My son was killed in a pipeline explosion –Paul W. McCorkle

A comment on Other Hazards 30 June 2014:

My son was killed in a pipeline explosion 7-5-10. There are many old lines that are only a few inches in the ground, because of years because of top cover erosion. A shallow covered gas line is more dangerous than an exposed one!!! This was the case of my accident. After the accident, several lines in my immediate area were found to be totally exposed!!! What about the ones that are not covered to the proper depth and are seldom inspected. The federal pipeline administration is a joke. They have no idea how to do their own investigation, the rely on the pipeline companies to tell them what happened or what to do. As it has been said, THE PIPELINE COMPANIES ARE FUNDING TO MUCH MONEY TO THE AGENCIES THAT REGULATE THEM.

Paul W. McCorkle

For those who have not heard about that very unfortunate event, wrote 5 July 2010, Pipeline explosion injures commissioner, kills son. See also Georgia pipeline safety record worse than in Florida, which has links to other incidents and to Pipeline Safety Tracker by ProPublica “Journalism in the Public Interest”.

Ben Bussard and Bianca Cain wrote for the Augusta Chronicle 5 July 2010, Fiery pipeline blast kills man: Crews wait for Thomson blaze to burn out,

A view taken from an Air Med helicopter shows the fire Monday from a gas line rupture near Stagecoach Road in Thomson, Ga.

And remember FERC is funded by the very utilities it regulates while the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) takes its basic definitions and publicity materials from the American Petroleum Institute.

One federal agency that does do real pipeline accident reports, including causes, is the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), if the accident happens to be near a federal highway, like Spectra’s April 1985 explosion in Beaumont, TX that “killed at least five people, gouged a 20 foot deep crater and flattened six buildings in a tiny community, igniting fires that were visible 20 miles away”.

Or Spectra’s March 1994 Durham Woods apartment fire in Edison, NJ, about which the New York Times wrote:

Scores of residents were hurt, one death was reported and dozens who fled had not been located by last night, though they were presumed to be alive. Officials said an earthen-wall shield between the blast and a nearby apartment complex, and a gap of 7 to 10 precious minutes before flames reached the complex, averted a disaster that might have cost many lives.

The enormous orange fireball and flames that roared out of control for hours sent 1,500 nearby residents fleeing in terror, leveled eight apartment buildings and damaged a half-dozen others, melted cars and playground swings, shook the ground for miles around and illuminated the night sky from New York to Pennsylvania.

Or thirty years and thirty miles from that Beaumont, KY explosion, MASSIVE BLAST in KY-60 foot crater-3 houses two barns destroyed, 30 foot section of 30″ pipe thrown 300 feet. Which “likely occurred near where Columbia Gulf delivers into Texas Eastern at a rarely used or winter only service interconnect in Adair County. Texas Eastern is owned by a unit of Spectra Energy.”

But what about all the other incidents and pipelines that don’t happen to be next to a federal highway?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to get on with solar and wind power, which don’t explode? By Spectra’s own numbers, solar would take half the acreage to produce as much power as that proposed pipeline. Solar power production is already increasing far faster than shale gas, and there are already more American jobs in the solar industry than in coal mining, or in production and non-supervisory jobs in oil and natural gas. Solar is going up like compound interest, like a rocket, and within a decade more U.S. power will come from solar than any other source.

Why waste resources on fossilized exploding power when we can go straight to clean, no-fuel, no-water solar power that doesn’t take anybody’s land and doesn’t explode?


One thought on “My son was killed in a pipeline explosion –Paul W. McCorkle

  1. The title to this article seems to be a bit incomplete. It should read “My son was killed in a pipeline explosion that I caused because I decided not to call 811 and have the pipeline marked for free so I would know where it was before excavating with my equipment.” – Paul W. McCorkle.

    It is an absolute tragedy that Mr. McCorkle’s son was lost in this incident, but it was completely preventable had Mr. McCorkle simply followed the law and called 811 before beginning his excavation. The pipeline company, in this case, was not at fault and their operations in this area are pro-active in identifying issues with the line and addressing them. Yes, I was there that day and responded to the emergency.

    Given the nature of this site I expect this comment will be removed rather quickly.

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