Pipeline Explosion in Kentucky Kills One, Shows Risks of Similar Projects Under Construction [Press Statement]

August 2, 2019

MORELAND, KY — Early on Thursday morning, a regional gas pipeline ruptured in Kentucky, resulting in an explosion that killed at least one person and hospitalized five others. Authorities reported that five to seven people are missing. Emergency managers said the rupture involved the Texas Eastern Transmission Pipeline, a 30-inch, several-thousand-mile line owned and operated by Enbridge.

This tragic event is one of numerous pipeline explosions that have occurred in the US in the past year, and highlights the potential dangers of long linear gas infrastructure projects. 

Maury Johnson, POWHR Coalition Executive Committee Member and MVP Impacted Landowner in Monroe County, WV

“I am heartbroken that one person, possibly more, has been killed in the Kentucky pipeline explosion today. This 30-inch pipeline has a history of problems, just like many natural gas pipelines that crisscross America.  As a landowner who lives less than 800 feet from the MVP — in a narrow valley in a karst region of Monroe County WV, within the Giles County Seismic Zone — it terrorizes me and so many more that this project has been allowed, and even encouraged, by so many of our regulatory agencies and political leaders. This project and other projects like it are driving people from the state. It is time to halt the MVP, before it explodes and kills someone. I REFUSE TO ALLOW MY LIFE OR THE LIFE OF MY FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO BE PART OF THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN WV OR VA.

“A 42-inch pipeline at a pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch has a potential impact radius of 1,100 feet or greater depending on terrain, location of the rupture and other factors. The MVP’s operating pressure has been reported to be higher than this 1440 psi. Therefore, projects like the MVP and ACP must be canceled before a tragedy like this happens in one or more of our communities.”

Russell Chisholm, POWHR Coalition Co-Chair

“When my community of Newport, VA installed blast and evacuation zone warnings along our rural roads, we were not trying to be alarmists. Residents and visitors in our mountains have a right to know where MVP contractors plan to bury this massive, dangerous, high-pressure fracked gas line. Pipelines leak and pipelines explode. FERC, MVP, and Precision Pipeline might be able to ignore that risk, but we live with it day and night. We grieve with the people of Lincoln County, Kentucky, and we’re angry that the safety and security of rural people is secondary to the gas industry’s greed and entitlement.”

Howdy Henritz, Indian Creek Watershed Association Chairman and POWHR Coalition Steering Representative for Save Monroe

“My wife and I have been living up our peaceful hollow since 1979, a mile and a half off a small county hard road. All was good until MVP showed up. For the past year it has been tons of noise and crazy construction traffic. But it gets better. We are only COLLATERAL DAMAGE because the pipeline does not cross our property. Our house is 1762 feet from the main line valve on Ellison Ridge and my wood shop is 1482 feet from the pipeline. As our departed good friend Beth Covington would say, ‘I want to be cremated but not while I’m alive.'”

 Mark Jarrell, MVP Impacted Landowner in Summers County, WV

“My heart goes out to those in Lincoln Co., KY, for the loss of life and property from the gas pipeline explosion early Thursday morning. Witnesses described a sound like an atomic bomb explosion and flames shooting about 300 feet into the air.

“With a much larger and potentially more destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline now installed about 500 feet from my house, my possible death by incineration now seems a real possibility rather than far-fetched and implausible. All of us who have had our land taken against our will and have to live in this shadow of death are incredulous that our own government allows a private for-profit corporation the right to take our land through eminent domain, pay us what they see fit, and thrust us into this danger zone, all the while endangering one of the most pristine water sources in the world.”

Dwayne Milam, MVP Impacted Landowner in Summers County, WV

“It’s sad to hear another pipeline exploded, resulting in the loss of life and families being evacuated from their homes. A short time ago, thousands of families in WV and VA didn’t have to worry about 300 miles of explosive gas in a 42-inch pipe with 1400psi in their backyard. Virtually every week somewhere in the US there is an explosion, and odds are one day this will happen with the MVP. Now everyone along the route has to trust their lives to pipe made in India by the lowest bidder, installed as quickly as possible in some of the roughest terrain in the nation. Let’s all hope that the inspectors do a better job here than in the rest of the nation.”

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