State Can’t Get Handle On Pipelines

May 16, 2019 GMT

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators in Albany should send a thank-you note to their counterparts in Pennsylvania for making them look so wise by comparison.

It seems that every time the New York government comes under fire for banning pipelines that could carry Pennsylvania natural gas to major unserved markets in New England, a pipeline problem arises in Pennsylvania to prove New York’s case for the ban.

In the latest episode, Pennsylvania regulators have ordered the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners to restore 23 streams that it eliminated or rerouted while constructing the 40-mile Revolution gas pipeline in Beaver and other counties. Tellingly, the Department of Environmental Protection discovered that major environmental offense only because its inspectors came upon it while investigating a pipeline explosion that had leveled a house.


According to the DEP, the company also shortened another 120 streams, eliminated 17 wetlands and altered 70 others.

Wide range of citations

The DEP and assorted state and federal courts also have cited, stopped and issued fines for a host of violations regarding several other pipelines in the state, for issues ranging from sinkholes along pipeline routes to explosions.

Pipelines are by far the most efficient and economical means to transfer gas from wells to markets. But too often, so far, they also have carried danger from remote well sites to densely populated suburban and urban communities through which they pass.

State regulation should be tougher on the front end, requiring best practices in pipeline siting, design and construction as prerequisites for permits, so the regulators won’t have to be so reactive to emergencies.