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Homeland Security

The Testimony of
The Honorable Bob Walkup
Mayor, City of Tucson

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of the City of Tucson, our over 500,000 city residents and the 900,000 residents of the Greater Tucson area.

The rupture of the Kinder Morgan pipeline on July 30, 2003 exposed a number of shortcomings in Arizona's fuel delivery systems, regulatory systems and disaster preparedness systems:

The rupture itself placed adjacent residents in physical danger. We were very, very lucky that the escaped fuel did not ignite and no one was hurt. A number of homes were doused with fuel and had to be demolished. I want to recognize the professionalism and dedication of the Tucson Fire Department, led by Chief Dan Newburn. They helped avert a major catastrophe.

Many residents in the vicinity of the pipeline were not aware of the pipeline's existence. There was no consistent or adequate form of disclosure that informed residents and homeowners of their proximity to the pipeline. Now some of these residents are demanding that Kinder Morgan build a new pipeline around the developed city.

The inability of Tucson Fire Department officials to have access to federal or state inspection results prior to the pipeline rupture compromised public safety.

The sudden, dramatic increase in gasoline prices in Tucson was caused in part by the traffic at the Tucson terminal. Both Phoenix and Tucson delivery trucks had to wait long periods of time to receive their supply. Therefore, the supply problem in Phoenix caused a supply problem-and steep price increase-in Tucson.

The realization for Tucsonans and many Arizonans that the state is mostly served by one major pipeline was-and still is-a cause of great concern. We now see that accidental or intentional shutdown of this one pipeline can disable our state.

With these situations in mind, the following courses of action should be pursued:

More disclosure of pipeline integrity test results between government agencies is needed. At the very least, local public safety agencies must be notified if federal or state regulators discover abnormalities in the condition of a pipeline. Disaster-readiness plans that account for a variety of potential situations must be developed in partnership with regulatory agencies at various levels and pipeline companies.

The relationship between the Arizona Corporation Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation should be clarified. Both entities should have access to test results and maintenance schedules regardless of which agency is doing the actual testing of the pipelines.

The State Department of Real Estate should develop consistent and clear disclosure requirements on real estate transactions in proximity to the line.

Local governments must do more to impose land use restrictions that provide reasonable security to area homes and businesses. In Tucson's case, the 8-inch pipeline was placed in 1955 in an area that was mostly undeveloped at the time. Since then, previous mayors and city councils allowed development in the area. The Tucson City Council has now voted to look at land-use restrictions for future development near pipelines. And the entire City Council has expressed interest in the possibility of placing new pipelines outside the city limits, even though we realize that this wasn't a reasonable, safe or timely option in light of the crisis facing the state.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the construction and operation of more pipelines across the state is critical. Arizona cannot be solely dependent upon a single line. This is an economic reality, a public safety reality and even a national security reality. These new pipelines should be constructed outside populated urban areas and should be designed with sufficient security measures. Successful construction of new lines would provide more total fuel for the state and less dependence on any one pipeline. In addition, we would hope and expect that new pipelines outside developed areas could make existing lines through city neighborhoods obsolete.

In closing, I want to thank Senator McCain and the members of the Committee again for this hearing.

I want to commend the work of Governor Napolitano and her staff in addressing the crisis as soon as it happened. Her quick and appropriate response to the crisis made a very difficult situation better for all Arizonans. And Governor Napolitano's Southern Arizona staff, led by Jan Lesher, was always ready with information and assistance throughout the most difficult periods.

I want to thank Tucson area state representatives Phil Lopes and Ted Downing, Councilmember Steve Leal and all the members of the Tucson City Council. Together, we have taken an active role in discovering and examining the relevant issues.

I also want to thank the Arizona Corporation Commission for their participation at recent Tucson City Council meetings. Their staff did a good job explaining the complexities of these issues to our governing body.

And I would like to thank Kinder Morgan for working closely with Tucson city staff and Fire Department officials. Now there will be more communication between us, in addition to an improved pipeline.

This has been a difficult situation for all involved. However, everyone I have worked with on this issue has been forthright and determined to fix what needs fixing. I would be happy to answer questions from the committee at this time.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mayor Bob Walkup City of Tucson

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