White House seeks to reduce natural gas blowouts

Oil rigs aren’t the only combustible platforms that are prone to blowouts, accidents, and environmental disasters. Natural gas, as it expands its way across the country, is increasingly demonstrating its danger to workers and the community. The issues and science associated with fracking aside, natural gas blowouts are a regular and dangerous occurrence.

A natural gas blowout occurs when natural gas bursts through the storage cap. Much like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, natural gas blowouts are difficult to plug because they are difficult to detect, unless an explosion occurs, and difficult to track the leaks.

Natural gas can leak for months, sickening workers and the community before anyone notices that it is leaking. In response to the Canyon Aliso leak in California, the White House convened a task force which released a series of safety changes for all underground natural gas storage wells.

In total, the task force recommends 44 safety changes, including backup systems to prevent natural gas blowouts. The reason the Aliso Canyon leak went on for so long is that there was only one barrier between the storage well and release into the atmosphere.

If you suffered a workplace injury, then you may want to speak with an attorney. Handling natural gas is still very dangerous and requires extreme care from extraction to transportation and conversion into electricity. Pennsylvania is one of the hotbeds of natural gas extraction and, therefore, there are many workers still vulnerable to the effects of a natural gas blowout. A lawyer can go over the specifics of your injury and help you determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “White House report seeks to curtail natural gas blowouts,” Matthew Daly / Associated Press, October 18, 2016

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