The Louisiana gas industry's answer to lax safety enforcement? Loosen it more
Floodlight's latest story, from Sara Sneath in Louisiana, reveals how the natural gas industry has lobbied state lawmakers to loosen oversight of dangerous pipeline leaks.
That's despite already lax enforcement—Sneath found through public records requests that the Louisiana state police issued only 34 fines and five warnings letters over five years. A quarter of those penalties were reduced: three were lowered, five were replaced with warning letters and two were dismissed. The fines that did stick were low, between $2,250 and $8,000.
One of the accidents was deadly. Sneath writes for the Louisiana Illuminator and the Guardian:
When a natural gas pipeline fire south-west of New Orleans killed one worker and burned three others, the Louisiana state police ordered Phillips 66 to pay a $22,000 fine for failing to immediately report the incident. The fire burned for four days before first responders could put it out.
But the company ultimately didn’t pay any police fine, ending up with just a warning.