Securing the Electric Grid: A Decades Old Threat Demands Action Today

As with anything in life, guaranteeing 100 percent absolute security in any situation is simply impossible. When it comes to the nation’s electrical power transmission system, however, reaching the highest attainable level of protection is of critical importance. Unfortunately, since the 1970s – and before – what would be described as “terrorist attacks” against the …

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Actions Speak Louder than Words


The San Bruno gas pipeline explosion was a tragedy – that cannot be denied. However, PG&E has changed. The company has demonstrated through its actions, and not just words, that it is committed to the safety of its gas system as a result of the San Bruno accident. PG&E has spent nearly $3 billion of …

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Mississippi Barge Spill Highlights Risk of Boom in Bakken Oil


Interview with Brigham McCown A barge crash that spilled enough oil to temporarily shut a stretch of the Mississippi River highlights the transportation risks of the U.S. energy boom just as regulators respond to several rail accidents involving crude. A 65-mile portion of the river about 50 miles (80 kilometers) upstream from New Orleans reopened …

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Anniversary of JJ’s Restaurant Explosion Highlights Need for Higher Standards


By Brigham McCown Originally Appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek WASHINGTON – The natural gas explosion that leveled the popular JJ’s Restaurant a year ago this month was completely preventable. It is a perfect example of how using out-of-date practices in utility line marking and locating for construction excavation can lead to avertible tragedy. Mistakes like this …

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Nebraskans Resist Keystone Spurning TransCanada’s Checks

An icy wind rattles a metal warehouse in York, Nebraska, as farmers and ranchers inside vow not to sign easements with a Canadian company to bury the Keystone XL oil pipeline on their land. “I think TransCanada has been surprised we country bumpkins gathered,” said Bonny Kilmurry, one of about 145 landowners meeting here, about …

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Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train


CASSELTON, N.D. — Kerry’s Kitchen is where Casselton residents gather for gossip and comfort food, especially the caramel rolls baked fresh every morning. But a fiery rail accident last month only a half mile down the tracks, which prompted residents to evacuate the town, has shattered this calm, along with people’s confidence in the crude-oil …

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Improve federal pipeline permitting process, UTA white paper urges

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Federal oil and gas pipeline permitting processes need to be accelerated and improved if they are to keep pace with rapidly expanding production, a new white paper produced for United Transportation Advisors LLC argued. Regulatory delays are forcing producers to use less efficient shipping modes such as rail, which could increase otherwise avoidable accidents, according …

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