February 1st, 2018

180201 nobel county burning pipeline

To all the people who dismiss spills as a minor concern when considering the hazards associated with fracking, take a close look at the photo above. This is what an exploding fossil gas pipeline looks like at 2:30 in the morning. Erin O’Neil, reporting in Pipeline explodes in Noble County for my hometown newspaper, writes:

Residents of Noble County were shaken early Wednesday morning when part of a pipeline exploded in a remote field along Ohio 513, about three miles north of Summerfield.

According to a press release from the Noble County EMA, at approximately 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, many area residents reported an explosion and fire to the 911 Center. Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department, Belle Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Caldwell Volunteer Fire Company, United Ambulance and the Noble County Sheriff’s Office were all sent to the scene as the Noble County EMA was notified.

O’Neil continues:

The pipeline has been identified as the 24-inch Seneca Lateral operated by Tallgrass Energy, which was working on the scene with local responders. Tallgrass notified the appropriate authorities and activated an investigative team, expected to arrive late Wednesday. Tallgrass is working cooperatively with local and state agencies and regulators, according to Noble EMA, to ensure the safety of the general public as the investigation continues.

Fortunately there were no fatalities or injuries. This time.

The Sierra Club, which initially identified the Rover pipeline as the source, issued a correction:Early this morning, the Tallgrass Seneca Lateral pipeline exploded. There were no injuries or deaths as a result of the pipeline, and five fire station crews were able to successfully extinguish the fire.

Sierra Club’s original statement about this event incorrectly attributed it to the Rover Seneca Lateral Pipeline and as being connected to Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover Pipeline project. Sierra Club apologizes for this error.

In response, Sierra Club Ohio Director Jen Miller released the following statement:

“We are extremely relieved that no one was physically injured as a result of this pipeline explosion, and we express our gratitude to the first responders whose bravery kept everyone safe. The devastation caused has not yet been fully measured. Enough is enough. Fracked gas pipelines are dirty, dangerous, and not needed, and it’s past time that we stop any more of these projects from being constructed.

Nobel Country is immediately north of my boyhood home Washington Country. As a staff sergeant in D-Battery of the 2/174 ADA, I often trained in the abandoned pit mines around Caldwell. The terrain is open and sparsely populated. When this happens along one of the sections of the Rover pipeline that are within feet of homes, the aftermath will likely be far more tragic.

Anyone who believes that the long-term dangers of fracking and the infrastructure necessary to support the extraction of fossil gas are worth the short-term economic bumps is a liar, a fool or, most likely, a bit of both.

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