Natural Gas pipelines explode with alarming frequency in the US, killing and injuring people, and causing millions of dollars in damage. Interstate pipelines are permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has approved all but one pipeline over the past 30 years, and routinely rejects legitimate concerns raised by impacted communities.
In just 2015 to 2017, there were 12 deaths and 10 injuries reported from natural gas pipelines in the US. Pipeline explosions also cause millions of dollars in damage and evacuations. This list does not include the many injuries, deaths, and extensive property damage reported from natural gas explosions reported at homes, apartment buildings, businesses, from local natural gas infrastructure.
From June 2015 to June 2017, the following incidents have been documented
February 17, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan in Refugio Texas exploded creating a massive fire. The explosion shook homes 60 miles away.
February 10, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by Phillips 66 Pipeline in St. Charles Parish, LA exploded, injuring 3 workers.
February 1, 2017: A DCP pipeline in Panola County TX exploded and created a crater in an airport runway, shutting down the airport for a month. (Editor’s Note 1/13/20: Two stories no longer available online)
January 17, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by DCP Midstream exploded in Spearman, TX, which led to multiple fire crews being called to the scene.
August 20, 2016: 10 people in New Mexico were killed when they were camping near an underground natural gas pipeline operated by El Paso Energy that suddenly exploded.
April 18, 2016: 2 workers were killed when they struck a pipeline at the Southcross Gas Processing Plant in Bonnie View, TX.
April 29, 2016: A 30-inch pipeline in Salem Township, operated by Spectra, exploded, severely injured a worker, and caused the evacuation of local businesses and homes.
January 9, 2016: A 30-inch pipeline operated by Atmos Energy in Robertson County, TX exploded and forced the evacuation of several families.
August 26, 2015: Two workers were injured when a Boardwalk/Gulf South Pipeline Co underwater pipeline off the coast of Louisiana ruptured and exploded.
June 27, 2015: Four workers were injured when a pipeline exploded at a gas booster station in White Deer Texas.
June 17, 2015: A pipeline operated by Energy Transfer Partners ruptured in Cuero, TX and caused a massive blaze and the evacuation of 7 families. 165,732 pounds of volatile organic compounds may have burned.
The incidents documented above represent a continuation of and ongoing trend of repeated natural gas pipeline disasters in the US
From 2010 to 2016 — Gas companies reported 35 explosions and 32 ignitions at their transmission pipelines, according to federal records. The explosion killed 17 people and injured 86. A September 2010 explosion in San Bruno, Calif., killed eight and injured 51 people.
Dangers From Liquified Gas
In addition to pipeline explosions, there are risks from compressor stations and liquefied natural gas export facilities, including a 2014 explosion at a rural Washington State LNG storage facility that injured several workers and resulted in evacuations. The explosion called into question the safety of LNG storage facilities located near population centers nationally.