Thursday, September 16, 2010
States Wait to Act on Aging Gas Lines....Some 120 Years Old
Officials from Massachusetts to Texas say their inspections are adequate, and they are waiting for federal investigators to determine the cause of the Sept. 9 gas line explosion that killed four in San Bruno, Calif., before deciding what to do. Consumer advocates and plaintiffs' lawyers say the response fits a familiar pattern: Utilities and customers won't pay the millions of dollars needed to replace corroded pipes, the lines fail and regulators act only after a disaster.
Massachusetts is ahead of most states, in part because it reviewed its system after several natural gas explosions during the winter of 2008-09. About one third of the state's 21,000 miles of distribution lines are cast iron or bare steel. The cast iron pipes were laid from the late 1800s to the 1940s and the bare steel between the 1930s to the 1960s. Other states, however, are not acting as swiftly.....Read the entire article.
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