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Griffin Meets With PHMSA Regarding Pipeline Spill


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after speaking with senior officials from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA):

"Today's meeting with senior PHMSA officials was productive, and I appreciate their pledge to release additional material on the Pegasus pipeline oil spill. PHMSA officials will soon be releasing the 2006 hydrostatic test conducted on the Pegasus pipeline, and I urged them once again to publically release the 2010 and 2013 raw pre-spill inspection data. They assured me that a decision will be made on the release of the raw pre-spill inspection data soon. If they don't, I will. Further, they continue to analyze that data, but acknowledged that they currently only have 2013 raw pre-spill inspection data for the portion of the pipeline that ruptured and have requested from ExxonMobil data for the entire length of the pipeline. A copy of PHMSA's briefing slides can be found on my website.

"I informed PHMSA officials of yesterday's meeting with ExxonMobil officials and ExxonMobil's statement to me that the raw pre-spill inspection data did not show any indication of a manufacturing flaw. I asked PHMSA officials if they agreed with ExxonMobil's conclusion, and PHMSA officials told me they were not ready to give a definitive answer to that question because they are still examining the data. Further, I learned today that the 2010 inspection was a corrosion inspection, not a crack inspection, so that inspection would not have detected a manufacturing flaw like the one that caused the Mayflower spill. The 2013 inspection was intended to detect cracking within the pipeline, but according to ExxonMobil did not.

"PHMSA officials acknowledged that the testing is imperfect, even when using the latest technology and most advanced methodology. I indicated that more accurate and reliable testing should be a priority. I further expressed my concern about restarting the Pegasus pipeline and PHMSA officials assured me that it's not even under consideration at this point because, under the law, it cannot be restarted if there is a likelihood of an "imminent hazard.'

"PHMSA has released ExxonMobil's emergency response plan and the full metallurgical post-spill report that I previously released this morning. That report only identifies the failure, but not the cause of the failure in the pipeline, which is the subject of PHMSA's ongoing investigation. I look forward to working with them to make sure that Arkansans learn what happened in Mayflower and how these types of tragedies can be prevented in the future."

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