Category Archives: Safety

AGL report to PHMSA about Homerville, GA explosion, 2019-09-17

AGL’s report to PHMSA was so lacking that PHMSA added this comment box:

Please confirm these
injuries involved in-patient
overnight hospitalization.

Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) did mention hospitalization in its narrative on the last page, but even there did not use the terms “in-patient” or “overnight”, much less “third-degree burns” or “airlifted to the burn unit at Shands in Gainseville, Florida”.

[Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.]
Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.

But PHMSA’s comment is mild compared to GA-PSC staff’s more than $2 mllion recommended fine for “failure to properly investigate the damage which led to this explosion”. See previous WWALS blog post for that and other GA-PSC staff comments on this AGL Incident Report – Gas Distribution System to the U.S Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Agency (PHMSA), including:

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AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading

Four months later, GA-PSC still investigating AGL pipeline Homervile explosion 2018-12-11

Two more months have passed, so I called Bill Edge to ask about progress on the GA-PSC’s investigation of the August 17, 2018, Homerville coffeeshop explosion resulting from AGL pipeline gas. Answer: still investigating, because so many parties are involved, and everyone has attorneys and disclosures to negotiate. He is quite aware many people would like to see a report.

I thanked him sincerely for his organization following up on this incident. He said it was their statutory duty. I said keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, here’s an example of the type of thing to expect:

Alleged Violation and Voluntary Contribution, Settlement Agreement

Whereas, AGL enters into this Settlement Agreement without admitting Continue reading

WWALS to FERC: Sabal Trail Leak, Dunnellon, LNG export, safety 2018-12-19

Despite Bernard McNamee’s statement early in the meeting that his agenda was to listen, FERC didn’t seem to want to hear me mention Sabal Trail’s leaks or their lack of LNG oversight yesterday. More on that later. Meanwhile, here is the letter I sent FERC Wednesday 19 December 2018 via PDF as FERC Accession Number 201812195184, Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29, Supplemental Information / Request of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. under CP15-17, et. al.

Hildreth and Dunnellon leaks, Letter

 December 19, 2018

To: Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Commissioners

Cheryl A. LaFleur, Richard Glick, Kevin J. McIntyre, and Bernard L. McNamee

Cc: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street NE, Room 1A

Washington, DC 20426

Via email and e-filing

Re: Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

FERC Commissioners and Secretary,

Sabal Trail already leaked, despite years of safety assurances by Sabal Trail and FERC.

We only know about this leak at Continue reading

Pipeline Safety investigation of Homerville Explosion by GA-PSC 2018-11-05

What happened since the August 17th Homerville, GA coffee shop explosion resulting from a leak from an AGL natural gas pipeline, reported as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia? The three women airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida got skin grafts and are recovering, according to occasional updates by one of them on facebook. Let’s all be thankful for their continued recovery.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is investigating the explosion, which may be a good thing, considering this is what the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) knows about that AGL pipeline in Clinch County:

Map, Clinch County, Georgia, NPMS
PHMSA NPMS Public Viewer, Clinch County, Georgia, accessed 2018-11-05.

That’s right: PHMSA still doesn’t even show that pipeline exists, there’s no incident displayed, and apparently PHMSA’s map viewer no longer can even talk to google maps correctly.

Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, 29 August 2018, PSC probing Homerville explosion, Continue reading

Facebook group: Dangerous Liquified Natural Gas trains and trucks

For discussion and getting the word out, there’s a new facebook group, Dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas on Trains/Trucks.

In a March 3, 2016, letter, the Federal Railroad Administration warned Florida East Coast Railway of the danger of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas on the same tracks as high-speed passenger rail. What could go wrong? Do the math…. If an LNG container is breached, accidentally or intentionally, the liquid begins to warm, resulting in a Flammable Vapor-Cloud that can be blown around by the wind, igniting everything in its path. In Fernley, Nevada, the Flammable Vapor-Cloud fire from a tanker truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of LNG appeared to have been caused by static electricity. Flames shot 40 feet into the air and fire officials evacuated the area. The fire burned for a couple of days, before eventually burning itself out.

Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14
Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14

As that facebook group says, if you want to help stop fires like that from happening in Florida or Georgia, you can contribute to the WWALS legal fund for the pending case against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its inland LNG oversight duty.

Thanks to Continue reading

Sabal Trail leaked odorless gas, Suwannee County, FL 2018-09-29

Sabal Trail didn’t tell the state of Florida until a week later that it had leaked odorless gas from its Hildreth Compressor Station site in Suwannee County, Florida. And 10,405.5 pounds of Volatile Organic Compounds. What were those possibly hazardous substances, Sabal Trail?

Stt-leak,

Apparently they weren’t prepared for lightning. Where’s your vaunted cathodic ionization now, Sabal Trail? You and all the other pipeline companies claim that will detect leaks.

Hildreth Compressor Station Natural Gas Release Incident

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Bradford BOCC 2018-09-04

All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.

The actual decision was much better than expected. While some Commissioners wanted to hold Continue reading

Spectra responds in pipeline certificate rulemaking 2018-08-24

As we’ve seen so often in the Sabal Trail docket, Spectra seems to be acting in place of FERC, responding yesterday to thousands of comments on FERC’s certificate rulemaking.

Spectra’s bottom line: a pipeline company’s bottom line matters more than the Fifth Amendment due process, or water, air, or safety. See page 25:

Contrary to some commenters’ arguments, the Commission’s public interest determinations are not rendered insufficient under the Fifth Amendment public use requirement because the Commission considers precedent agreements among applicants and affiliates to be evidence of public benefits.

Spectra repeatedly argues that FERC does not have authority to consider hardly anything other than whether the pipeline company has customers, yet FERC has authority to give eminent domain to private corporations and to let them gouge through our lands and under our rivers without local agreement or payment first.

Page 9: Tolling Orders, Pages

In this election year, you can ask every candidate for statehouse or Congress whether they support Continue reading