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Pipeline Firms Are Abandoning Oil & Gas Lines, Leaving Landowners To Deal With The Mess

By Kate Wheeling, Clean Technica
March 13, 2021

Some years ago, David Howell got a call from a landowner in Central Texas who had 300 feet of an old oil pipeline buried under his property. It was clearly no longer in use. The area around the pipeline was overgrown and the signage had faded or fallen away. The landowner wanted to build there now, and was wondering if Howell could come remove it.

Pipeline companies have no obligation to remove old pipelines. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can order a pipeline company to remove a line, says @carolynelefant but “just because they have the authority doesn’t mean they have to exercise it.”

— Nexus Media News (@NexusMediaNews) March 12, 2021

Howell, who owns a pipeline salvage business, thought he could do the work for as little as $1,000. There was no clause in the landowner’s agreement with the pipeline company regarding abandonment, so the company had no responsibility to remove the pipeline. But the landowner nevertheless needed the pipeline company’s permission, as the company still owned the line. The company acquiesced, but it insisted that the landowner use a contractor of its choosing, who was quoting the work at $50,000. The landowner ultimately sold the property rather than deal with the pipeline.

“I get a call a week from some landowner who says, ‘I got an abandoned pipeline, can you come take it out?’” Howell said. “Basically [pipeline workers] are putting a pipeline on some schmuck’s property and leaving it there, and that’s happening all over the United States. Hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline have been just abandoned on peoples’ property.”

Read the article on Clean Technica

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