Monthly Archives: May 2014

Methane explosion in Escambia County Jail in Pensacola, FL

Two dead, more than 100 injured, 600 evacuated. Somebody investigated this one.

Michael Pearson, John Murgatroyd and Ed Lavandera, CNN, 1 May 2014, ‘Complete destruction’: 2 die, dozens hurt as explosion shatters Florida jail,

Everyone was accounted for after a powerful explosion ripped through the Escambia County Jail in Florida’s Panhandle and killed two inmates, Sheriff David Morgan said Thursday.

Morgan said a “be on the lookout” message was issued Continue reading Methane explosion in Escambia County Jail in Pensacola, FL

Duke gas plants to be fueled by Sabal Trail fracked methane

Tuesday May 27th Duke plans to file with FL PSC for approval to use Sabal Trail fracked methane at its former Crystal River nuclear site in Citrus County, Florida, and apparently for two other Duke plants in Suwannee County and Polk County. The Citrus County Commissioners have a Comprehensive Plan change for Duke on their agenda for that same day, May 27th, for a Public Hearing June 10th.

We already knew last December that Duke’s usual spokesman said Sabal Trail “plans to provide the gas” for Duke’s plant, which explains why Sabal Trail proposed last November a Citrus County Pipeline that goes right to Duke’s site. And now we have further confirmation.

Sabal Trail’s current top news story is by Robby Douglas in Citrus Daily 15 May 2014, Duke to build natural gas plant here, close coal plants, Continue reading Duke gas plants to be fueled by Sabal Trail fracked methane

LNG export to Europe with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?

More “free trade” LNG export destinations from Florida will open up if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) passes, to the 28 EU member countries:

Many of those countries currently get fracked gas from Russia:

Continue reading LNG export to Europe with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?

Where are Floridian LNG and FLiNG Energy?

Where is FLiNG Energy and its “partners in Indiantown” that it expects to help it quadruple its LNG capacity in the first quarter of 2016? All along FPL’s pipeline to the sea, and PCBs, too. So convenient for LNG export from the proposed Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline!

FLiNG Energy lists its contact address as 15328 SW Warfield Blvd. Indiantown, FL 34956. That’s this unassuming storefront that google maps shows with “Indiantown Realty” on the front: Continue reading Where are Floridian LNG and FLiNG Energy?

Williams Transco explosion in Appomattox Virginia 2008-11-14

Almost $1 million PHMSA fine to Williams Transco for safety regulation violations that let corrosion continue until a pipeline exploded near Appomattox, Virginia in 2008, taking out two homes and injuring five people, with local and state governments footing the bill as usual for the pipeline company failure. Yet Transco let much the same thing happen again in 2011 in Marengo County, Virginia, after which even PHMSA said “Transco has a history of cathodic protection [corrosion] concerns on other segments.”

The Lynchburg News & Advance wrote 11 August 2009, Company fined in Appomattox pipeline explosion, Continue reading Williams Transco explosion in Appomattox Virginia 2008-11-14

Pipeline accident risk in Florida springs heartland: go solar instead

Springs before pipelines, say board members of Our Santa Fe River in central Florida, and let’s get on with clean solar power.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Jim Tatum wrote for the Gainesville Sun 25 April 2014, Pipeline in springs heartland would be at risk for accidents,

Is another gas highway pipeline inevitable in our Florida springs heartland?

They quote FPL and note the unanimous October 2013 Florida Public Service Commission (FL PSC) approval of the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline project, including FL PSC Commissioner Julie Brown saying, “The need for this project is indisputable at this time.” Then they dispute that need. Continue reading Pipeline accident risk in Florida springs heartland: go solar instead

Pipeline compressor station map

How big is the U.S. pipeline network? 510,917 miles, according to PHMSA’s National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS).

According to the Q4 2010 newsletter of Pipeline Open Data Standarrd (, you can get this map of pipelines and compressor stations through PHMSA’s National Pipeline Mapping System. Should it be suprising when some of these compressor stations leak or some of this half-million miles of pipe explodes?

Has anybody ever heard of an exploding solar panel?


More Williams Company Surprise incidents

Apparently pipeline companies are the last to know that pipelines can be dangerous, even after Williams Co’s four strikes this year. Maybe they should stop believing their own propaganda. And why do pipeline companies get four strikes and they’re still not out, anyway?

Dory Hippauf wrote for No Fracking Way 8 May 2014 Williams Co Has Gomer Pyle Moment,

Recently, the Williams Company, the 4th largest pipeline operator in the US, experienced 3 accidents in rapid succession between Feb-Apr 2014.

As reported by Bloomberg news “Williams Reviews Safety After Fire, Explosions at Gas Plants“, May 1, 2014:

“Certainly, this has come as a big surprise to our organization,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong said on a conference call with analysts today. “We are conducting very thorough investigations into each incident to determine if there’s any common or root cause.”

Why it comes as a big surprise to CEO Armstrong is, well, surprising. It’s well known that pipelines and related infrastructure do have spills, leaks, fires and explosions resulting in property damage, injuries and deaths. At a time when fossil fuel corporations are expanding and building new infrastructures and pipelines, safety, not profits, should be the foremost consideration.

Follow the link for the list of Williams Co. incidents, which includes many more than these few big ones from 2014:
  1. PHMSA deputized Oregon PUC to investigate three-month Williams Co. methane leak, starting 10 January 2014
  2. Williams fire and explosion near Plymouth, WA 2014-03-31
  3. Williams Oak Grove explosion in Marshall County, WV 2014-04-05
  4. Williams explosion and fire, Opal, WY 2014-04-23

That’s four “abnormal operations” or accidents so far in 2014 alone. In baseball only three strikes and Williams would be out. Why does a pipeline company get nothing but PR out of all this?

What’s an actual accident or “abnormal operations” anyway? PHMSA uses definitions from the American Petroleum Institute (API), and requires pipeline operators to put out propaganda according to API guidelines. Maybe Williams CEO Alan Armstrong actually believed that API propaganda.

The No Fracking Way article also notes:

According to Tom Droege, Williams Co. spokesperson, as stated in an email, over the last five years, Williams has had a lower rate of incidents on its pipelines than the industry average, he said, citing federal statistics.

Hm, so if Williams has fewer than the industry average, where does Spectra rank?

Droege failed to mention the industrial average was 1.6 pipeline incidents per day, so what does a “lower rate of incidents” really mean?

And who ever heard of a solar panel leak or explosion? What say we cancel the pipeline and go straight to faster, cheaper, safer, job-creating solar power.


PHMSA abnormal vs. accident

Apparently an actual fire or explosion may (or may not) count as an accident according to PHMSA, but there’s a huge gap in PHMSA’s definitions: they don’t seem to say they apply to methane. And guess whose Public Awareness Program PHMSA requires pipeline operators to follow?

According to PHMSA’s Glossary and Definitions,


A release of the hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide transported that results in any of the following:
  1. explosion or fire not intentionally set by the operator.
  2. release of Continue reading PHMSA abnormal vs. accident

Ohio town fracked by well leak

A fossil fuel needle desperately trying to get another fix hit an artery and leaked oily mud and methane into a creek near Beverly, Ohio, forcing evacuation of people nearby. Once again, state agencies had to deal with a problem caused by a private company. This collateral damage drew in yet another fracking opponent, this time one founded by an opponent of the first Superfund.

Dean Narciso wrote for the Columbus Dispatch 8 May 2014, Shale well leaks during drilling process, forcing evacuations in Morgan County,

A Morgan County shale well being drilled in preparation for fracking began leaking on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents.

State and federal environmental emergency-response teams and the drilling company finally contained the mess yesterday, but not before it reached a nearby creek.

The leak was discovered Continue reading Ohio town fracked by well leak