March 14th, 2014
Investigation Continues into the Kentucky Natural Gas Pipeline Under Investigation
A gigantic gas explosion in Adair County, Kentucky occurred this past February 13th
. The explosion was so massive that a crater 60 feet deep
was left behind. Two homes were totally destroyed and two people were hospitalized as a result. The explosion has brought attention to a significant safety problem affecting all of America, that is particularly serious in the Ohio Valley and its communities in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The public is only now learning that the federal regulating agency
for gas pipelines only has approximately 100 inspectors to handle 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States.
The government resources being devoted to the issue are woefully inadequate to the size of the problem, which, as this incident illustrates, can result in homes simply exploding with little or no warning.
Organizations like the Nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust
advocate stronger oversight of the companies and more specific guidelines about how often our compressed explosive gas lines have to be examined. It aptly compared the situation to a road system which instead of having a speed limit with a definite number on it just has a smiley face that says 'drive safe.' Given the risks of devastating injuries that can occur in these types of explosions, the inadequate safety regulations we currently have are not getting the companies to do the right thing. Accountability through greater enforcement, legal action and jury verdicts will be needed to wake these companies up to the scale of the problem.
Nothing less will do if we are going to influence large corporations like Chevron, Shell, Exxon, Chesapeake, and their like, to put the focus on the safety of local residents and workers in the gas drilling and distribution industries.