This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
The inferno that engulfed a neighborhood last week in San Bruno, Calif., is the kind of scenario that pipeline safety advocates fear most. They know that pipelines similar to the one that ruptured and killed at least four people, injured 50 and destroyed more than 50 homes underlie many urban areas – and that laws regulating their safety aren’t as strong as they need to be.
In fact, the pipeline industry wants them to be even weaker. Federal legislation passed in 2005 now requires pipeline inspection every seven years; the industry wants that relaxed to 15 years.
While there might be room for changing the law in unpopulated or lightly populated areas – that seven-year requirement was an arbitrary one and is not being widely observed – even tougher rules would make sense for the most densely populated areas with older pipes. Read more »