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Report Defending Gas Pipeline Safety Record Questioned

SAN BRUNO (KCBS) – Just days before the one-year anniversary of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, a new federal draft report on the safety of the natural gas industry is coming under question.

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board, the panel that investigated the San Bruno pipeline blast, made tough new recommendations to tighten up the industry and allow for regulators to issue harsher fines for violations.

KCBS' Holly Quan Reports:

But the NTSB only has advisory power and the group that can actually order changes is the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a draft, "Report to America on Pipeline Safety," which was rolled out to a select audience a month ago and meant to assuage people's fears over pipeline accidents, defends the industry's safety record.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

Pipeline safety consultant Richard Kuprewicz, who serves on PHMSA's technical board, reviewed the report and is critical of the findings.

"The draft contained many technical errors that were not factually true and came across as too much PR spin," Kuprewicz said.

He said that is something that will only continue to damage the industry's and government's credibility in the public eye.

Kuprewicz said that the report also dismisses several good NTSB recommendations that he thinks would make things safer for the public.

But the agency said that it is only a draft and will be reviewed further before it is officially released.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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