A federal pipeline safety official admitted on camera recently that he made a point of ensuring his home wasn’t in the path of any pipelines before buying it, and that he wouldn't advise anyone to build in the path of a pipeline.
The official, Bill Lowry, is responsible for community assistance and technical services for the southwest region of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
At a Public Safety Trust conference on Nov. 21, Lowry was asked, “Knowing what you know about the problems in the Keystone XL's construction, what would you do if your house was in its path?”
His answer: “Here is what I did when I bought my house — I looked on all the maps, I looked for all the well holes. I found there is nothing around me but dry holes and no pipelines. And it's not because I'm afraid of pipelines, it's not because I think something will happen. It's because something could happen. … You're always better off, if you have a choice….”
He trailed off before finishing his sentence, but added that, “If I was building a house, I wouldn't build it on a refinery, … I wouldn't build it on a pipeline, because they're all industrial facilities. That's just the reality.”
Watch video of PHMSA’s Bill Lowry explaining what measures he took to keep his own family safe from pipelines, and the “reality” of pipeline risks:
“Lowry's answer was not terribly reassuring to those along the Keystone XL route, inferring they should have done their due diligence before settling in,” said Ramsey Sprague, spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade. “Lowry expects the public to trust that regulators will keep them safe, although he himself doesn't trust it enough to buy property near a pipeline.”