Monday, July 25, 2011

Danger: Pipelines

Pipeline in Bradford County, PA (2009)
Photo: Carol Manuel

If you are like me,  the millions of gas pipelines, a virtual web,  which lay beneath our feet have been no cause for concern in the past.  I never gave them a thought.  But now, gas pipelines have been more and more in the news as old ones explode and new ones have poor safety records.  Just Google pipeline accidents, and you will see what I mean.

It was reported in the Times Herald-Record online article July 23rd that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is investigating the Columbia Gas Transmission Line Company for a "possible pollution event" in Pike County, PA. The investigation will center around the Clean Streams Law.

Susan Beecher, executive director of the Pike County Conservation District, reports that there have been problems with this pipeline project from the very beginning.  Columbia is replacing a 14-inch diameter gas line installed in 1947 with new 20-inch pipes. So far at least 11 violations of the Clean Streams Law have been noted since June 27. 

Beecher asked the PA DEP to issue a compliance order to stop work on the project.  But that did not happen.  The DEP suggested that there be a conference to talk about the problem.  That took place July 8.  So now the Columbia Gas Company is making an effort to ensure more erosion control measures. I think it is troubling that gas companies get so many chances to fix accidents and are rarely fined.  When fines are levied, they are so small that it is a joke.


1 comment:

smurfette said...

I would think that public safety would have some bearing on the policies of our government. Silly me. I guess that campaign contributions from big oil and gas companies can soothe the conscience of many a politician. Once again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions (and regularly sprayed with frack fluid to keep the dust down).