Now It Is 7 Fossil Fuel Accidents In 4 Days
Above photo: Chevron gas pipeline explosion in TX last November.
Seven fossil fuel disasters within four days this week terrorized hundreds of Americans. Bright glowing fireballs brightening night skies scarier than bombs; blown up homes while others rocked to their foundations; evacuations; injured, feared dead workers, derailed train leaking chemicals, and a toxic coal slurry covering at least six miles of waterway emptying into a major river, and a gas pipeline blowout preventer failure have left people running for their lives and countryside looking like a war zone.
Corporate-government’s intense human rights abuses against citizenry regarding health and safety escalated in oil- and gas-cursed states this week.
Monday evening, Feb. 10, a Hiland Partners LP gas pipeline exploded, causing a large fire south of Tioga in northwestern North Dakota.
The blast was so bright, it lit the night sky like the sun, according to Tioga Mayor Nathan Germundson, also a firefighter who responded.
As crews began responding, they saw a large glow south of town, so they knew it was a big blaze.
Hiland was ‘blowing’ hydrates, ice-like solids formed from a mixture of water and gas that can block pipeline flow, out of the pipeline, according to Kris Roberts of the North Dakota Department of Health Environmental Health Section.
Hiland Partners said the fire on the property it operates was extinguished and no third-party property was damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.
The pipeline was above ground at the point of ignition, Roberts said. It started in the “slug catcher,” a large diameter pipe with a hatch that allows workers to remove equipment used in a pipeline cleaning and inspecting process called pigging.
The Navy dumped thousands of gallons of oil contaminated waste-water into Puget Sound, blaming it on a failed pump.
Tom Danaher, spokesman for Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, said the Navy was using a pumping system on one of its piers to remove oily bilge water from a ship late Monday. An electrical ground prevented the pump from automatically shutting off when a 4,000 holding tank was filled. Because the operation was unattended, it took 20-30 minutes before naval staff realized that oil-contaminated waste-water was pouring into the sound, Danaher said in an interview Wednesday.
“So the pumps did not get the signal that the tank was full. The tank overflowed,” he said. “When the people on the pier saw the overflow, we stopped all pumping and started our clean up.”
The cleanup expanded Wednesday with deployment of surveyors walking the beaches around Hood Canal where the spill occurred, Danaher said.
Initially, the Navy indicated 150-200 gallons had spilled. Since then, only after shown photos of the oil mess, the unified spill command – including the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology – agreed the amount leaked was nearly 2,000 gallons.
Tuesday, Feb. 11, the worst fear fossil fuel workers imagine occurred when a Chevron fracking well exploded near the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. It injured one worker, likely killed another, and continues to spew a massive amount of chemicals into the air for at least 15 miles that four days later, is still impacted, despite what the corporation and some officials say.
“This is not your standard well fire. It’s bigger,” officials report.
The explosion rocked residents’ houses and set a huge blaze seen for miles, still alight and so hot, responders have been unable to get near it.
“I can see the gas well fire in Bobtown from my house… like 10 miles away,” tweeted Jesse Vihlidal @JesseVihlidal, adding hashtags, “#scary” and ” #gasland.”
Wednesday, as far as Morgantown, West Virginia 14 miles south, the smog from the north as winds blew south, was so heavy, many were absent from work, some attributing the absenteeism to the spreading volatile gas plume — that officials say is not hazardous to humans.
No emergency provisions were on site. The wild well was so unique and huge, Chevron has Houston-based company Wild Well Control to attempt to halt the massive gas fire, larger than most other such fires.
“We’re being told … the site itself, that fire, will not be contained and we will not have access to that property for at least a few days,” Trooper Stefani Plume said Tuesday.
Wild Well specialists say, however, they will cap the well. Officials have voiced concern about plugging the well, fearing gas pressure below might migrate to other areas and cause further serious damage. Residents also remain fearful.
“Location of well pads….school yards? right next to homes? Any gas well can go wrong-why do they need companies like Wild Well Control if it is perfectly safe?” asks Victoria Switzer in a comment Thursday. “Are folks being told the real danger or risk of gas wells in their yards? Is signing a gas lease a waiver. I am still waiting for the gas industry to be honest and share the list of inherent risks associated with gas extraction, production and transportation.
“Other than this site, I have seen very little coverage of this event but I have sure seen a lot of glossy ads on tv showing the wonders of natural gas.”
Also Tuesday, Feb. 11, near the same time that Chevron’s frack well exploded in Bobtown near West Virginia’s border, 150 miles south, a Patriot Coal company slurry line at southern West Virginia’s Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant ruptured and spilled a highly toxic byproduct from the coal mining and preparation process into a creek feeding the Kanawha River, blackening a 6-mile stretch down one waterway.
Over 100,000 gallons of slurry spilled. West Virginia state officials are monitoring potential impacts on public health and the local water supply, along with Freedom Industries’ chemical leak that continues to prevent safe water for 300,000 residents.
Officials initially dismissed this event as not significant. Now, however, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials say it is ”significant” and are comparing it to Freedom Industries’ coal chemical spill into the Elk River.
Coal slurry contains substances more toxic than Crude MCHM or polyethylene glycol already contaminating over nine counties from the Freedom Industries event over a month ago.
Coal slurry contains heavy metals, like iron, manganese, aluminum and selenium.
Wednesday Feb 13, a gas pipeline 20-30 feet underground, exploded in Kentucky just after 2:00 A.M. CST, sending two people to hospital, forcing evacuation of 20 homes, leaving a 60-foot crater, and two homes totally destroyed. The violent explosion rocked homes to their foundations.
“All the sudden, the house shook and everything lit up like daylight, so we ran to the window and looked out and all we saw was this big ball of fire,” said military veteran Bill Kingdollar, who lives about a quarter mile from the blast site. “It looked like a warzone. I’ve never seen anything like that.
“I’ve told you I spent 20 years in the military and I’ve never seen a fireball or anything like that,” he said. “It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Everything shook. The ground shook. The windows shook. Everything was shaking including me because you don’t know what’s going on.“
This disaster occurred in Adair County, near Highway 76 in Knifley south of Louisville. The gas pipeline transports natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico to New York.
The first call came in at about 1:04 A.M. CST when residents heard and felt rumbling under their feet, said Adair County Emergency Management Agency director Greg Thomas. Then came the explosion and a ball of fire, he said.
Three homes, two barns, and six vehicles caught fire after the blast, he said. Two of homes were completely destroyed.
“There is now a crater 60 feet deep and it blew rocks out, and I don’t mean pebbles … big rocks,” and a 20- to 30-foot section of pipe was thrown over 300 feet.
After the explosion, 20 homes were evacuated. By 1:30 p.m. all fires had been extinguished and the evacuation order lifted allowing residents to return to their homes, he said.
Columbia Gulf Transmission detected a drop in gas pressure in the pipe at the time of the explosion. Officials determined the pipe ruptured.
Update for North Carolina (from the Huffington Post):
EDEN, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy says a second pipe under a coal ash dump in North Carolina is not in immediate danger of collapse, despite concerns from state regulators that the pipe could fail and trigger another toxic spill into the Dan River.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Friday that video taken inside the pipe shows potentially contaminated water leaking in through gaps and then out into the river.
Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan says the company’s assessment is that “no immediate action” is necessary. The state has given Duke 10 days to come up with a plan to fix the leaks.
The third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history was triggered Feb. 2 when a similar pipe at Duke’s dump collapsed.