This is Your Gas Pipeline. This is Your Gas Pipeline in the Free Market.

Category:  BloggERy
Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 1:31 PM
This is Your Gas Pipeline. This is Your Gas Pipeline in the Free Market. by Jay Stevens
Irish Oil and Gas

A few days ago, I posted about a fire department that had to apply a fee-for-service revenue model to surrounding rural areas because the residents there refused to pony up tax money to properly fund their fire service. The model, naturally, had a devestating effect on one particular homeowner and was an excellent demonstration why privatization doesn't work for critical community services.

And yet free-marketers insist on privatizing.

Free-marketers also feel government regulations are a hindrance to business. They might be, if your business is cutting corners and thereby endangering local residents and workers:

Like many other lines crisscrossing the state's Marcellus Shale regions, this pipe was big - a high-pressure steel line, 20 inches in diameter, large enough to help move a buried ocean of natural gas out of this corner of the state. It was also plenty big enough to set off a sizable explosion if something went wrong.

There was trouble on the job. Far too many of the welds that tied the pipe sections together were failing inspection and had to be done over.

A veteran welder, now an organizer for a national pipeline union, happened upon the line and tried to blow the whistle on what he considered substandard work.

But there was no one to call.

Pennsylvania's regulators don't handle those pipelines, and acknowledge they don't even know where they are. And when he reported what he saw to a federal oversight agency, an inspector told him there was nothing he could do, either.

Because the line was in a rural area, no safety rules applied.

Great, huh? No wonder these people don't want any pesky regulations overseeing their business.

That's probably the same reason the energy industry got itself a nice exemption from the Clean Water Act.

Erie Reader: Vol. 4, No. 21
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CURRENT

Five little girls armed with four letter words pack a powerful punch.

I sit down for a brief inteview with AmeriCorps representatives, Katie Morton and Lauren Schricker, to shed some light on the work their organization is doing in our region. Odds are you'll be pleasantly surprised by what they had to say. 

Israeli Defense Minister looks to the future for a redrawing of Middle Eastern borders, while the FDA chases down fake Ebola cures being peddled on the internet. What will you be talking about around the watercooler this Friday? Let us help you impress your coworkers. 

What's with all the porn in PA? Seriously.

The cult classic is coming back to television with enough time to binge-watch until you're caught up.

IN THIS ISSUE

The story of the car salesman-turned congressman.

These mischievous ladies will kick off the Erie Philharmonic's Pop Series.

October and the annual Horror Fest -- now on its 11th year -- go hand-in-hand in Eerie. 

Executive Chef Michael J. Cerrie brings Sicilian-inspired American cuisine to Erie.

The Eerie Horror Film Fest headlines Halloween attractions.

ESPN gets it right, regional game makes Dead Spin, and honoring an Erie great.

One in four women will be victims of domestic violence during her lifetime. It is past time to take measures to prevent this.

What we can do about poverty, real estate, and the declining population in Erie County.

Peek'n Peak transforms into a German bier festival as part of the resort's Fall Fest. 

From bionic shoes to least competent criminals, it's news of the abnormal variety.