Last week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a $4 million fine for the rupture of Denbury Inc.’s carbon pipeline in 2020.
As a result of the rupture, at least 45 people were injured and required hospitalization.
And the event itself stirred up much criticism of carbon pipelines that we are still seeing today, as two major CO2 pipeline projects in the US (one led by Summit Carbon Solutions, the other by Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC) still face much opposition from concerned citizens, environmental groups and even on government levels.
Furthermore, the incident prompted nationwide alarm about the need to develop adequate emergency response plans.
The fine proposed by the PHMSA is the largest ever suggested by the agency, and it is said to cover a whole list of likely violations committed by Texas-based Denbury.
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Although the rupture was caused by a landslide, the agency listed the company’s failure to quickly inform the National Response Center and perform routine inspections of its rights-of-way as probable violations.
The lack of written procedures for the pipeline’s standard operations and emergency response were also cited.
This proposed fine by PHMSA is viewed as one of the first major steps toward meeting the nation’s carbon capture goals, which include building thousands more miles of CO2 pipelines before the end of the decade, especially now as the Energy Department is prepared to spend unprecedented amounts on carbon technology.
In addition, the PHMSA’s investigative report will help form the long-awaited safety rules, although the agency has yet to disclose when those rules will become available to the public.
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