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National Transportation Safety Board Identifies Pipeline Safety as Key Issue

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has included “enhancing pipeline safety” on its 2014 Most Wanted List, which identifies its top 10 priorities for the year.  The NTSB warns that although “[p]ipelines remain one of the safest and most efficient means of transporting vital commodities . . . the consequences can be tragic when safe operational practices are not employed and standards are not implemented.”  Hydrostatic pressure testing, remote controlled and automatic shutoff valves and improved communications between pipeline operators  and emergency responders are among the suggested improvements to promote safe operation of pipelines.  Recent pipeline incidents like the rupture of a natural gas transmission pipeline near Interstate 77 in Sissonville, West Virginia, on December 11, 2012, have contributed to the NTSB naming pipeline safety as one of its top priorities for 2014.