that promotes fuel transportation safety….’This isn’t like the fox guarding the hen house,’ Weimer said. ‘It’s like the fox designing the hen house.’”

Pipeline Safety Trust’s executive director to be honored at White House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, October 13, the White House, in conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation, will recognize 11 individuals from across the country as “White House Transportation Champions of Change.” These individuals, who were selected by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the White House for their achievements, will be honored for exemplary leadership and innovation in transportation.

Exxon gets fine, harsh criticism for negligence in Pegasus pipeline spill. By David Hassemeyer, InsideClimate News (Oct 2, 2015). “Rebecca Craven, program director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog organization based in Bellingham, Wash, said she hopes Exxon will embrace PHMSA’s directive to become better safety stewards. ‘It’s pretty clear from the findings there were decisions made by the operator in assessing risks to their pipeline that were not sufficient,’ she said. ‘You have to make sure the operator has appropriate internal management controls to identify risks and then make sure they are accountable.'”

Feds want tougher rules for oil pipelines after series of spills reveals gaps in oversight. By Matthew Brown, AP (Oct 1, 2015). “Despite its broad sweep, the federal proposal was characterized as an incremental step forward by the head of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a Bellingham, Washington-based advocacy group. ‘There’s some good stuff in there,’ trust executive director Carl Weimer said. ‘But we’re disappointed that it took five years and we don’t’ think it’s as significant as (federal officials) tried to portray it.'”

As US rushes to build gas lines, failure rate of new pipes has spiked. By Sarah Smith, SNL (Sept 9, 2015). “According to a Pipeline Safety Trust analysis of federal data, new pipelines are failing at a rate on par with gas transmission lines installed before the 1940s. ‘I think new models of anything — a new model of a car, a new computer, whatever — have problems when they’re first put in. You have to get the kinks out. That’s probably part of the explanation, but there’s also some suggestions that we’re trying to put so many new miles of pipeline in the ground so fast that people aren’t doing construction … the way they ought to,’ Carl Weimer, director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, told attendees at a National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives annual meeting in Tempe, Ariz.”

We’re still waiting for confirmation on the health of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. By Mark Brush, Michigan Radio (Sept 2, 2015). Carl Weimer, with the watchdog group the National Pipeline Safety Trust, says their group has seen pipelines that have been operated and maintained so well they look like new pipelines. ‘And on the other hand we’ve seen new pipelines that look like they’re 80 years old, or are in bad shape, so it really depends on how the company has been operating and maintaining it,’ he said. ‘And that’s a really hard thing to find out.'”

Enbridge: Trust us to be safe. By Ted Roelofs, Bridge Magazine contributor (Aug 27, 2015). “Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit public charity that promotes pipeline safety, said PHMSA’s relationship with the industry can be cozy – to the point that the agency has adopted many regulations written by the oil and gas industry…. Weimer compared the regulatory relationship between PHMSA and industry to the ‘fox designing the hen house.’ Under PHMSA regulations, Enbridge is required to inspect the straits segment of its pipeline every five years. Enbridge officials point out they elected on their own to tighten that to every two years. But Weimer notes that the results of inspections, both by divers and remote cameras, and interior inspections by robotic devices known as ‘smart pigs,’ remain the property of Enbridge. ‘That data doesn’t go anywhere,’ he said.”

Group finds pipeline laws lacking. By Sehvilla Mann, WMUK-NPR (July 22, 2015). “Five years after an Enbridge Energy oil pipeline ruptured near Marshall and caused the largest inland oil spill in the US to date, the head of a group that pushes for tighter rules on pipelines says the law does not yet reflect lessons learned from that spill. ‘There really hasn’t been much change yet,’ says Carl Weimer, the executive director of the nonprofit group the Pipeline Safety Trust, based in Washington State….’It’s the perfect opportunity to have the discussion with Congress about closing some of these loopholes and tightening the regulations to make sure pipelines are as safe as possible,’ he says.”

State officials misrepresent North Dakota’s spill problem. By Emily Guerin, InsideEnergy (Feb 16, 2015). “For Carl Weimer, executive director of the watchdog non-profit Pipeline Safety Trust, being transparent on spills can benefit, not burden, regulators. ‘The more information regulators make available,’ he said, the more it will ‘really help rebuild trust in pipeline safety in places where it’s been lost.'”

Another Yellowstone River oil spill. By Cally Carswell, High Country News (Jan 22, 2015). “I called Rebecca Craven, program director at the Pipeline Safety Trust, a watchdog group formed by families whose children were killed when a gas pipeline exploded in Bellingham, Washington in 1999. When I told Craven I wanted to know more about what reforms had resulted from the 2011 pipeline safety act, she responded that it would be a very short conversation. Not much at all had changed, she said. ….’The 2011 bill really didn’t enact any new regulatory requirements,’ Craven said. ‘Things are where they were in 2011.'”

Rural gas gathering pipelines kindle concerns about safety laws. By Mike Wereschagin, TribLive (Dec 27, 2014). “‘They’re just as dangerous as the big gas transmission lines’ that feed cities’ distribution networks, said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a Washington state-based nonprofit that advocates for pipeline safety rules…. ‘What we’re starting to see in places like Pennsylvania is, yeah, they’re classified as rural pipelines, but they’re still going past rural houses,’ the Pipeline Safety Trust’s Weimer said. ‘It’s not like Philadelphia or something, but where do you draw the line?'”

The US energy infrastructure: is it safe? By Gene Lockard, Rigzone (Nov 27, 2014). “For pipeline safety to move forward, all of the involved stakeholders need to be involved. That includes the industry, the regulators, and ideally, the public and citizens, according to Carl Weimer, executive director at Pipeline Safety Trust. Three types of pipelines were examined for incidents over a period of 20 years: hazardous liquid pipelines and gas distribution pipelines trended down, while larger gas transmission lines trended upwards. However, over the last 8 years, natural gas pipelines – gas distribution pipelines and gas transmission lines – trended down, while hazardous liquid pipeline incidents trended up. Over the same time frame, new regulations were kicking in that should have made things safer, so ‘it’s curious why this hasn’t happened,’ Weimer said.”

Why pipeline critics are important. By the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (Nov 26, 2014). “‘I believe that only when citizens, industry and regulators are willing to embrace the conflicts that currently keep us apart, and discuss and deal with those conflicts in a constructive way, can true trust in pipeline safety be achieved,’ said Carl Weimer, an EAP panelist and the executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a U.S. based advocacy group formed after three people were killed in a pipeline explosion in Bellingham, Washington, in 1999.”

Oil boom, pipeline safety put Enbridge on the spot. By MN Public Radio News, Grand Forks Herald (Nov 19, 2014). “Nationwide only 43 percent of hazardous liquid pipelines are subject to inspection rules, according to the Pipeline Safety Trust, a watchdog group. While there have been some improvements the past decade, a recent increase in major incidents on hazardous liquid pipelines ‘is concerning,’ the trust said in a statement.”

Anatomy of a pipeline decision: A scheme of ‘dubious’ legalityBy Mary Douglas, The Berkshire Edge (Oct 20, 2014). “In the words of a group promoting pipeline safety, called Pipeline Safety Trust, ‘in a quick and not exhaustive check, we were unable to find a single FERC denial of an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for an interstate gas transmission line. The message is: FERC rarely denies an application.’”

What is the condition of the oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac? Answer can be hard to findBy Mark Brush, MI Public Radio (Oct 7, 2014). “Carl Weimer is with the National Pipeline Safety Trust, a pipeline watchdog group. I asked him what seems like the obvious question about this pipeline: ‘How can a 60-year-old line be in excellent condition?’ ‘We’ve see older pipelines that have been operated and maintained well that look almost like new pipelines,’ he said. ‘… and on the other hand we’ve seen new pipelines that look like they’re 80-years-old, or are in bad shape. So it really depends on how the company has been operating and maintaining it. And that’s a really hard thing to find out.'”

The explosive debate over a new natural gas pipeline in the northeast. By Katie Valentine, ClimateProgress (Sept 30, 2014). “Explosions are also a major concern. According to a briefing paper from the Pipeline Safety Trust, natural gas pipelines have fewer significant onshore incidents, such as major spills, than pipelines carrying hazardous liquids such as crude oil and jet fuel; however, they have more serious incidents — events that result in death or hospitalization — than other pipelines. ‘They’ve got less [accidents], but when they blow, they really blow,’ Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, said. ‘They have huge potential for wide-ranging explosions.’”

Look out below: danger lurks underground from aging gas pipesBy John Kelly, USA Today (Sept 24, 2014).“‘The chance of a pipeline failing in any one place is pretty small, but if you live in one of those older East Coast cities with hundreds of miles of cast-iron pipe, that’s just a failure waiting to happen,’ said Carl Weimer, the executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust….”

Top pipeline safety advocate on his 15-year ‘Bambi vs. Godzilla’ Fight. By Lisa Song, InsideClimate News (June 24, 2014). “I think what’s gotten harder is, a lot of the easy issues that a non-technical person can talk about have been dealt with. So now we’re kind of getting down in the weeds of stress corrosion cracking, safety management systems and all kinds of esoteric things that take more time to fully understand and explain to the public.” (Carl Weimer)

Pipeline company ‘slightly safer’ than most, but recent mishaps trigger probe. By Gil Smart, LancasterOnline (June 8, 2014). “‘There’s been a series of tragic accidents in the last few years,’ said Carl Weimer, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a non-profit industry watchdog. ‘people are right to be concerned’ about pipeline safety – and should make those concerns known to the company.”

Federal study to assess dangers of dilbit when it spills. By Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News (May 21, 2014). Kalamazoocleanup “‘I think it is a great thing—although I may change my mind once we see who gets appointed to the panel for the study,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog group. Including people from research organizations already studying the subject, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Spills in the Environment, and others, would bolster confidence in the study’s results, Weimer said.

Gas explosions appear inevitable, given state of pipes. By Cassandra Sweet, Wall Street Journal (May 20, 2014). “Simply patching leaky pipes doesn’t satisfy critics. ‘It’s been a recognized threat for years,’ says Carl Weimer, executive director of watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust in Bellingham, Wash. ‘We really need to speed up the replacement of these pipes.'”

Report raps federal agency for lapses in pipeline safety. By Cassandra Sweet, Wall Street Journal (May 9, 2014). “‘This report showed that the federal regulators are spread too thin to regulate the industry very well, and they’re also spread too thin to regulate the state regulators,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of safety watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust.”

Pipeline problems cost Ohio millions. By Jim Letizia, Ohio Public Radio (April 25, 2014). “Carl Weimer with the Pipeline Safety Trust has had his eye on pipelines across the country for more than a decade. ‘Sunoco seems to have almost twice as many incidents as the national average for similar liquid pipelines.'”

As Bluegrass Pipeline Gets Attention, Competing Project LoomsBy Ryan Quinn and The State Journal, weku.fm (March 2, 2014). “Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, ….  said the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration put Kinder Morgan on a rare notice for not just one incident, but for a ‘broad swath’ of its hazardous liquids transporting system in the western United States. He said he heard regulators were concerned that Kinder Morgan, a relatively new company, was acquiring old pipelines very rapidly. ‘There were some concerns whether they knew history of pipelines well enough to operate them well…’  Weimer said studies are needed to determine whether pipelines originally meant to transport gas can safely transport liquids, which have more weight and pressure and can place more fatigue to pipelines.”

Broken Trust: Victims of pipeline spills tell their stories. By Julie Dermansky, Desmog blog (Dec 17, 2013). “Carl Weimer, of the Pipeline Safety Trust, said ‘We continue to invite the affected public to our conference to tell their stories, because often their stories represent the disconnect between the fine words and intentions of industry executives and regulators and the reality of what happens on the ground in communities across the country.’”

Is Bakken oil safe enough for the GTA? By Jessica McDiarmid, Toronto Star (Dec 14, 2013). “’Regulators don’t treat crude oil from the Bakken any different than they treat crude oil from the tar sands or from Oklahoma,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Washington-based Pipeline Safety Trust. ‘No one’s ever really looked at whether different types affect pipelines different. It seems like it should be a concern, we just really haven’t heard about it that much.’”

Safety history of Bluegrass Pipeline companies at issue in Kentucky debate. By Marcus Green, WDRB (Dec 3, 2013). “The records of the Bluegrass Pipeline companies in recent years are comparable to their competitors in the pipeline industry, according to an analysis of 21 gas pipeline operators by the Pipeline Safety Trust, a Bellingham, Wash., group that advocates for pipeline safety. “

US pipeline conversions, gas flow reversals raise safety concerns. By Stephanie Seay, Platts (Nov 22, 2013). “‘We’re in the era of multi-billion-dollar projects,’ Richard Kuprewicz, president of pipeline safety consultant Accufacts, told this week’s Pipeline Safety Trust annual meeting [sic] in New Orleans.”

Federal regulators fine ExxonMobile for Arkansas oil leak. By Neela Banerjee, LA Times (Nov 12, 2013). “The kind of pipe ExxonMobil used for Pegasus was known for years to have serious problems, Weimer said. ‘Exxon did not recognize the risk or prioritize their testing program correctly to protect people or the environment.’”

North Dakota: North Dakota oil spill spotlights Obama delay on rules. By Mark Drajem and Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg Businessweek (Oct 29, 2013). “It’s outrageous,” Rick Kessler, president of the Pipeline Safety Trust and a Washington lobbyist, said in an interview. “This is glacial. It’s incredibly frustrating, and there never is a straight answer about where the bottleneck is.”

Canada: Pipeline safety incident rate doubled in past decade. By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News (Oct 28,2013). “Carl Weimer, executive director of U.S. advocacy group Pipeline Safety Trust, says each small leak may not be significant on its own, but taken together they provide a better picture when looking at safety trends. ‘It shows how carefully they are taking care of the pipelines,’ said Weimer.”

North Dakota: Oil spill in North Dakota raises detection concerns. By Dan Frosch, New York Times (Oct 23, 2013). “Even though people have been calling for better leak detection, it is usually a landowner who finds the spills,” Mr. Weimer said. “It runs counter to what the industry tells us, that they can detect and shut off these spills in a minutes, when they actually go on for days.”

Bradford, PA Gas Lines

Boom in unregulated natural gas pipelines posing new risks. By Naveena Sadasivam, Inside Climate News (Sept 26, 2013). “Of the nation’s 240,000 miles of gathering lines, only about 10 percent are regulated. When leaks or accidents occur on the remaining 90 percent, operators aren’t required to notify regulators. In most cases, state and federal officials don’t even know where these lines are located. ‘Since they’re unregulated, no one has to report them to anybody,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Pipeline Safety Trust.”

Lawsuits against Exxon Mobile mount over big oil pipeline spillsBy James Osborne, Dallas Morning News (Sept 14, 2013). “The federal government sets basic standards on pipeline safety but the question of how best to inspect and maintain the lines is largely left to the industry, Weimer said.”

Decades of Ruptures from Defect Show Perils of Old Pipe. By Mike Lee, Bloomberg (Sept 2, 2013). “They’re considering whether to mandate new, more expensive tests, or even force companies to dig up the pipes to look for corrosion, according to Weimer. ‘I think that’s the noose that’s tightening,’ Weimer said in an interview from Bellingham, Washington.”

Michigan: Will Enbridge Energy’s new pipeline in Michigan be safer? By Mark Brush, Michigan Public Radio (Aug 27, 2013). “Weimer said. ‘So how [do] the federal and state regulators get enough information that they can know whether the companies are making the right decisions or making decisions based on the bottom line?’”

Nebraska: Pipeline training draws 50. By Steve Moseley, York News Times (Aug 24, 2013). “’The state of Nebraska is behind,’ Weimer said, in pipeline regulations. That is why the local governing bodies must diligently look into all of the options open to them to provide for the safety of their citizens, property and resources.”

Arkansas: Burst pipeline’s spill plan is none of your business, suggests regulator. By Naveena Sadasivam, Inside Climate News (Aug 20, 2013). “Rebecca Craven, program director for the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust, has put in a FOIA request for about 40 response plans for pipelines in Michigan and Washington. She said most of the documents she has received so far have been heavily redacted.”

Beyond Keystone XL: Three controversial pipelines you probably haven’t heard of. By Kiley Kroh, Climate Progress (Aug 16, 2013). “’Converting pipelines makes [approval] easier and riskier, too,’ explains Weimer. ‘Keystone is brand new, state of the art pipeline with its own set of problems. Enbridge on the other hand, is converting other pipelines that have already been in the ground for years — putting in new types of crude or switching natural gas to liquid on pipelines that aren’t built to today’s standards. Those old pipes being re-purposed certainly presents a new risk.’”

Midwest: Ameren Illinois plans to spend millions to upgrade underground gas pipes. By Matt Sczesny, KMOV (August 13, 2013) [Video with Executive Director, Carl Weimer]

US: Exxon Knew Its Ruptured Pipeline Was Old, Defective and Brittle, and Still Added New Stresses. By Elizabeth Douglas, InsideClimate News (August 12, 2013). “About a third of the nation’s hazardous liquids pipelines are prone to the types of cracks found on Pegasus, according to Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. They were built from pipe made with low-frequency electric resistance welds, a process that was widely used by steel mills before 1970.”

US Midwest to Gulf Coast: Enbridge’s Eastern Gulf Crude Access Pipeline – A little-known pipeline could win the race to ship heavy Canadian crude oil from the Midwest to the U.S. Gulf Coast if it comes online as planned in 2015By Lisa Song, Inside Climate News (August 5, 2013)

Effects of Dilbit on Pipelines: Scientists Find Canadian Oil Safe for Pipelines, but Critics Say Questions Remain. By Dan Frosch, New York Times (June 25, 2013). “Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a watchdog group, said the pipeline agency still needed to take a careful look at existing regulations to determine whether they would adequately protect communities if a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen, known as dilbit, suffered a failure.”

Texas-to-Alberta: Keystone XL Pipe Shuns Infrared Sensors to Detect Leaks. By Rebecca Penty & Mike Lee, Bloomberg (June 18, 2013). “’There are lots of things engineering-wise that are possible, that the industry doesn’t do,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of Pipeline Safety Trust….”

Utah: Heat’s on to ensure safety of Utah pipelines and Pipeline crackdown (May 2013)

Florida: Natural Gas rate hike tied to old pipe replacement

British Columbia: B.C. points to Norway for pipeline safety – “without a rigorous monitoring system, the safety measures will be inconsequential”

Washington DC: Battle rages over pipeline rules that can cost a bundle to read

Washington DC: NTSB report on Enbridge spill could impact future pipeline projects

Michigan: $3.7 million in proposed federal penalties against Enbridge Energy for Kalamazoo River oil spill highlight possible holes in regulations, pipeline safety advocates say

WV: West Virginia Online Pipeline Safety Information Ranks Low

PA: Casey wants more Pipeline Information Made Public

Council of State Governments: Trends in Pipeline Safety and State Damage Prevention Programs