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Federal report calls for improvements in pipeline inspections and investigations

Pipeline Inspection

A new report from the Government Accountability Office says the federal agency responsible for regulating pipelines needs to do a better job with availability of data and consistency of enforcement.

"Well, no duh" is the response from people opposed to new pipelines in Virginia. They say a lack of transparency and inconsistency of enforcement go way beyond the problems outlined in the GAO report.

William Limpert says he spent years trying to get more information about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline. "I always thought the federal government was very competent and helpful, and my experience has just shattered that. It's really frustrating to keep asking these questions and not being given the answers," Limpert says.

David Sligh at Wild Virginia says availability of data and information has been a problem for years. "It shouldn't be that people have to work hard to search for this stuff. It should be really laid out there, and frankly when there are significant concerns it shouldn't just be in some database somewhere. They should go out of their way to widely let people know those problems exist."

Plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline were discontinued, and the effort to move forward with the Mountain Valley Pipeline are tied up with legal challenges and permitting delays.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.