Feds Believed Pipeline Buried Deep Enough

Aaron Flint posted on July 17, 2011 00:11 :: 1193 Views

In the midst of all the news coverage broadcasting Sen. Jon Tester’s claim that someone else invited him to the prom, I somehow missed the actual news from this past week’s pipeline safety hearing requested by Congressman Denny Rehberg. 

In case you missed the news as well, UPI had this:

Despite concerns about runoff rates in the Yellowstone River, authorities believed Exxon Mobil’s Silvertip pipeline was buried deep enough, an official said.

Cynthia Quarterman, administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, said officials in December confirmed Silvertip was buried 5 feet below the riverbed, meeting the 4-feet-depth-of-cover requirements of pipeline safety regulators.

Meanwhile, you may have caught an excerpt I shared earlier this week from a column criticizing Gov. Schweitzer as a “show poodle” following his response to oil spill cleanup efforts.  State Sen. Ed Walker (R-Billings) also took the Governor to task in this guest opinion column:

Nearly two weeks ago, a 12-inch pipeline unexpectedly ruptured under the stress of heavy flooding, spilling 1,000 barrels of crude into the Yellowstone River. The spill focused the nation’s attention on Montana, providing the country with an interesting study in contrasts on emergency responses: On one hand, an encouraging level of collaboration among private industry, local government officials, and federal regulators; on the other hand, a show of bravado and chest-pounding that’s been nothing short of remarkable — even by the standards of politicians.

Late last week, the governor pulled out of joint oil spill command center, leaving many to wonder what if anything the governor is doing to aid in the cleanup effort.

Schweitzer claimed ExxonMobil was directing the cleanup efforts, but that claim has been roundly disputed not only by ExxonMobil, but also by local law enforcement, independent press reports and officials at the EPA.

Oh, and back to the Congressional hearing on pipeline safety- committee sources confirmed that a signed invite was hand-delivered to Sen. Tester’s office ahead of the hearing.  I guess his staff didn’t bother to pass the info on. 

Here’s a copy of the letter:

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