(Updated 9/11/18 1:20 PM EST) You may have seen in today’s news that there was huge explosion of a natural gas pipeline line in Beaver County’s Center Township around 5am EST this morning (9/10/18). A variety of news outlets are reporting details about the incident, which I have collected below. Please feel free to offer corrections or additional information via the comments section.
ACTION NOTICE: The Shell Falcon Ethane Pipeline is currently under consideration by the DEP and will travel within 2.5 miles of the reported site of the aforementioned natural gas explosion. Ethane is explosive at lower concentrations than methane (the primary ingredient in natural gas), and the pipeline would put local communities in serious danger. There is currently a campaign to petition the PA DEP to reject the permits for the Falcon Pipeline, and we need your help. Take action here: https://nopetropa.com/2018/08/27/falcon-pipeline-permit-resistance-round-2-call-to-action/ .
Location: According reporting by CBS news, this morning’s explosion apparently took place near Ivy Ln. and Broadhead Road in Center Township. This is about 3.42 miles away from the site of the Shell Ethane Cracker, currently under construction. CBS News also reported the following quote from Energy Transfer :
“We did experience an incident this morning on a 24-inch natural gas gathering line in Beaver County, Pa. There were no injuries. This incident, which occurred at approximately 5 a.m. eastern time was detected by our monitoring system, which triggered the closing of valves to isolate the line. By around 7 a.m., the fire on the pipeline had extinguished itself.
There were evacuations from several homes in the area. All the appropriate regulatory notifications have been made. We do not know the cause of the incident at this time; however, a thorough investigation will be conducted.”
WPXI reports showed a video of a house burning due to the explosion, accompanied by the following:
UPDATE: 7:35 a.m.: One home and two garages were destroyed, and multiple cars were burned when a natural gas line exploded early Monday morning in Center Township, officials said.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on power outages and highway closures:
In what officials say was “probably” related to the blast, six high-voltage towers were knocked down in the area of Bunker Hill Road, which runs alongside Interstate 376. As a precaution, authorities initially closed one lane of the highway before PennDOT shut down the entire thoroughfare in both directions shortly after 7 a.m. The highway reopened by noon.
No injuries were reported from the downed lines. About 1,500 are without power in the Center Township area, Chief Kramer said.
The Post-Gazette also reported that the explosion may have been triggered by a landslide:
A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Corp. said that while an investigation is underway, officials believe a landslide may have ruptured the line.
State Impact recently reported some helpful details about the pipeline:
The pipeline, known at the Revolution line, originates in northern Butler County, and began operating on September 3, according to Center Township police chief Barry Kramer. The 100-mile long line was built to supply the company’s Rover pipeline, and Mariner East 2 lines. Both of those lines have been delayed by construction mishaps and environmental violations. The company completed construction on the line in February.
KDKA CBS Pittsburgh brought up environmental concerns in their article, “Gas Pipeline Explosion Puts Spotlight On Environmental Concerns,” noting:
In the past two years, KDKA-TV has reported extensively on the cross-state Mariner East II pipeline being constructed by Energy Transfer, the same Dallas-based company that owns the pipeline that ruptured in Beaver County on Monday morning.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has cited the $2.5 billion project for more than 50 spills and leaks that have fouled streams and tainted water wells, twice ordering the project shut down for what it calls “egregious and willful violations.”
The state Public Utilities Commission will be conducting its own investigation into the explosion, and more fines and citations are anticipated.
The incident will also raise public concern to a new level and put pressure on the state for tighter scrutiny of these pipeline projects going forward.
The Daily Local News out of West Chester County reported on statements by local politicians calling for a “halt to pipeline construction in light of gas explosion.” State Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168, State Sen. Andy Dinniman, and State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26 each gave strong statements seeking the shut down of construction of the Mariner II East Pipeline until a range of concerns could be addressed. The article closes with a quote from Food and Water Watch:
Sam Rubin, of Food & Water Watch is not a pipeline fan.
“Today’s explosion on Energy Transfer Partner’s brand new mid-stream line in Beaver County is a terrifying reminder that pipelines fail,” Rubin said. “Communities across the state face similar risks if the Mariner East 2 pipeline becomes operational.
“Governor Tom Wolf has utterly failed to protect public safety so far, but there is still time to avoid catastrophe by stopping Sunoco’s Mariner pipeline right now.”
Additional reporting at:
- CNN – Natural gas line explosion leads to evacuations in western Pennsylvania town
- KDKA – Center Twp. Residents Evacuated After Gas Pipeline Explosion, Fire
- WTAE Action News 4 – ‘I thought it was a plane that crashed’: Homes evacuated after Beaver County gas line explosion
- Trib Live – Early-morning gas pipeline blast forces evacuations in Beaver County