The Trust in the News

2018

  • Fragile Pipelines Pose an Increasing Risk in Gas-Hungry U.S. by Naureen Malik, Bloomberg (Oct 13, 2018) “Aging infrastructure is clearly an issue in the U.S., especially on the East Coast where they have a lot of old cast iron pipes that are well known to fail,” said Carl Weimer, the executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust in Bellingham, Washington.
  • Gas Infrastructure in Mass: A recipe for Disaster? by Kay Lazar and John Chesto, Boston Globe (Sept 22, 2018) The gas lines that wend throughout the state, beneath city streets, and into people’s homes are overseen by a patchwork of bureaucracies and a regulatory system that largely trusts utility companies to police themselves. Though such calamities are rare, safety experts and local leaders say the gas industry needs more rigorous, transparent oversight to avoid more disasters….Weimer, of the Pipeline Safety Trust, said gas companies have too much “wiggle room” to develop plans for mitigating risks in their own systems. “There are all these standards written by the industry that are then incorporated in the regulations, and that’s a real problem,” Weimer said. “It’s a rush to the bottom of what the industry will agree to.”
  • Now split in 3, long-delayed pipeline safety rule must navigate new challenges by Sarah Smith, SPGlobal (April 10, 2018) “”Clearly, this could be a double-edged sword, though, since we worry that rule one will get approved, and then there is less reason to continue to push the other two for approval,” Weimer said. “Time will tell whether this is just an smart, efficient way to get the agreed-upon pieces of the rule out in a more timely manner or a way to make the thorny pieces, such as gathering lines, just disappear.”
  • Stretch of pipeline to be replaced after Orion blast By Mike Martindale, The Detroit News (Jan 15, 2018) “From the little they said about corrective actions, it would appear they are trying to learn from this incident and correct weaknesses in their operations,” Weimer said. “It’s just too bad that it always seems to take an incident for a company to do things that are already required under risk management. Unfortunately, the regulations are so ‘flexible’ that (it is) very hard to know what is actually required, or enforce.”

2017

  • Michigan’s aging gas pipelines raise safety concerns By Mike Martindale, The Detroit News (Dec 14, 2017) “Weimer said pipeline operators have a duty to ‘continuously evaluate the risk of their pipelines and then maintain the pipeline in ways that mitigate that risk. Older pipelines have heightened risks for time-dependent issues such as corrosion, and also because they were installed before better materials and technologies were in place for things such as the latest high-carbon steel pipe, epoxy coatings and high-tech inline inspections, etc.,’ he said.”
  • U.S. regulator raises concerns about weights on energy pipelines By Nia Williams and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters (Dec 3, 2017) “U.S. regulators do not have specific information on the types of weights or their locations because pipeline companies are not required to submit data, said Carl Weimer, executive director of the non-profit Pipeline Safety Trust.”
  • With big spill to clean, pipeline owner seeks Keystone XL approval By Mitch Smith, The New York Times (Nov 17, 2017) “’They’re certainly not the worst, they’re certainly not the best,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, an industry watchdog group. The concern, Mr. Weimer said, is that the ‘pipeline is not very old.’”
  • “The fireball was above the trees”: Could the 1999 Bellingham pipeline explosion happen again? By Gabriel Spitzer & Shane Mehling, KNKX (Sep 30, 2017) “On June 10, 1999, Bellingham residents began reporting the strong smell of gasoline. Then, within minutes, 911 operators were flooded with reports of a massive explosion.  A fuel pipeline had burst, dumping nearly 300,000 gallons of gasoline into nearby creeks.”
  • Court lets Exxon off hook for pipeline spill in Arkansas Neighborhood By Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News (Aug 16, 2017) “‘The fact that it had been leaking and that it was ERW pipe should have been enough to clue Exxon in that it was susceptible to a higher risk of seam failure,’ said Rebecca Craven, program director for the Pipeline Safety Trust. ‘They have an obligation to prevent damage to high-consequence areas—period. So that argument that you can have a failure without a violation of the rules doesn’t track.'”
  • After two spills, Shell Oil to replace miles of problem pipeline By Ted Goldberg, KQED News (Aug 7, 2017) “The heavy crude the San Pablo Pipeline was transporting when it ruptured is similar to the tar sands oil the Keystone Pipeline is expected to transport, Weimer noted. That thickness could cause “cyclic fatigue” on other lines throughout California, he said, so the state should require all oil pipeline operators to conduct the hydrotesting. ‘Smart pigs just aren’t smart enough on some of these flaws,’ Weimer said.”
  • Bastrop oil spill stirs Austin’s angst over Longhorn Pipeline By Jeremy Schwartz, Andy Sevilla and Christian McDonald, Austin American-Statesman (Aug 5, 2017) “Weimer said that while spills caused by third parties — like a farmer or construction crew working near a pipeline — are fairly common, it’s more unusual for a company’s own contractor to cause an accident, as happened in Bastrop. ‘It certainly shines a light that the company, and contractors need to pay close attention to their safety management,’ Weimer said.”
  • Pipeline watchdog By Tyler Kendig, The Planet Magazine (Jun 7, 2017) “As residents struggled to make sense of the tragedy, Olympic Pipe Line Company was scrambling to install a new pipe and resume service to Seattle Tacoma Airport. ‘They were going to do it real quick, before they even had a clue why the pipeline had failed, and that didn’t make much sense to people,’ Weimer said.”
  • Dakota pipeline is ready for oil, without spill response plan for Standing Rock By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News (May 10, 2017) “‘The thing that is frustrating to me is the redactions are the things that make you able to figure out whether the plan is adequate or not,’ said Rebecca Craven, program director for the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust.”
  • Spills on aging Enbridge pipeline have topped 1 million gallons, report says By Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News (Apr 26, 2017) “Weimer took heart in one aspect of the data, though. ‘It appears the size of the spills has decreased dramatically since the late ’60s, early ’70s,’ he said. ‘That is what we would hope to see as basic regulations, more inspection requirements, and better materials and technology are employed.'”
  • Underwater pipeline has been leaking gas into a beluga whale habitat for 3 months By Katie Valentine, ThinkProgress (Apr 13, 2017) “‘But underwater pipelines aren’t inherently more prone to leaking than above-ground pipelines,’ according to Rebecca Craven, program director at Pipeline Safety Trust. ‘The risks are different between a leak in Cook Inlet and a leak in downtown Anchorage,’ she said, ‘and the consequences of a failure are also different.'”
  • Opinion: Hilcorp’s Cook Inlet leaks underscore Arctic risks By Lois Epstein, Anchorage Daily News (Apr 8, 2017) “Hilcorp’s oil release from an underwater pipeline in Cook Inlet this month, combined with its natural gas pipeline leak that has been flowing nonstop since December and its third pipeline problem at a different offshore platform, illustrates the dangers of offshore drilling in icy waters and the failure of Alaska and federal regulators to assess competency before issuing leases and permits to oil and gas operators.” -Lois Epstein, PST Board President
  • Gas pipeline across Central Florida brings cheap energy and protests By Beth Kassab and Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel (Apr 7, 2017) “’The chance of the pipeline failing in any one spot is really, really low,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit created in the wake of a deadly pipeline failure in Washington in 1999 that now advocates for ways to increase pipeline safety. ‘If it were to happen in the wrong spot, it can be a really huge tragedy like we’ve seen in a few places around the country.’”
  • Industry fears overreach from gas pipeline safety advisory By Sylvia Carignan, BNA Environment & Energy Report (Mar 26, 2017) “Rebecca Craven, program director at the Pipeline Safety Trust, a safety advocacy group in Washington state, said this advisory isn’t unusual, and may be an effective way to get safety recommendations to pipeline operators.”
  • Another Cook Inlet pipeline feared to be vulnerable, as gas continues to leak By Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News (Mar 21, 2017) “Rebecca Craven, program director for the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust, said it’s not surprising that PHMSA issued this notice. Once the agency starts investigating a problem, like the leak on Pipeline A, it may become concerned about other infrastructure facing similar risks.”
  • Carl Weimer on Pipeline Safety in America Corporate Crime Report (Mar 18, 2017) “There are still way too many failures. We agree with the industry and regulators that the ultimate goal is getting to zero incidents. There are two a day occurring — something like 685 last year. All of those are not major failures. Some are minor. But a minor failure can become a tragedy fairly rapidly.” -Carl Weimer, PST Executive Director
  • Salem pipeline explosion could lead to renewed look at risks By Debra Erdley, TribLive (Feb 25, 2017) “Carl Weimer, executive director of the national Pipeline Safety Trust, commended that move but said the industry needs to get a better handle on risk. ‘We agree with Spectra Energy that such pipelines often need more frequent in-line inspections, but why did it take a major failure for them to recognize this when the federal regulations clearly state they are supposed to identify risks and mitigate them before a failure?’ said Weimer.”
  • Unplugged natural gas leak threatens Alaska’s endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whales By Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News (Feb 24, 2017) “It’s a fairly decent sized ongoing leak of methane, especially when it’s unclear when they’ll actually get it shut down,” said Carl Weimer, the executive director of the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust. “Lots of methane going in the air is a concern as well as how it might be messing with the habitat.”
  • Human error increasingly a factor in pipeline leaks: data By Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press (Jan 29, 2017) “Pipelines installed in the U.S. in the past five years have the highest rate of failure of any built since the 1920s, and human error is partially to blame, said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Washington-based Pipeline Safety Trust. ‘A lot of new pipelines being put in the ground just aren’t being installed right, or things don’t get tightened up quite enough, so within the first year or two things fail,’ said Weimer.”
  • Wisconsin tribe votes to evict oil pipeline from its reservation By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News (Jan 16, 2017) “‘The Olympic Pipeline folks came to an agreement with the city that added in a whole lot more safety than what the federal government would have required, including different types of valves and different types of inspections,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust.”

2016

  • Obama oil pipeline rules face uncertain future under Trump By James MacPherson and Matthew Brown, The Associated Press (Dec 22, 2016) “Further revisions sought by the petroleum industry could make the rule largely ineffective, said Carl Weimer with the Pipeline Safety Trust. ‘We already viewed it as an incremental step. If they water it down at all or extend the timelines, it’s going to be an even smaller step,’ he said.”
  • Your most pressing Dakota Access Pipeline questions, answered By Jordan Wirfs-Brock & Leigh Paterson, InsideEnergy (Dec 5, 2016) “Assessing risk isn’t black and white. Carl Weimer, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, summed it up: ‘Everyone has to judge risk on their own. We try not to tell people whether a pipeline is safe or not because safe to one person might be unsafe to another.'”
  • ONG won’t release locations of potentially problem pipeline By Matt Patterson, NewOK (Nov 27, 2016) “Meanwhile, the corporation commission also fared poorly in a survey of pipeline safety agency websites conducted by the Pipeline Safety Trust. The commission scored a ‘0′ in areas like making inspection records available to the public, incident data, enforcement data and excavation damage data. Conversely, Arkansas earned a ‘3′ across the board, the highest score a state can receive. Texas also scored higher than Oklahoma.”
  • Protesters say pipelines are dangerous. Are they? By Leigh Paterson & Jordan Wirfs-Brock, KUNC (Nov 21, 2016) “’There have been some safety improvements that have reduced the number of fatalities and injuries but, overall, the trend line has started to go back the wrong direction,’ said Carl Weimer, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust.”
  • How often do pipelines blow up? By CNNWire, Fox8 News (Nov 1, 2016) “There have been 135 excavation accidents involving pipelines carrying hazardous liquids, such as gasoline or crude oil, over the last 10 years, according to Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, an industry watchdog group. That’s roughly one a month. But there has only been one fatality from such an accident in the last ten years, when a Georgia man was killed when a pipeline carrying liquid propane ruptured in 2010. ‘Fatalities are fortunately pretty rare,’ said Weimer. ‘But things do go terribly wrong sometimes.’”
  • 220 ‘Significant’ pipeline spills already this year exposes troubling safety record By Dan Zukowski, EcoWatch (Oct 25, 2016) “In testimony before a House subcommittee earlier this year, Carl Weimer, executive director of the watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust, said, ‘Under the current statutes there is no requirement that a pipeline company obtain any permit or permission to operate a pipeline in this country.’ Weimer called on Congress to require PHMSA to issue permits for interstate transmission pipelines and ensure that the company follow all rules and regulations.”
  • Public offers suggestions on spending $12M Yellowstone oil spill settlement By Brett French, Billings Gazette (Oct 12, 2016) “’First of all, I’m disappointed by the amount,’ [Alexis] Bonogofsky testified at the meeting. ‘Exxon was making $5 million every hour in 2011.’”
  • Activists disrupt key Canada-U.S. oil pipelines By Nia Williams, Reuters (Oct 11, 2016) “Carl Weimer, executive director at the industry watchdog Pipeline Safety Trust, said the action was a ‘dangerous stunt’. ‘Closing valves on major pipelines can have unexpected consequences endangering people and the environment. We do not support this type of action,’ he said.”
  • Critics question state pipeline oversight after 2 Altamont oil spills By Ted GoldbergKQED News (Oct 10, 2016) “’The California fire marshal used to be considered one of the better state regulators in the country, and then they went through some funding issues,’ says Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a Bellingham, Washington-based nonprofit. ‘They actually backed away from a lot of their regulatory authority,’ Weimer says.”
  • Tougher pipeline safety rules could be a tough sell By Reid Frazier, Michigan Radio (Aug 23, 2016) “Rebecca Craven of the watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust says the current building boom puts more of the population at risk. ‘There are situations where new pipelines are going through and even with the ability to move away from a house or a group of houses they are choosing to run a straight line and go close to those houses simply because it’s cheaper.'”
  • Enbridge’s Kalamazoo spill saga ends in $177 Million Settlement By David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News (Jul 20, 2016) “‘No fine, no matter how large, is going to be sufficient to compensate the people of the Marshall region who had their lives turned upside down, houses ruined and personal and environmental health affected,’ said Rebecca Craven, program director Pipeline Safety Trust.”
  • I was sick for year after an oil spill. Five years later, pipeline accidents are worsening By Alexis Bonogofsky, Truth-Out.org (Jul 10, 2016) “As I walk through my farm and see the weeds, the dead soil and oil lines left on the old cottonwood trees, I think about the large part of my life that I’ve spent dealing with an oil spill that I wouldn’t have had to deal with if the Exxon Pipeline Company had been forced to follow the regulations already in place. I think about my lungs and I wonder what damage was done that I might experience when I’m older.” -Alexis Bonogofsky, PST Board Member
  • Opinion: Five years later, thoughts on an oil spill By Alexis Bonogofsky, Last Best News (Jul 3, 2016) “I made one trip to the hospital with acute hydrocarbon exposure, along with many other people who live along the river and, for one year after the spill, it hurt my lungs to take a deep breath. We are on year five and countless hours of trying to rebuild our soil and restore our pastures back to their original condition” -Alexis Bonogofsky, PST Board Member
  • Congress strengthens Great Lakes oil pipeline oversight By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue (Jun 22, 2016) “The influence of Line 5, which spans the narrow channel between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, is evident in the bill. Three provisions are directly targeted at the 63-year-old oil conduit, according to Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust”
  • Pipeline safety bill’s reauthorization will give regulators tools By Debra Erdley, TribLive (June 14, 2016) “Safety advocates said one of the provisions of the so-called PIPES Act of 2016 could come into play at the completion of the investigation of the Texas Eastern natural gas pipeline explosion in Salem Township. ‘Now PHMSA can issue an emergency order to make the entire industry make improvements without going through years of struggle,’ said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust.”
  • Salem residents wonder why gas lines don’t have automatic shutoffs By Paul Peirce TribLive (May 12, 2016) “Carl Weimer of the Pipeline Safety Trust is disappointed that PHMSA did not include a requirement for automatic shutoff valves or remote shutoff valves in the new regulations. ‘There is an argument whether an automatic shutoff valve or a remote control shutoff valve controlled by a company employee in a control room somewhere would be better, but either one would certainly better than having someone have to drive to a site to manually shut off a valve,’ he said.”
  • Explosion stokes worries about pipeline safety in Pennsylvania By Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front (May 6, 2016) “Over the past decade, PHMSA has compiled data on more than 300 serious incidents involving pipelines, resulting in 132 deaths. And these accidents can often take place close to where people live. In fact, Rebecca Craven of the watchdog group Pipeline Safety Trust says there’s no minimal setback for pipelines from homes and buildings established by the federal government. ‘There are situations where, even with the ability to move away from a house or a group of houses, they are choosing to run a straight line and go close to those houses simply because it’s cheaper,’ she says.”
  • Gas pipeline explosions bring new US safety proposal By Matthew Brown, The Associated Press (Mar 17, 2016) “But Carl Weimer with the Bellingham, Washington-based Pipeline Safety Trust said no requirement for automatic shut-off valves was a glaring shortcoming. ‘We saw in San Bruno, when someone has to jump in a truck and drive through rush-hour traffic to manually shut off a valve, how much longer that left that blowtorch to blow into that neighborhood,’ he said.”
  • U.S. Pipeline Regulator Pressed to Regulate Underground Gas Storage By Lisa Song, InsideClimate News (Feb 26, 2016) “Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a watchdog group, told the subcommittee there is inadequate research on the long-term health impacts of pipeline accidents.”
  • 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.’”

2015

  • 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.'”

2014

  • 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).  “‘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.”

2013

  • 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.”
  • 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)

2012 & Earlier