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GAO releases gas pipeline safety report

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JOHN RABY | January 23, 2013 01:17 PM EST | AP


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A congressional watchdog agency has called for better reporting on how quickly operators of natural gas transmission pipelines respond to accidents.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued the report on Wednesday. The GAO says data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration doesn't require operators to fill out certain time-related fields.

The report comes a month after a 20-inch line owned by NiSource subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission ruptured in West Virginia, triggering a massive fire. The Dec. 11 inferno destroyed four homes and charred a section of Interstate 77. No one was seriously injured.

Federal investigators say it took Columbia Gas Transmission more than an hour to manually shut off the gas that fueled the fire.