$782K to Support W.Va. Pipeline Safety Research

Capito, Manchin Obtain Funds to Help Prevent Accidents

WHEELING - Hoping to prevent natural gas pipeline accidents, West Virginia's senators procured $782,000 from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

"I am glad West Virginia will benefit from this funding to help keep our communities safe while also seizing the potential of America's energy boom," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said.

The funding will also go toward developing safety programs for crude-by-rail shipments, in the aftermath of the Fayette County train derailment earlier this year.

"The oil train that derailed and exploded in Fayette County last February was not an isolated incident, and we need to do more to protect our citizens from damaging accidents while also ensuring the flow of energy products to those who need them," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said. "This grant will allow us to respond quickly and better protect West Virginia communities through the development of a long-term emergency response plan."

The Mountain State will receive funding through the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grants program, which will allow the state to develop or revise emergency plans and training activities to account for bulk transportation of energy products by rail and over the road.

The state will also be able to conduct commodity flow studies to determine the frequency and quantity of hazmat shipments being transported through local communities, and train emergency responders to respond appropriately to incidents involving bulk shipments of energy products.

"As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I worked to ensure funding for programs that are focused on the safe transport of energy products," Capito added.

Public Service Commission of West Virginia spokeswoman Susan Small previously said the vast majority of Mountain State pipelines fall into Class 1, which she said means there are 10 or fewer occupied buildings within 220 yards on any side of the pipeline. This describes rural areas, home to nearly all pipelines. If they lines are considered Class 1, she said no state inspections take place.

By:  Casey Junkins
Source: The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register