President Biden may claim that his hands were tied by Manchin and the Republicans. However, when he agreed to sign their debt deal, the Mountain Valley Pipeline became his. And no one is tying his hands when it comes to an important safety measure regarding the MVP.
Forty-foot sections of pipe flex quite a bit when they are moved from the factory, to the pipeyard, to the right of way and finally into a ditch. But the factory-applied coating loses its flexibility if it sits in the sun too long.
The January 2020 issue of Corrosion Management reported that the coating on Keystone XL pipe was “no longer fit for purpose” after it had sat in the sun for years just as MVP’s pipe has. Every piece of KXL pipe tested failed the flexibility test and had cracks in the coating. Cracked coating is no longer corrosion-proof.
There are only two ways to address the coating problem. Either replace the pipe with new, recently coated pipe or ship all the pipe in the field back to the plant for stripping, cleaning, and recoating. This is what a Keystone XL pipeline manager said was necessary, because the coating process is quite involved and can only properly occur in a factory setting.
MVP, a company that has paid millions of dollars in fines for hundreds of reckless permit violations, will no doubt claim that either the pipes don’t need re-coating, or they can be properly re-coated in the field.
MVP’s unbelievably careless intent to install deteriorated pipes in our shifting karst topography, then increase pressure enough to force gas up almost vertical mountain-sides, is certain to result in leaks. In the past such leaks have caused deadly explosions.
This is President Biden’s call, The chain of command, from the bottom up, is the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, the US Dept of Transportation, DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and ultimately President Biden. He can enforce the safety rule and ensure that the coating is sufficiently ductile to resist cracking–or he can ignore all the warnings.