ProPublica Does A Comprehensive Pipeline Safety StoryNov 20th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions, Natural Gas Leaks
If you’ve ever tried to track data about pipeline safety, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that meaningful information is often elusive, buried deep within a federal website that’s difficult to use and seemingly constructed for insiders.
ProPublica, the independent, non-profit news agency that has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s primary sources of detailed investigative journalism, turned its attention to pipeline safety recently and put out a piece, accompanied by a number of interactive tools, that cut through the crap and shine a bright light on the growing question of pipeline safety in America.
Here’s a link to the ProPublica site.
The story itself provides some compelling reading:
Since 1986, pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000, and cost nearly seven billion dollars in property damages. Using government data, ProPublica has mapped thousands of these incidents in a new interactive news application, which provides detailed information about the cause and costs of reported incidents going back nearly three decades.
One of the biggest problems contributing to leaks and ruptures is pretty simple: pipelines are getting older. More than half of the nation’s pipelines are at least 50 years old. Last year in Allentown Pa., a natural gas pipeline exploded underneath a city street, killing five people who lived in the houses above and igniting a fire that damaged 50 buildings. The pipeline – made of cast iron – had been installed in 1928.