Pennsylvania has an extensive network of pipelines carrying natural gas and other volatile liquids and gasses from one end of the state to the other. And there are many more being proposed to continue the sales and consumption of these legacy fuels. This building boom could expand the nation’s and perhaps the world’s, supply of natural gas, including an estimated 4,600 miles of new interstate pipes, tunneling under farms, wetlands, waterways, and yes, our backyards.
Even when it comes to interstate pipelines, the large ones that carry lots of gas at high pressures across multiple states, are only required to be mapped within 500 feet of accuracy. Even if your house falls within its blast range. Or your child’s school. Pennsylvania expects the industry to add up to 25,000 miles of gathering lines, pipelines transporting gas from wellheads to larger transmission lines and gas processing facilities. Most of these Class 1 lines will be in rural areas, where no state, federal or local authority oversees them. This lack of regulation can lead to dangerous consequences.
Local communities across Pennsylvania increasingly see themselves as the losers when faced with little influence over interstate pipeline construction. Some are trying to stop the surge in gas development by embracing community-based rights ordinances. But the power and influence of the gas companies can be felt, as they seemingly take whatever land they want to continue laying pipelines through residential communities, one yard at a time.
Our Governor, state legislators and U.S. Senators all support the industry’s line, agreeing that fracking and pipeline development are necessary to maintain jobs. I see it differently. I believe we must weigh the actual consequences of these operations. There will be pollution surrounding all aspects of the operation, release of greenhouse gasses and almost certain leaks and possible explosions within a blast radius of homes, schools and public shopping centers. This must be stopped!