Seven fossil fuel disasters within four days this week terrorized hundreds of Americans. Bright glowing fireballs brightening night skies scarier than bombs; blown up homes while others rocked to their foundations; evacuations; injured, feared dead workers, derailed train leaking chemicals, and a toxic coal slurry covering at least six miles of waterway emptying into a major river, and a gas pipeline blowout preventer failure have left people running for their lives and countryside looking like a war zone.
Corporate-government's intense human rights abuses against citizenry regarding health and safety escalated in oil- and gas-cursed states this week.
Hiland Partners Pipeline Explosion, North Dakota
Monday evening, Feb. 10, a Hiland Partners LP gas pipeline exploded, causing a large fire south of Tioga in northwestern North Dakota.
The blast was so bright, it lit the night sky like the sun, according to Tioga Mayor Nathan Germundson, also a firefighter who responded.
As crews began responding, they saw a large glow south of town, so they knew it was a big blaze.
Hiland was ‘blowing’ hydrates, ice-like solids formed from a mixture of water and gas that can block pipeline flow, out of the pipeline, according to Kris Roberts of the North Dakota Department of Health Environmental Health Section.
Hiland Partners said the fire on the property it operates was extinguished and no third-party property was damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.
The pipeline was above ground at the point of ignition, Roberts said. It started in the “slug catcher,” a large diameter pipe with a hatch that allows workers to remove equipment used in a pipeline cleaning and inspecting process called pigging.
Navy Dumps 2,000 Gallons Oily Contaminated Waste Water, Puget Sound
The Navy dumped thousands of gallons of oil contaminated waste-water into Puget Sound, blaming it on a failed pump.
Tom Danaher, spokesman for Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, said the Navy was using a pumping system on one of its piers to remove oily bilge water from a ship late Monday. An electrical ground prevented the pump from automatically shutting off when a 4,000 holding tank was filled. Because the operation was unattended, it took 20-30 minutes before naval staff realized that oil-contaminated waste-water was pouring into the sound, Danaher said in an interview Wednesday.
“So the pumps did not get the signal that the tank was full. The tank overflowed,” he said. “When the people on the pier saw the overflow, we stopped all pumping and started our clean up.”
The cleanup expanded Wednesday with deployment of surveyors walking the beaches around Hood Canal where the spill occurred, Danaher said.
Initially, the Navy indicated 150-200 gallons had spilled. Since then, only after shown photos of the oil mess, the unified spill command – including the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology – agreed the amount leaked was nearly 2,000 gallons.
Chevron fracking well explosion sets blaze, injuring one, one feared dead: Penn.-West Virginia Border Town
Tuesday, Feb. 11, the worst fear fossil fuel workers imagine occurred when a Chevron fracking well exploded near the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. It injured one worker, likely killed another, and continues to spew a massive amount of chemicals into the air for at least 15 miles that four days later, is still impacted, despite what the corporation and some officials say.
“This is not your standard well fire. It’s bigger,” officials report.
The explosion rocked residents’ houses and set a huge blaze seen for miles, still alight and so hot, responders have been unable to get near it.
“I can see the gas well fire in Bobtown from my house… like 10 miles away,” tweeted Jesse Vihlidal @JesseVihlidal, adding hashtags, “#scary” and ” #gasland.”
Wednesday, as far as Morgantown, West Virginia 14 miles south, the smog from the north as winds blew south, was so heavy, many were absent from work, some attributing the absenteeism to the spreading volatile gas plume — that officials say is not hazardous to humans.
No emergency provisions were on site. The wild well was so unique and huge, Chevron has Houston-based company Wild Well Control to attempt to halt the massive gas fire, larger than most other such fires.
“We’re being told … the site itself, that fire, will not be contained and we will not have access to that property for at least a few days,” Trooper Stefani Plume said Tuesday.
Wild Well specialists say, however, they will cap the well. Officials have voiced concern about plugging the well, fearing gas pressure below might migrate to other areas and cause further serious damage. Residents also remain fearful.
“Location of well pads….school yards? right next to homes? Any gas well can go wrong-why do they need companies like Wild Well Control if it is perfectly safe?” asks Victoria Switzer in a comment Thursday. “Are folks being told the real danger or risk of gas wells in their yards? Is signing a gas lease a waiver. I am still waiting for the gas industry to be honest and share the list of inherent risks associated with gas extraction, production and transportation.
“Other than this site, I have seen very little coverage of this event but I have sure seen a lot of glossy ads on tv showing the wonders of natural gas.”
Patriot Coal Co. slurry line ruptured, sent black toxic crud 6 miles into river: West Virginia
Also Tuesday, Feb. 11, near the same time that Chevron’s frack well exploded in Bobtown near West Virginia’s border, 150 miles south, a Patriot Coal company slurry line at southern West Virginia’s Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant ruptured and spilled a highly toxic byproduct from the coal mining and preparation process into a creek feeding the Kanawha River, blackening a 6-mile stretch down one waterway.
Over 100,000 gallons of slurry spilled. West Virginia state officials are monitoring potential impacts on public health and the local water supply, along with Freedom Industries’ chemical leak that continues to prevent safe water for 300,000 residents.
Officials initially dismissed this event as not significant. Now, however, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials say it is ”significant” and are comparing it to Freedom Industries’ coal chemical spill into the Elk River.
Coal slurry contains substances more toxic than Crude MCHM or polyethylene glycol already contaminating over nine counties from the Freedom Industries event over a month ago.
Coal slurry contains heavy metals, like iron, manganese, aluminum and selenium.
Gas oipeline explodes: Kentucky
Wednesday Feb 13, a gas pipeline 20-30 feet underground, exploded in Kentucky just after 2:00 A.M. CST, sending two people to hospital, forcing evacuation of 20 homes, leaving a 60-foot crater, and two homes totally destroyed. The violent explosion rocked homes to their foundations.
“All the sudden, the house shook and everything lit up like daylight, so we ran to the window and looked out and all we saw was this big ball of fire,” said military veteran Bill Kingdollar, who lives about a quarter mile from the blast site. “It looked like a warzone. I’ve never seen anything like that.
“I’ve told you I spent 20 years in the military and I’ve never seen a fireball or anything like that,” he said. “It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Everything shook. The ground shook. The windows shook. Everything was shaking including me because you don’t know what’s going on.“
This disaster occurred in Adair County, near Highway 76 in Knifley south of Louisville. The gas pipeline transports natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico to New York.
The first call came in at about 1:04 A.M. CST when residents heard and felt rumbling under their feet, said Adair County Emergency Management Agency director Greg Thomas. Then came the explosion and a ball of fire, he said.
Three homes, two barns, and six vehicles caught fire after the blast, he said. Two of homes were completely destroyed.
“There is now a crater 60 feet deep and it blew rocks out, and I don’t mean pebbles … big rocks,” and a 20- to 30-foot section of pipe was thrown over 300 feet.
After the explosion, 20 homes were evacuated. By 1:30 p.m. all fires had been extinguished and the evacuation order lifted allowing residents to return to their homes, he said.
Columbia Gulf Transmission detected a drop in gas pressure in the pipe at the time of the explosion. Officials determined the pipe ruptured.
Nustar’s Norfolk Southern Train derails, crashes, spews 7,000 gallons crude plus propane near homes: Pennsylvania
Thursday, Feb. 13, 21 fossil fuel cars in NuStar’s Norfolk Southern train derailed, crashed in Pennsylvania, spewing 7,000 gallons of carcinogenic crude oil only two miles from dozens of homes.
“I heard a strange noise, a hollow, screeching sound,” said Ray Cochran, who watched the train derail from his home on a hill above the tracks. “I looked out the window and saw three or four tankers turn over and one of them ran into the building.”
The 120-car Norfolk train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed near Vandergrift, company officials confirmed Thursday.
In the cars that jumped track, 19 were carrying crude oil and two were carrying propane.
“We do have a lot of homes in close proximity. It could’ve been very tragic,” said Dan Stevens, a local public safety spokesman Thursday. “If it would’ve happened in a borough, we could’ve had a totally different situation.”
The train crashed into a track-side building owned by MSI Corporation that makes metal products. MSI refrained from comment.
This was the second fossil fuel oil train derailment in less than a month in Pennsylvania. A train hauling crude on a CSX Corp railroad jumped the tracks and nearly toppled over a bridge in Philadelphia on Jan. 20.
Whiting Oil and Gas company frac well in North Dakota blew out, sending workers running for their lives
Also on Thursday, Feb. 13, a Whiting Oil and Gas company frac well in North Dakota blew out of contro, sending 15 workers running for their lives in fear of an explosion. A blow out preventer failed. Around 10,000 gallons of poisonous fluid has been leaking from the wild well per hour.
The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) well blowout occurred when a blow out preventer (BOP) failed south of Watford City, about seven miles north of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit in North Dakota according to the Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.
The fifteen workers who ran from the well left their pickups at the site called McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office, said McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson. He directed a school bus in the area to pick up the workers.
“When that thing blows, you just never know,” Samuelson said. “There’s a possibility of explosion.”
The BOP seal leaked and caused the accident, according to Denver, Colorado-based Whting Oil and Gas company spokersperson Jack Ekstrom.
“It’s still a tad dangerous up there,” Kris Roberts, with the health department’s Division of Water Quality said mid-day Friday.
Bob Wisness, who lives about a mile from the well, said he saw what looked like a green vapor after the incident. He received a message from Whiting that a blowout occurred. Although Wisness didn’t feel he was in danger, he started texting friends who live near the site but were out of town, he said.
“There are well sites that are closer to people’s homes. I’m glad it’s not me. Other people have good reason to worry about it,” Wisness said.
While no immediate injuries were reported, the initial release sprayed oil and water on to snow that is on top of the ice-covered Cherry Creek, according to Helms.
“To the best of our knowledge, nothing has gotten into the water,” Helms said.
Whiting Oil and Gas claimed about 50 barrels of flowback water were released but contained on site within a berm.
Fracking had been completed at the well and the fluid released was a poisoned water-based solution that flows back to the surface. As much as one million gallons of water is used per well. The well continued releasing about 200 barrels of poisoned fluid per hour, about 10,000 gallons per hour. The company says the fluid was directed to tanks and contained on site, according to Ekstrom.
Crews from Wild Well Control were brought in to assist with the out-of-control well. Helms said the cause of the accident will be closely examined because blowouts carry serious health and safety risks. (Author’s emphasis.)
In 2012, a worker died when hit by pickup during the chaos after a blowout in Williams County, North Dakota.
190,000 residents without power in freezing conditions: North Carolina
Meanwhile, this week, on Nov. 13, dependent on “safe and efficient fossil fuels,” thousands of North Carolinians had no electricity in a winter storm that dropped snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Overall, customer outages have totaled over 500,000. It took some 3,400 Duke Energy crews working to restore power Thursday in the Carolinas.
“Some of our service territory took a hard blow from the storm,” said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy’s Carolinas Delivery Operations. “We are concentrating our efforts on assessing damage and working to restore power in these hard-hit areas.
Not one of the above events would have happened had the nation been proactive in the field of renewable energy.
Sources: NPR, Post Gazette, WLKY, Bizmark Tribune with special thanks to reader, RetiredPatriot, Before It’s News,