API defends pipeline safety records

Nov. 15, 2012 at 8:38 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. oil and liquid fuels pipeline network has "an outstanding safety record" as industry leaders work on a zero-tolerance policy, a trade group said.

Peter Lidiak, director of pipelines for the American Petroleum Institute, said the oil and natural gas industry was working toward a "zero-incident safety record."

A string of pipeline spills in the United States have sparked concern about safety issues. A natural gas pipeline explosion in California in 2010 killed eight people and a Michigan oil pipeline spill that same year was the costliest onshore incident in the sector's history.

Lidiak, however, said pipelines are the safest way to transport crude oil and other petroleum products.

"The nation's crude oil and liquid fuels pipelines have an outstanding safety record and operators understand the need for continuous improvement," he said in a statement.

Accidents from 1999 to 2011, he said, were down by around 60 percent.

Writing for The Hill, Cindy Schild, a senior manager for downstream at API, said pipelines like the planned Keystone XL project to bring Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries are more than talking points.

Keystone XL, she writes, "fills a critical infrastructure void as our nation moves toward becoming the largest oil producer in the world, creates much needed jobs, and meets --and exceeds -- both Canadian and American regulatory standards for pipeline safety."

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