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A large regional pipeline owned by Enbridge that carries natural gas from the Mexican border in Texas to New York City exploded in rural Kentucky early Thursday morning, killing one and injuring five others in what one resident described as a tornado of fire.CBS News reported that the explosion destroyed railroad tracks and several trailer homes causing tremendous damage in its vicinity — it was so big it could be seen by weather radar — and it took several hours to bring under control by local fire officials. Ironically, a pipeline safety bill cleared a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday — Democrats pushed for increased safety requirements after a similar explosion in Western Massachusetts killed a teenage boy last September.
Why This Matters: Natural gas is not as safe as the industry would want the public to believe – pipeline explosions are one of the major reasons why communities (even in red and purple states) fight their construction. There has been a pitched battle in neighboring states Virginia and North Carolina to block a pipeline that is being challenged in court. Enbridge is a Canadian company with a history of explosions and spills — according to the Sierra Club, Enbridge’s pipelines had more than 800 spills in the U.S. and Canada between 1999 and 2010, leaking 6.8 million gallons of oil. This record is deplorable and it begs the question why so many pipelines explode and what safety precautions are missing. Hopefully, the new legislation will tighten up the entire system – it needs it. Enbridge operates a network of pipelines across many regions of the United States and Canada.
Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota
Enbridge is proposing to expand its Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota, which has experienced many spills, both chronic small spills and large catastrophes.
Senator Markey said in a statement that the bill provides many major pipeline safety upgrades, including to:
Improve emergency response coordination with the public and first responders, ensuring information is shared and residents are not left in the dark
Require the use of qualified employees, such as professional engineers, to approve gas engineering plans or significant changes to the system
Promote best industry practices for holistic safety management
Mandate on-site monitoring of gas system pressure by qualified employees during construction so that a dangerous situation can be stopped before it happens
Require regulator stations – which are critical to preventing over-pressurizations – to be configured in such a way so that there are technological redundancies that can keep disasters from taking place
Ensure there are written procedures for responding to over-pressurization and managing changes to the pipeline system, the cause of the Merrimack Valley disaster, including maintenance of accurate, traceable, and reliable maps and records of the pipeline system
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Power plants won’t get a free pass from the Trump administration’s industry-friendly Affordable Clean Energy rule. A federal appeals court struck down the EPA’s proposed plan, which would have dramatically reduced regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. In the ruling, the court called the plan a “fundamental […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer President-elect Joe Biden is expected to implement an executive order to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on his first day in office. The story broke in CBC news, though they did not identify their sources. Apparently “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” was written on a transition briefing note […]
Wind power has overtaken coal as a proportion of Texas’s power for the first time and promises to continue growing. In 2020, wind power made up almost a quarter of Texas’s total power, compared to just 18% from coal.
Why This Matters: Texas is the nation’s largest producer of both wind energy and fossil fuel energy.
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