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Board Meeting: Pipeline Accident Report, Marshall, Michigan, Washington, DC - Chairman's Closing Remarks
Deborah A. P. Hersman
Board Meeting: Pipeline Accident Report, Marshall, Michigan, Washington, DC - Chairman's Closing Remarks
7/10/2012

In closing, I want to thank my fellow Board members for their participation today. I'd like to recognize the outstanding efforts of the NTSB staff members who completed the accident investigation and developed this comprehensive and excellent report, in particular, the staff from the Office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Investigations and from the Office of Research and Engineering. Matthew Nicholson, the Investigator-in-Charge, and his team did an outstanding job.

In my opening remarks, I talked about the four Rs of a pipeline rupture. The fifth R is results. That means taking the lessons learned and making the needed changes to prevent needless ruptures and spills.

As you heard, this accident was the result of multiple mistakes and missteps made by Enbridge. But, there is also regulatory culpability. Delegating too much authority to the regulated to assess their own system risks and correct them is tantamount to the fox guarding the henhouse. Regulators need regulations and practices with teeth - and the resources to enable them to take corrective action before a spill. Not just after.

That's the point of the recommendations we issue today. It's time for operators and regulators to make the needed changes to protect our citizens and communities and prevent such tragic and needless events.

Safety is a commitment. It is a requirement. It must be a way of doing business and not just a slogan.

If companies commit to safety with the same vigor that they pursue profits, then we will see integrity management programs with real integrity.

We stand adjourned.