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. 22
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Election day is Tuesday. Let's study together.

Veteran metal band GWAR gives Pet Shop Boy's "West End Girls" a heavy dose of rawk while offering up a nice tribute to fallen friends.

A Pa. Supreme Court Justice and a Canadian radio host have very little in common, except that their sexcapades may spell the end of otherwise celebrated careers. 

The Allman Brothers Band ends a 45 year run on a perfect note. 

The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble and Australia is stepping up to save it. In the meantime, oil prices continue to drop, and Tom Wolf swings through Erie on the last leg of his campaign trail. It's humpday, and there's news to be read, people. 

IN THIS ISSUE

A comprehensive list of the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Summit VI, including: the skinny, why it should be on your radar, and why we think it's worth seeing. 

Celebrating a definitive Erie Great: “Easy” Essie Hollis.

Here are a several low-profile, multiplayer video games that deserve to be on your list, according to our gaming expert. 

New Orleans' Crescent City Farmers Marketplace and what Erie could learn from it. 

Frontman Zac Little of the indie folk rockers talks about the band’s latest album, breaking wooden stomp boxes, and NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. 

Will we see a change in voter turnouts come Nov. 4 elections?

More than just an EDM artist, NatasK exhibits a fresh and welcomed sense of where electronic music is headed.

A plethora of reasons why Gov. Tom Corbott is simply the worst governor ever. 

Make no mistake about it – these guys rock first and foremost, especially on this album’s standouts, the anthemic “Obey the Beard,” as well as “Dogs Like Socks,” which explores the complexities of canine/hosiery relations.

It's news, but it's weird. It's... News of the Weird!