Gas Pipelines a Threat
Since 42 buildings were damaged by a natural gas pipeline explosion in Springfield the day after Thanksgiving, more gas leaks have occurred across the country, according to Natural Gas Watch.
In Richmond, Va. on Nov. 27, dozens of homes had to be evacuated because of a gas leak caused by the rupture of an old pipeline. In Cowley County, Kan. the next day, a natural gas leak closed a road for five hours. On Nov. 30 in Crawfordsville, Ind., a family had to evacuate its house because of a natural gas leak. A Pacific Gas and Electric gas pipeline ruptured on Dec. 1 near Stockton, Calif., forcing the evacuation of a six-block residential area. Witnesses said they saw a cloud above the pipeline, but no flames. In Sissonville, W. Va. on Dec. 13, a gas pipeline explosion sent five buildings up in flames.
Across the U.S., the aging of gas pipelines is blamed for frequent leaks and explosions. In Massachusetts, Rep. Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead has filed a bill requiring systematic pipeline inspections and a classification system for leaks that will force gas companies to repair those identified as dangerous (“A Bomb Under Our Streets,” December 6, 2012). “There are serious discussions underway in the Senate right now that make me hopeful we can get the bill passed by the end of the year/session,” Ehrlich told the Advocate in an e-mail just before press time.
In other news related to natural gas and oil development, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and four other states are preparing to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to address methane emissions from oil and gas extraction that is being carried on in nearby states. The EPA, say the states, has a responsibility to crack down on methane in order to enforce the Clean Air Act.•