Pipelines Safe And Natural Gas Is Necessary
By Neo Anderson
1.6 million Americans believe in a strong and prosperous energy future for our state. American made energy plays a critical role for our families and businesses, producing energy that heats our homes, powers our cars and helps drive our economy. Natural gas development supports tens of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and helps families to save more than $1,300 annually on electricity bills.
Yet, in spite of these contributions to America’s economy and quality of life, energy is under attack. Wellfunded, well-organized lobbing and special interest groups are stalling our progress by targeting critical pipeline projects in Pennsylvania and across the country. They are voicing scare tactics and misleading information on multiple platforms at the federal, state and local levels as well as here at home.
Pipelines are one of the safest, most efficient methods to transport energy products to their intended destinations. Pipelines have a long, proven track record of safety, minimal impact on the environment, and a 99.99% rate of delivering product without incident. Experts from the industry, government, and academia have partnered to create a series of stringent standards and recommended practices to help ensure the pipelines built and operating in your communities are safe.
Pipelines are constructed with highly durable materials like steel and advanced composites with special coatings to resist corrosion. Before the pipeline carries any product, the welds are rigorously tested to ensure there are no leaks. Federal and state officials also inspect the pipelines during and after installation to certify proper construction has occurred. Advanced engineering and construction practices safeguard water and riverbanks.
Pipelines are monitored 24/7 every day of the year. Highly trained personnel are there to stop the flow or take action should an emergency arise. Computer- aided monitoring enables leaks to be rapidly detected and shut off if needed during a disaster. Trained personnel in airplanes and helicopters regularly travel the length of the pipelines looking for signs of leaks. Ongoing monitoring and inspections help detect issues so they can be addressed before leaks occur.
Pipeline operators inspect their pipelines on regular schedules to identify and guard against any potential issues and ensure the pipe remains safe. To prevent leaks, state-of-the-art technology, similar to a doctor’s ultrasound machine or MRI, is used on the inside of the pipe to scan the walls for any potential problems.
A combination of electronic, aerial, and land-based surveillance is routinely employed to detect any unusual changes in temperature, pressure, flow, and density. Sensors and gauges are installed along the pipelines’ route to send their data automatically into central control rooms where highly trained operator personnel constantly monitor operations on computer displays 24/7.
Operators monitor pipelines from central control rooms 24/7 and can quickly stop all operations if leak detection technology identifies any potential issues. Pipeline control personnel are trained to diagnose whether an alarm is showing a leak, shut down the systems immediately, and not restart until the pipeline is confirmed to operate safely.
Pipeline operators go through regular trainings to develop extensive emergency response plans. Once the federal government approves the plans, pipeline operators share these with local authorities and first responders to ensure a coordinated response to an incident. A rapid emergency response helps keep the size of a pipeline incident as small as possible. Pipeline operators work with local authorities, first responders, contractors, and other local stakeholders to practice emergency response. They will even practice deploying containment and cleanup equipment to make sure all is ready to go if needed. Many pipeline companies hold free, online training sessions for first responders to increase awareness in the community and encourage involvement at all levels.
Myths vs. Facts:
Myth: America’s energy revolution and fracking are making climate change worse.
FACT: When it comes to climate change, “Natural gas has been a game-changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions.” — Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the increased availability and use of natural gas, made possible by fracking, is largely to thank for the reduction in climate-change inducing gases. For instance, last April, carbon emissions from U.S. electric power generation hit 25-year lows, primarily because of the increased use of clean-burning natural gas. In fact, the United States leads other top world economies in reducing carbon emissions from energy—largely due to our use of natural gas and market-led investment in new technologies. Carbon emissions, which are a primary driver of climate change, are the lowest they’ve been in large part because of advancements in oil and natural gas.
Myth: New pipelines are dangerous to our water supply.
Fact: Pipelines are one of the safest ways to transport energy, with products reaching their destination safely more than 99.99% of the time. Advanced materials, expert engineering, and continuous monitoring keep water safe. Control rooms for each pipeline are staffed with highly trained personnel, who monitor the pipeline 24/7 to stop the flow if there is an issue or take action to respond in case of emergency. Pipelines are constructed with highly durable materials, including steel and advanced composites. In addition, special coatings that resist corrosion and tested welds help ensure that pipelines operate without an incident. Before pipelines carry any product, they are rigorously tested at high pressure to ensure that there are no leaks. Advanced engineering and construction practices, including trenchless construction beneath waterways, leaves water and riverbanks untouched. Ongoing monitoring and inspections help detect issues before leaks occur.
Myth: Pipeline construction and operations make land unsafe for farming.
Fact: Farming can safely continue on land with buried pipelines. Farmers are compensated for the use of their land when pipelines are installed, and pipelines help keep energy affordable, which benefits American agriculture. Energy companies strive to minimize disruptions to farming during pipeline construction. Following pipeline construction, crop production and raising livestock can resume on land with underground pipelines. When a pipeline is installed, farmers are compensated for use of their land and paid for any losses resulting from any disruption to crop production or grazing. Pipelines transport natural gas and oil, which is essential to modern agriculture. Natural gas is used for fuel and grain-drying, oil fuels tractors and equipments—both are essential building blocks for manufacturing fertilizer.
Myth: Natural disasters could cause pipelines to leak and hurt the environment.
Fact: Pipelines have a strong track record of safety and have not experienced widespread leaks as a result of natural disasters. Pipelines are designed and constructed to be earthquake-resistant, and have a strong track record of safety following earthquakes. For instance, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline did not spill a single drop of oil as a result of a major 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2002. Computer-aided pipeline monitoring enables leaks to be rapidly detected so that pipelines can be shut off if needed during a disaster. Shut-off valves are located throughout the pipe and can be closed remotely during a natural disaster to prevent an incident.
Myth: Pipeline construction will harm our natural environment.
Fact: More than 2.6 million miles of pipelines already run throughout the U.S., mostly unseen, bringing energy to homes, businesses, and utilities. Pipelines travel through neighborhoods, farmland, forests, and deserts without harming the environment. Land temporarily disturbed during pipeline construction is restored following pipeline completion. Experts from industry, government and academia have partnered to create a series of standards and recommended practices to provide guidance to companies as they construct pipelines. For construction outside of the industry, a “Call Before You Dig” program exists to enable homeowners and utility providers to easily call for markings of underground pipelines to reduce the risk of hitting a pipeline. Pipelines are inspected throughout construction by federal and state officials to ensure they are built appropriately. Pipelines have operated for decades with minimal impact on the environment. Energy products traveling through pipelines reach their destination without incident 99.99% of the time.
Natural Gas, Clear, Reliable, Affordable:
Natural gas supports nearly 3 million U.S. jobs and contributing over $300 billion to the national economy each year. Thanks to natural gas, our country has seen an energy renaissance that is creating a cleaner energy solution while bringing us reliable, affordable electricity and securing energy independence for our future.
To learn more for yourself check out – Pennsylvania Energy Citizens at EnergyCitizens.Org/States/PA
Pipelines Safe And Natural Gas Is Necessary