By JOAN LOWY
WASHINGTON (AP) - A government watchdog says the federal agency responsible for making sure states effectively oversee the safety of natural gas and other pipelines is failing to do its job.
In a report released Friday, the Transportation Department's inspector general says the federal effort is so riddled with weaknesses that it's not possible to ensure states are enforcing pipeline safety.
The report says the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration isn't ensuring that key state inspectors are properly trained, inspections are being conducted frequently enough and inspections target the most risky pipelines.
The findings come more than three years after a gas pipeline explosion and fire killed eight people, injured 58 and destroyed much of a subdivision south of San Francisco. Accident investigators cited weak state and federal oversight.
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