Friday, April 06, 2007

Kinder Geyser Surprise?


(Update: For those of you arriving from the Tyee, we have a whole whack chronologically written Kinder Morgan backgrounders here, here, here, here, here and here.)

Back at the time when all of our publicly built oil and gas pipelines were sold to the American phoenix that rose from the ashes of Enron, Kinder Morgan, there were a lot of questions about the BushRanger-inspired outfit's safety record.

Which was way, way back in 2005.

And at the time Jeremy Nuttall wrote an excellent and comprehensive piece about the subject in 'The Tyee' that catalogued spills, leaks, geysers, burstings, and even explosions:

The most dramatic and deadly incident had another cause, however. Five people were killed last November (2004) in Walnut Creek, California, after an excavator ruptured a high-pressure petroleum line. Gasoline filled the pipe trench and was ignited by a welding torch.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Rick Rainey told The Tyee that the incident had nothing to do with the company’s practices. “It was a backhoe operator that ruptured our pipeline, so that had nothing to do with integrity,” he says.

However, the California Department of Industrial Relations didn’t see it exactly that way. In its 20-page report on the Walnut Creek explosion, the department said the main contributing factor was that the pipeline was not properly marked: “The primary cause of the incident was that the location of the petroleum line was not known to employees working in the area.”

But that's all ancient history, right?

Because, we're pretty sure, particularly as we de-regulate everything in a race to the bottom of the 'You're doin' a heckuva job Bobby'* world that this sort of thing is over and done with, right?

Well, perhaps not quite:

Kinder Morgan, the company that owns a petroleum pipeline that crosses Donner Summit (in California's high Sierra), is dealing with yet another fuel spill.

On April 2, a Kinder Morgan consultant contacted the Nevada County Environmental Health Department to notify that a petroleum spill had been discovered in the Caltrans right of way of Interstate 80 westbound between Kingvale and Soda Springs. The location is the site of a former Kinder Morgan spill where remediation work has been underway since August of last year.

Janet Mann, with Nevada County Environmental Health in Truckee, said Wednesday that the department did not know the amount of liquid spilled and does not have sufficient information to determine the extent to which the contaminant has spread.

The consultant told the county that workers found a containment tank — in place since last summer’s spill in the same location — was full to capacity and petroleum-contaminated liquid was overflowing onto the ground and into a drainage under the snow.

Nevada County performed a site visit and issued a cleanup notice to Kinder Morgan. It is unknown whether waterways have been impacted at this time, Mann said.

And the dateline on that piece from the 'Sierra Sun'?

Why, it was April 5th, 2007.

Which seems like just, well........


*For a monetary measure of the links between 'Bobby' Kinder and George W. Bush please follow the link and go to Item #12.
The image at the top is a Kinder Morgan Pipeline that ruptured near Tuscon in 2003. There are as of yet no confirmed reports that Kenny Boy Lay was standing-on-a-corner in nearby Winslow Arizona at the time.


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