This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NTSB has assigned blame in the San Bruno, CA, pipeline blast

A few days ago, I did a post regarding the seriously bad state of the pipelines in our infrastructure. By coincidence (??? I think, but maybe not) the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) laid the blame for that explosion on the pipeline owner Pacific Gas and  Electric (PG&E) as well as on regulators. It accused PG&E of "exploiting weaknesses in a lax system of oversight, and government agencies that placed a blind trust in operators to the detriment of public safety."

The immediate cause of the explosion was a faulty weld. But, they found widespread deficiencies in PG&E's safety procedures, and federal and state oversight "ineffective." The accident is being called a failure of an entire system of checks and balances.  Why does this remind me of the Gulf Coast Deepwater Horizon disaster?

A synopsis of the report is on the NTSB website, and a full report is to be posted in a few weeks.

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