Brown Urges Investigation of the Wellington Pipeline Leak

In November, Brown Also Wrote to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Following Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion in Glouster

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following a pipeline leak that led to the release of nearly 120,000 gallons of gasoline in and around Wellington, Ohio, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration—a federal agency that oversees and publicly reports on pipeline safety—asking the bureau to investigate the leak and enforce all safety procedures prior to the pipeline’s reopening.

“Ohioans deserve to know that the pipelines crisscrossing our state and nation are safe, secure, and reliable, and members of the community are understandably concerned by this gasoline leak,” Brown said. “This incident, much like a recent natural gas pipeline explosion in Glouster, Ohio, underscores the serious nature of pipeline safety and regular inspections.  That is why I’m urging the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to work with state regulators to undertake a timely and thorough inspection of how this leak occurred and request that this pipeline not be reopened until adequate precautions and repairs have been completed.”

Last November, following the explosion of a natural gas pipeline that destroyed three homes and injured two Ohioans in Morgan County, Brown urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill that would strengthen safety standards for natural gas pipelines. That bill is now law.

 

January 19, 2012

Cynthia Quarterman

Administrator

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590

202-366-4433

Dear Administrator Quarterman:

On January 12, nearly 120,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline owned by the Sunoco Corporation in Wellington, Ohio.  Nearby residents were evacuated due to elevated levels of benzene, toluene, and other chemicals in the air.  While it appears that there were no injuries, gasoline has been found in a tributary of the Black River—itself a major tributary to Lake Erie.   

Newspaper reports have indicated that this pipeline was last inspected in 2007; this is far too long.  Ohioans deserve to know that the pipelines crisscrossing our state and nation are safe, secure, and reliable and residents of Lorain County are understandably concerned.  This incident, much like a recent natural gas pipeline explosion in Glouster, Ohio, underscores the serious nature of pipeline safety and regular inspections.  I urge the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to work with state regulators to undertake a timely and thorough inspection of how this leak occurred and request that this pipeline not be reopened until adequate precautions and repairs have been completed.  Additionally, I ask that PHMSA examine comparable interstate gasoline pipelines in Ohio to ensure that a similar leak does not occur in another part of the state.  

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