According to a report submitted by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) a safety inspection was completed at AGL Resources on March 18. The inspection was directly related to the January 29 incident where a volume of gas was vented into the atmosphere from a section of the plant’s piping. The investigation came as a result of a request from Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.
The review of operator procedures for abnormal operations and records of the event led to the statement from DNR that they “did not find any apparent probable violations pertaining to the January 29, 2008 event. There were no damages or apparent harmful impacts from the incident.”
The Save Lake Peigneur group was not only dissatisfied with the report, they feel that the information provided to the investigators was biased because it came from AGL.
There statement is as follows:
“The Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation Pipeline and Safety division so-called investigation and subsequent report is biased and not based on the true factual events. We have issues with the following. The group went on to detail the issues to date and the items they feel were falsely reported.
•From the onset of the incident as per the state police report given by JISH/AGL over an hour and half transpired. The breaker switch was not turned on for that entire period of time.
•The investigation did not include questioning the residents.
•AGL claims only three minutes lasted for the blowout.
“We have telephone records of the residents making the phone calls to the sheriff’s offices and to each other during the time of the blasts.
“We specifically asked for an unbiased investigation from an impartial office such as the GAO (General Accounting Division).
According to the group ,a United States Aide in Washington D.C., stated, “This investigation is conducted like a criminal investigation.” However, The group felt it was not handled in a n appropriate manner.
“When one conducts an investigation, the process of finding truth, one needs to gather all the information, including interviewing victims and witnesses. These statements should be documented and submitted for the final unbiased report”.
The same aide stated when asked that, “Louisiana citizens accept the hazards of the energy industry.”
Their observations of the aide’s opinion was not favorable.
“Obviously, this aide is not familiar with all the publicity involved with Lake Peigneur. Our issues and many other issues around the state are unacceptable and many citizens are attempting to fight their issues.”
Keith Poston, spokesperson for AGL said, “the investigation went as we thought it would. The DNR did the investigation and we were in compliance.”
There was one piece of the procedure on Jan. 29 that was not adhered by personnel at AGL. The Vermilion Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness was not contacted in the instance which was a violation of AGL’s procedure.
“It was just an oversight on our part. We just didn’t do it,” Poston stated.
Save Lake Peigneur group added.
“The simulated investigation of the AGL/JISH blowout is an insult to the citizens of Louisiana who were completely disregarded, the only missing item in the document was AGL letterhead. We find this report completely unacceptable”
In other AGL Resources news, a new development with the lawsuit that AGL filed against the State of Louisiana has made progress in that discovery has been filed.
“We have not accomplished what we wanted in negotiations, so we are going forward setting a hearing date. It is time we exercised our rights that Louisiana grants us.” Poston stated.
“It is a good project, (of the new storage caverns in the lake).”
A new bill, authored by Senator Troy Hebert is expected to be presented to the environmental committee during regular session.