A pipeline explosion in the United States on Monday has forced the Governer of Alabama, Robert Bentley, to declare a state of emergency. The pipeline explosion killed one and injured six workers. The subsequent fire as a result of the explosion has caused damage to what is known as the Colonial Pipeline which delivers gasoline to millions of customers. The South and Eastern United States regions will face gas price hikes and some will face shortages due to the pipeline's damage. The shutdown will affect 13 states.
The accident happened on October 31st, 2016, when a contractor struck a 36" below ground transmission gasoline pipeline. Repairs were being done on the pipeline after a previous pipeline rupture on September 9th, 2016. The previous rupture caused a big gas leak that was considered to be the pipelines biggest leak in 20 years.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the six injured workers and with the family of the fatally injured worker. An accident of this magnitude is tough for any community to deal with, and I want to personally thank the local first responders for their immediate assistance to this accident, as well as the first responders from surrounding counties," said Governer Bentley.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is now monitoring the air where the explosion occurred to ensure that the area is safe and not contaminated. It is the gasoline line that was ruptured, however, the other transmission lines are still operational, which deliver diesel, jet fuel, and other petroleum products. The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels of fuel a day - that fuel delivery is what has been delayed due to the explosion.
The State of Emergency will last until December 1st, 2016.
The pipeline explosion is not good news for the Energy Transfer Partners.The company is trying to emphasize the safety of oil pipelines to persuade the public that the Dakota Access Pipeline should be built. They have been assembling the pipeline that is to span four states wide. It will reportedly cost $3.8 billion and will transport 470,000 barrels of "light sweet crude oil" from North Dakota, all the way to Patoka, Illinois, twenty-four hours a day. The pipeline has been protested against for months. Business Insider confirms that since 1995, there have been 2,000 "significant" oil and gas pipeline accidents. They also reported that from 2013 to 2015, more than one hundred accidents happened every year. The Colonial Pipeline accidents have shown that human error very much an area of concern for the pipelines.
Here is footage of the Colonial Pipeline's damage and the subsequent fire that ensued: