John McCain, R-AZ, chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee, held a public meeting recently to look into pipeline
ruptures that in July cut off fuel supplies to Phoenix.
break shut one of the two gasoline pipelines into the Phoenix valley
for 17 days, prompting fuel shortages and spiking gas prices as
high as $4 per gallon.
Arizona Republic said McCain expressed amazement at the limits
of federal price-gouging laws, and pushed for more consumer protection
and greater disclosure to help solve the state's fuel-supply and
included Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard,
Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Marc Spitzer and Tucson
Mayor Bob Walkup.
criticized federal regulators for lax oversight and poor communication
and alleged the pipeline's operator – Houston-based Kinder Morgan
Energy Partners – had not been responsive enough to regulatory actions.
also expressed concern about federal oversight of pipeline safety
rules, and about the state's reliance on two pipelines owned by
a single company for most fuel sold in Arizona.
of the Office of Pipeline Safety and Kinder Morgan defended their
actions. OPS is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's
Research and Special Programs Administration.
the rupture, The Republic has reported a history of pipeline
corrosion problems and safety concerns, and raised questions about
the oversight provided by OPS, which oversees nearly 2.2 million
miles of interstate pipelines throughout the country.