Things look a little bit different at the Pipeline Safety Trust (PST) this week. Today marks the first time in 12 years that Rebecca Craven has not spent her workday scrutinizing pipeline regulations, scanning legal documents, or commenting on proposed rulemakings, recommended practices, and petitions on behalf of the PST. Rebecca has made her way into retirement and we wanted to take a moment to not only congratulate her but to remember the hard work she has put in over the past decade.
While Rebecca will be the first to point out that wins tend to be very small in the sphere of pipeline safety, there have been some noticeable improvements and a few significant victories since she started in 2011.
“Looking back, I would now say that public engagement and access to information are better than they were before,” Rebecca says. “However, in terms of bottom-line actual safety improvements, progress seems incremental. Moving forward we need more engagement on these sorts of issues.”
For example, Rebecca says she is looking forward to seeing (from the sidelines of course) how the new operator’s public engagement recommended practice is implemented, and to see if it actually establishes a step change in how operators treat the public.
As for advice to current PST staff, Rebecca says to remember that it’s a long game and one that grinds along. She says it’s important to know that incremental progress that’s made is still vastly important.
“Sometimes wins are a manifest in things not getting worse,” Rebecca says. “Reauthorization is a huge commitment on the part of a small organization like the Trust,” she says. “Our presence makes a difference in how these bills end up getting released. We have had some visible and invisible wins. We’ve been able to make small improvements and keep bad things from happening.”
Rebecca cites the methane provisions in the last reauthorization bill as a huge win for PST and also points out PST was not alone in championing them. A bunch of people and organizations came together and worked really hard on getting those provisions in the bill. The methane provisions in the PIPES Act of 2020 mark the first time that pipeline operators have to pay attention to how much they are emitting. Both for safety and climate, it’s a significant change.
We want to take a moment again to thank Rebecca for all that she has done on behalf of pipeline safety. Rebecca has worked diligently during her time with the Pipeline Safety Trust and has made our communities safer. We wish her the best of luck as she looks forward to traveling in her van and spending more time with her family. Driving up to Alaska in the van should be a rewarding experience, no doubt.
Thanks again, Rebecca!