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4th Massive Pipeline Incident of the Month, This Time in WV

“…flames hundreds of feet into the air…”

For the fourth time this month, a major mishap has occurred at a U.S. pipeline; this time, in Brooke County, West Virginia.

On Monday morning, an ethane pipeline owned by the Texas-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. exploded, sending huge fireballs hundreds of feet into the air. No one was injured in the explosion, but power lines and a nearby house were damaged by the resulting flames.

As of Wednesday, Enterprise Products Partners has yet to determine the cause of the explosion, although officials did acknowledge that workers had noted an “abnormal pressure drop” before the pipe ruptured.

The ruptured section of pipe is part of a massive multi-state pipeline called the Appalachia-to-Texas Express, or ATEX. The 1,265-mile pipeline originates in Washington County, PA, and stretches all the way down to a complex owned by EPP in Mont Belvieu, TX.

This isn’t the first time that an EPP-owned project has gone up in flames.

Back in 2012, EPP and the Mid-America Pipeline Company LLC (MAPCO) had to pay more than $1 million dollars in civil penalties for three separate pipeline ruptures along a different multi-state project, the 2,769-mile West Red Pipeline:

  • A March 29, 2007, rupture in Nebraska caused the discharge of about 1,669 barrels of natural gas straight into Otoe Creek.
  • A rupture on April 23, 2010, in Kansas resulted in about 1,760 barrels of natural gasoline flowing into Cole Creek, Buckeye Creek and the Solomon River.
  • An Aug. 13, 2011, rupture in Iowa ended up discharging about 818 barrels of natural gas directly into the Missouri River.

This is the fourth major mishap at an American pipeline in January 2015 alone.

As ThinkProgress noted, the explosion is just another in a series of massive pipeline mishaps in the last four weeks.

Earlier this month, a gas pipeline in Mississippi operated by GulfSouth Pipeline exploded, rattling residents’ windows and causing a smoke plume large enough to register on National Weather Service radar screens. On Jan. 17, a pipeline owned by Bridger Pipeline LLC in Montana spilled up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River, a spill that left thousands of Montanans without drinkable tap water. Just a few days later, on Jan. 22, it was discovered that 3 million gallons of saltwater drilling waste had spilled from a North Dakota pipeline earlier in the month. That spill was widely deemed the state’s largest contaminant release into the environment since the North Dakota oil boom began.

Hmmm… maybe these enormous pipelines are a teensy bit fucking dangerous!

If you’d like to ask EPP what they plan on doing to remedy this situation, we strongly encourage you to contact them at 713-381-6500 (although you may get through quicker if you use the “Investors” line at 866-230-0745). EPP’s website is here.

Check out out latest #NoKXL video and join the fight to stop it here.

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