Concerns over natural gas pipeline safety has been growing over the past few years, especially with the growing use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to obtain oil and natural gas across Missouri, Illinois, and the rest of our country. The unfortunate reality is that both fracking and natural gas pipelines used to transport natural gas and oil are fraught with various dangers. These dangers run the gamut from environmental risks to the threat of explosions and fires. While personal injury and wrongful death laws exist to help injured victims recover financial damages, it would be far better for everyone involved if preventable accidents didn’t happen in the first place. This means that improvements in natural gas pipeline safety are critical.
In late January, a pipeline in another state became the fifth to rupture in this still-new year, inspiring new concerns over the safety of America’s system of natural gas and oil pipelines. Those fears center mostly on weaknesses in the structures of the nation’s pipelines along with insufficient oversight of those pipelines. The most recent explosion took place along an area of pipeline carrying ethane away from a site drilling shale deposits.
The West Virginia pipeline rupture resulted in an explosion that did damage to both a home in the area and power lines, causing a fire that did not burn out for at least an hour. Fortunately, no one was injured in the explosion and fire. However, this dangerous incident could have easily gone very bad very quickly, harming if not ruining the lives of innocent residents in the vicinity.
Just days before this incident, a significant spill took place in North Dakota, resulting in the release of 3 million gallons of brine (a mix of water, salt, and chemicals that are generated during the fracking process), which leaked from a pipeline into two area creeks. That spill proved to be the biggest such incident in the state since fracking set off a natural gas and oil energy boom along the northern plains.
Several other ruptures have led to investigations in the states where they occurred, with a spill in Montana resulting in authorities reporting that parts of that specific pipeline were actually exposed to the elements on the riverbed, something while goes against federal rules requiring such pipes to be buried. The National Transportation Board has also stated that the failure of certain gas companies to inspect or test in a sufficient manner led to three highly publicized explosions from 2009 to 2012.
It seems clear that companies need to do more to improve natural gas pipeline safety. Our personal injury law firm can be contacted toll-free at 1-888-586-7041 by anyone who wishes to learn more about how they can seek financial compensation due to injuries from a gas explosion and fire. This can help with covering medical and other related expenses caused by injuries in such devastating incidents. It can also help the surviving family members of anyone who has tragically died in this type of accident.
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