A natural gas company is seeking approval to build a "massive" pipeline from New Jersey under the Hudson and into Manhattan, where it would likely terminate near the Henry Hudson Greenway and West 14th Street. The company, Spectra, has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to run the pipeline, but concerned activists say Spectra has too much of a checkered past to be trusted.

Spectra has been cited by federal regulators for 17 inadequacies in its pipeline safety operations and procedures. According to Natural Gas Watch, federal inspectors recently discovered Spectra’s plans and procedures addressed only aerial pipeline surveillance and “did not adequately address the surveillance of all risk elements." The company's emergency plans and welding procedures were also found lacking. Spectra, for its part, points out that the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration "reviewed the circumstances and supporting documentation and have decided not to pursue additional action" on April 21, 2011. Well, for what it's worth, check out this June 13, 2011 letter from the PHMSA which lists some "inadequacies" it found with Spectra's procedures:

PHMSA letter to Spectra

Industry watchdogs also point out that the 30-inch pipeline Spectra wants to build is similar in size to the one that exploded in San Bruno, CA, where four people died and over 50 were injured last September.

So now a company that some say has a spotty safety record wants to run one of those things right into congested downtown Manhattan?! Why, if you look on this map, the blast area would do some serious damage to... well, the Meatpacking District, which... On second thought, taking the long view, perhaps we should give Spectra the benefit of the doubt, right? Everybody makes mistakes, and the company has no doubt cleaned up its act after that last inspection. We say fast-track this project and see what happens! [Via Think Progress]