Largely due to the efforts of Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), the House of Representatives has voted to designate June 10th National Pipeline Safety Day. Larsen proposed that this day fall on the anniversary of a tragic natural gas explosion in his district of Bellingham, Washington that killed three people on June 10, 1999. His remarks commemorating the incident can be found here.
Before making its way to the House floor, the resolution was shepherded by Larsen through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, calling for an increased awareness of the nation’s underground pipeline infrastructure and increased safety measures to ensure that pipelines remain the safest form of transportation of energy products.
Most people have no clue about the magnitude of our country’s pipeline system. For instance, did you know that there are there are 2.3 million miles of distribution and service pipeline in the United States? That’s enough pipe to wrap around the earth 92 times!
While these millions of miles of pipeline are housed underground and out of sight, they should not be out of our minds, which is precisely why we are encouraging state and local governments to not only observe National Pipeline Safety Day but to renew their commitment to safety and the prevention of excavation damage.
In April, we teamed with the Common Ground Alliance to establish National Safe Digging Month, which urges those embarking on any digging or excavation project to place a free phone call to 811 beforehand in order to make sure the area is secure for digging.
Please spread the word about National Pipeline Safety Day and don’t forget to call 811 before you dig this summer.