Stopping Terrorists (And Idiots)

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El Paso Electric has installed a sophisticated monitoring system on 11 miles of one of its natural-gas pipelines in southeast Houston.

ThreatScan, which is a GE product, "has been specifically developed to provide pipeline operators the means to reliably determine when and where their pipeline has been struck," according to the company.

It's the first of its kind in Texas.

So is EPE expecting some sort of terrorist attack out near Pasadena?


Instead, the sophisticated system is designed to detect that standard bane of pipelines, idiot contractors who dig without checking whether there's flammable natural gas flowing just inches away from their backhoe blade.

"It senses if someone hits a pipeline and let's the monitoring operation know the pipeline's been hit," says EPE spokesman Robert Newberry.

So no heightened chatter amongst terror cells led to the installation?

"No," he says. "It was mostly GE trying to sell a product. And we try to be as safe as we can in whatever we do, of course."

-- Richard Connelly

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