Many problems with the U.S.’s vast network of oil and natural gas pipelines don’t get reported or are underreported to the federal Office of Pipeline Safety, and even if major mishaps are reported, the agency rarely fines companies for them, reports the Austin American-Statesman after a yearlong investigation. Past problems that didn’t show up in the agency’s books include nine spills in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve and a blast in California that killed two people. In total, the country’s pipelines leaked at least 67 million gallons of crude oil, gas, and other petroleum products in the last decade. The OPS, an underfunded and understaffed agency, has jurisdiction over more than 2 million miles of pipelines, but it doesn’t even know where some of those pipelines are located. The Bush administration’s push for increased energy production will put an even greater burden on the pipeline system.
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