PHMSA issues million-dollar fines to two pipeline companies

August 26, 2010

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued hefty fines this month against two companies for violating pipeline safety procedures.

A more than $1 million civil penalty was issued to Findlay, OH-based Marathon Pipe Line LLC after an investigation into the March 2009 pipeline failure in Vacherie, LA. One welder was killed and three workers were injured when hazardous vapors in a crude oil sump ignited during maintenance. According to a Department of Transportation press release, investigators allege Marathon failed to institute and follow required procedures to safely and effectively perform maintenance activities, among other violations. Marathon has 30 days to respond to the allegations.

PHMSA also imposed a $2.4 million fine against Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP for violations related to a November 2007 incident that resulted in the deaths of two employees in Clearbrook, MN. An investigation found that Enbridge failed to maintain and repair its pipeline, which leaked crude oil, ignited and killed the employees attempting repairs. PHMSA issued additional fines totaling $57,800 for violations at two other Enbridge facilities.