Long after the drilling rigs are gone a legacy of fracking is thousands of miles of pipelines, from huge transmission lines to small gathering lines, seizing land from residents and carving up the countryside, while the inevitable leaks and explosions provide a constant threat to the areas concerned. Continue reading
Man injured after pipeline explodes near his home in western Pa. (State Impact, April 2016) A man has been taken to the hospital with serious burns after a 30-inch interstate natural gas transmission pipeline exploded next to his home in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. About a dozen homes have been evacuated and a quarter mile evacuation zone remains in place. The explosion destroyed a home, torched a field and damaged several homes near by. A resident said it was so hot firefighters stayed in their truck and told him his house might have to burn down.
Fracked Gas Highways: Pipelines feed demand, rattle neighbors (Press Connects, February 2016) In the summer of 2012, lightning struck gas which was venting from a compressor station off Dunbar Road in Windsor, igniting a 10-story flame jetting from the hillside while people in nearby homes were evacuated, and since then there have been four fires and several close calls reported at five compressor stations that push fracking gas from Pennsylvania into the Millennium Pipeline
Pipelines: The new battleground over fracking (State Impact, April 2015) Pipeline wars are now raging in Pennsylvania, where Marcellus Shale energy companies are eager to dig new trenches and residents opposed to more drilling see pipeline proposals as the new battleground over fracking. Pennsylvania’s pipeline building boom includes an estimated 4,600 miles of new interstate pipes, tunneling under Pennsylvania’s farms, wetlands, waterways, and backyards. That’s on top of 6800 miles of existing interstate natural gas pipes.
Fresh water being trucked into Glendive, Mont., after almost 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil spills into Yellowstone River (Grand Forks Herald, January 2015) Truckloads of water are being brought into Glendive, Montana after a spill of close to 1,200 barrels of shale oil, roughly 50,000 gallons, has officials concerned about the town’s water supply. Montana officials have notified Sidney, Mont., and Williston, N.D., both downstream from the leak, and municipal water systems there are being tested for contamination, while elevated levels of hydrocarbons have been found in Glendive’s water supply.
Pipeline Explosion Pushes Residents Out Of Homes On Christmas Eve (KDKA , December 2014) About a dozen people had to spend Christmas Eve in a hotel, their car or a fire hall after a pipeline explosion in Washington County, Pennsylvania rocked their homes. The pipeline was transporting ethane derived from shale gas.
Shale gas pipeline developer threatens to seize land (Associated Press, December 2014) The developer of a 124-mile fracking pipeline from Pennsylvania into New York has threatened to seize land from reluctant landowners through eminent domain. A letter meant to “bully landowners … into waiving their property rights” tells landowners who have refused to sell rights of way for the Constitution Pipeline that they have until Wednesday to accept offered prices. After that, developers will take them to court to force such sales for possibly less money.
Gas pipeline expansion should alarm homeowners (Washington Post, October 2014) Homeowners and communities in the US are unprepared for an invasion of their cherished private yards and public spaces as an expansion of fracking infrastructure that threatens communities’ health, safety and homes. Beyond drilling wells, energy companies are building compressor stations and laying thousands of miles of pipelines. The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America has estimated that from 2011 to 2035 the industry must build nearly 15,000 miles of subsidiary lines — each year.
Danger Beneath: ‘Fracking’ Gas, Oil Pipes Threaten Rural Residents (NBC News, August 2014) A construction boom of pipelines carrying explosive oil and natural gas from “fracking” fields to market in the US — pipes that are bigger and more dangerous than their predecessors — poses a safety threat in rural areas, where they sometimes run within feet or yards of homes. The rapidly expanding network of pipes, known as “gathering lines,” carry oil and gas from fracking fields in many parts of the country to storage facilities and major “transmission lines” are subject to the same risks – corrosion, earthquakes, sabotage and construction accidents — as transmission lines.
Gas Pipeline Boom Fragmenting Pennsylvania’s Forests (InsideClimate News, December 2013) Pipelines to serve fracking cut paths through pristine stretches of trees, fragment forests, decrease biodiversity and introduce invasive species and it is estimated that more than 400,000 new miles of gathering lines will be installed in the US by 2035, dwarfing all previous waves of resource extraction combined
Pipeline construction in shale boom alters countryside (Columbus Dispatch, May 2013) The landscape is changing in rural Harrison County, Ohio as companies build pipelines to connect shale wells to massive new gas processing plants transforming the countryside, with the industry planning to spend $1 billion in just three Ohio counties on such developments
Study Finds Flaws in Pipeline Leak Detection Systems (New York Times, December 2012) A forthcoming federal report on pipeline safety has found that members of the general public are more likely to identify oil and gas spills than the pipeline companies’ own leak detection systems, which work only 16-17 percent of the time
Down the Pipe (Fort Worth Weekly, November 2011) When the drilling rigs are long gone, the dangers of gas pipelines will be just beginning, with more than 115 serious pipeline incidents in Texas between 2000 and 2009, which caused death, serious injury, or major property damage
Ruptured Pipeline Spills Oil Into Yellowstone River (New York Times, August 2011) An ExxonMobil pipeline running under the Yellowstone River in south central Montana ruptured, spilling crude oil into the river and forcing evacuations. The pipeline burst about 10 miles west of Billings, coating parts of the Yellowstone River that run past Laurel — a town of about 6,500 people downstream from the rupture — with shiny patches of oil. Fearing a possible explosion, officials in Laurel evacuated about 140 people on Saturday just after midnight, then allowed them to return at 4 a.m. after tests showed fumes from the leaked oil had dissipated
The Fire Down Below (Texas Observer, November 2010)* Driven by the shale gas-drilling boom in North Texas high-pressure natural gas pipelines are spreading across the state, with 360,000 miles laid already and more planned, and a series of huge gas-pipeline explosions causing injuries, deaths and destruction are the inevitable result
The moment workmen accidentally blew up a Texas gas pipeline, leaving one dead and seven injured (Daily Mail, June 2010) One worker was killed and seven others injured when an underground gas pipeline exploded in rural Texas, sending a massive fireball into the air, while heat from the blast forced firefighters to stay about a half-mile away until the gas flow was shut off