The BP spill on the North Slope is still reverberating – here is a post to the “safepipelines” discussion group:

“You know I get asked all the time variations of; ‘what do you expect’.

What do you expect us to do about the homes that already encroach on pipeline easements?

What do you expect to be done to improve safety?

What do you expect the government to do for you?

What do you expect the pipeline companies to do for you?

What do you expect……….

I get so frustrated that I begin to think, what can I expect? … I have had it with all the jumping around. In my case these are not just aging pipelines they are already aged. 35 years old to 75-76 years old, that is aged! From what I understand our leak detection is done by SCADA. To many leaks have been missed by SCADA leak detection. I do not believe fly overs are leak detection, to be honest I question the real benefits of these low flying planes that fly over about 50 to 100 feet off the pipelines. I never see anyone checked out or stopped from digging following a fly over.

We have learned of many leaks that have occurred and been detected and repaired in our area that have never been revealed to the public. The homeowners don’t want to tell everyone about them because they know it will effect their property values, so they keep them quite. I completely understand their need to protect their property values. For most of us our property is our only investment and we can’t afford to lose that investment.

Then again there are the property owners that are told there is nothing to worry about and no reason for further action since it has all been cleaned up and repaired. Yet we also know that there are even more leaks that no one knows about. Maybe most have not been detected yet (we know of two incidents where it was estimated the leaks may have occurred over 30 years or more) and others that have been detected and kept under wraps, cleaned up or not.

After reading the recent postings regarding leak detection and the recent BP spill, I am even more disturbed about the safety of my property, my family and my community.

I am not an engineer of any kind; I have not constructed pipelines, laid pipelines or monitored pipelines. I am a wife, mother and neighbor. Who lives literally ON these pipelines, 1 of them sits just 24 feet from my bedroom, then there are 3 more sitting side by side, just 2 of the four are in my backyard that is surrounded by a stockade fence with a gate. For this reason I feel I am qualified to express anger and fear. As I stated before the pipelines we call ours, are already aged, they are getting older every day and still under tremendous pressure. It would appear that through all the technical views and all those out there that feel they know more than the other guy or that they are more qualified to decide what is acceptably safe for my family and my neighbors no one has gotten together to come to a consensus on preventing a leak from contaminating my property or a rupture from claiming lives in my subdivision.

What seems to get lost is the lives and property associated with the aging pipelines in this country. Oh, I know that everyone says and maybe somehow believe that all they are doing is to protect lives and property, but I feel like the real truth here is they are trying to protect their product and their money. I would like to protect your product also, because guess who needs it? We do. We know we need pipelines, we know we need this product. But we also know that we need to not just feel safe but be safe.

No one ever walks through my back yard to monitor these pipelines. No one calls or mails me or any of my neighbors an invitation to a public awareness or education meeting regarding these pipelines.

I expect the pipeline industry to stiffen up and set wider easements, build in your own buffer zones and stick to them. There should not be any negotiating with developers on this issue. This is to protect the pipelines themselves as well as lives and privately owned property.

I would think that if weighed honestly our fuel resources are much more valuable an asset to this country than anything the developers can come up with right now.

I expect a lot from all those involved. I expect everyone involved to take responsibility! I expect HCAs to be identified and protected.

I expect people to be safe where they live and where they play. When a family goes camping they don’t expect to be burned alive, when children go to their local park to play in the creek (which mine do also) we should expect them to come home.

Maybe we can not protect every aspect of safety in our lives and maybe I am crazy; but I expect the citizens of this country to feel safe in their homes, schools, and businesses.

I expect our lives and our investments to come before money that can be made by pipeline companies, the government or developers.

I expect pipeline safety to be enforced.

When a company is fined, I expect enforcement of those fines.

I expect pipeline safety regulators to go see for themselves when there is a possible problem. Not just take someones word for it and weigh that word against anothers.

I know there are thousand of miles of pipelines in this country but I expect every mile to be treated like it is the only mile.

I expect a lot to protect the people of this country. Why? Because WE ARE THIS COUNTRY!”

Shelley Miller
St. Peters, MO.