Tuesday, July 14, 2015

US agency faulted for inaction after California oil spill

From:  WPXI

By KEVIN FREKING and MICHAEL R. BLOOD
The Associated Press

FILE - In this May 21, 2015 file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif. The nation's top pipeline regulator is lagging in meeting congressional requirements imposed several years ago but it is planning to increase staff for safety inspections, its interim director says. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has been facing new questions about its effectiveness after a May 19 break near Santa Barbara created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

WASHINGTON — 
The federal agency that oversees the safety of the nation's pipelines failed to follow through on congressional reforms that could have made a difference in a May break that created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years, a House committee chairman said Tuesday.
In a rare display of agreement on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats on the Energy and Power Subcommittee expressed frustration with inaction by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which has yet to complete more than a dozen requirements outlined in a 2011 federal law.
Among the unfinished work is revising regulations to establish specific time periods for notification of authorities after an accident is confirmed. The new rule would require notice as quickly as possible and always within an hour.  MORE