WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today sent a letter to John Walsh, President of UGI Corporation, to express his concern about the safety of natural gas pipelines owned and operated by UGI and other companies in Pennsylvania and to seek answers about UGI’s safety procedures and protocols to inspect and repair unsafe pipelines. A natural gas pipeline explosion in Allentown last week killed five people and destroyed eight homes.
“After visiting the site of the disaster in Allentown Friday, I am gravely concerned about the overall safety of the natural gas pipeline systems that UGI, and other natural gas companies, own and operate in Pennsylvania,” wrote Senator Casey. “With more than 63,000 miles of intrastate transmission and distribution pipelines crisscrossing the state, pipeline safety is of paramount importance to the people of Pennsylvania.”
In his letter, Senator Casey noted that some pipelines in Pennsylvania are more than 100 years old and made of antiquated and unsafe materials. Senator Casey also requested information regarding UGI’s transparency with customers regarding the age and condition of pipelines in their neighborhoods.
A copy of the letter is below.
Dear Mr. Walsh,
I write in the wake of Wednesday’s tragic natural gas explosion which killed five people, including two children. In addition to the loss of life, this explosion destroyed eight homes and damaged nine others. Actions must be taken to ensure that other communities do not endure what the people of Allentown have.
After visiting the site of the disaster in Allentown Friday, I am gravely concerned about the overall safety of the natural gas pipeline systems that UGI, and other natural gas companies, own and operate in Pennsylvania. With more than 63,000 miles of intrastate transmission and distribution pipelines crisscrossing the state, pipeline safety is of paramount importance to the people of Pennsylvania. In cities like Allentown, these pipelines, including those used by UGI, may be more than 100 years old. Some are made of antiquated and unsafe materials, such as base steel and cast iron.
In order to better understand UGI’s commitment to safety, I am very interested in learning more about the specific safety procedures and protocols UGI has in place to inspect and repair or replace unsafe pipelines. In addition, I would like to know more about the efficiency and effectiveness of UGI’s program to detect and respond to natural gas leaks, and the information UGI shares with its customers regarding the age and condition of the pipeline in their neighborhoods. I would appreciate being updated on the results of the Allentown investigation at the earliest time possible.
It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy such as this to bring into sharp focus the importance of pipeline safety. I am committed to doing everything I can to prevent such an incident from occurring again in Pennsylvania. I look forward to your response to my request for information on UGI’s pipeline inspection, safety and maintenance programs.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator