Democratic leaders urge DOT to investigate Colonial Pipeline after explosion

Published on November 04, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

House Democratic leaders recently urged Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to investigate Colonial Pipeline Co. after an explosion occurred at one of the company’s pipelines in Alabama.

Colonial Pipeline said a crew working on the company’s gasoline pipeline in Shelby County on Oct. 31 hit the pipeline with a trackhoe it was operating, causing a fire that left one contractor dead and five others injured.

It was the third major incident at a Colonial facility in just over a year and at least the seventh incident in the last five years, according to Congressional leaders.

“This is an unacceptable situation, and we are concerned that the number, frequency and severity of significant incidents on Colonial’s system over the past five years could be symptomatic of severe underlying problems with the system and the company’s management of that system,” the members wrote.

“Therefore, we urge you to immediately undertake a full and thorough investigation of the safety of the Colonial system, including Colonial’s management, as well as the robustness of its maintenance and integrity oversight activities for the pipelines in the system over the past five years.”

The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).

The members also requested a briefing from the Department of Transportation on the safety of Colonial’s pipeline system as soon as possible.