Spectra Energy transmission line explodes. I highlight transmission because, by all reports, transmission lines are advertised to be “much safer” than distribution lines. The pipeline in question, from reports, was installed in 1981 and last inspected in 2012. Of course, we know that distribution lines in the West Roxbury, MA area, which the West Roxbury Lateral transmission pipeline is supposed to feed, are very leaky.
30 inch 36 inch transmission line. About the same size as is being put through West Roxbury and other places. Sure they are safe.
I remember a Spectra engineer at a Planning Commission meeting in the Town of Westwood, formally reviewing the proposal to pass a section of the West Roxbury Lateral through the Town. (Being Westwood, it passed without much opposition or question.) He said to my question, “We’ve been building pipelines for 50 years, and we know a damn bit more about them than you do.” In my encounters with Spectra Energy representatives, there, at the Westwood Conservation Commission, and in other prospective or actual forums, what they seem to know a “bit about” is being arrogant and condescending.
“We’re at the mercy of the Spectra Energy emergency response team.” That was local Fire Chief Bob Rosatti.
Asked if they had ever conducted practice drills with Spectra Energy, Chief Rosatti said “We conduct drills with the county, but we’ve never done drills with industry.”
I mentioned West Roxbury, MA in connection with the West Roxbury Lateral. But nearly any town in Massachusetts with explosive methane infrastructure shows serious leaks:
- Boston, where many of the leaks have been found by independent investigators
Update, 30th April 2016
Courtesy of Ross M Donald, this link to a WPXU update on the explosion, and the recalcitrance of PHMSA, the federal agency in charge of explositve methane (*) pipeline safety to release details of safety inspections.
(*) “Natural gas ain’t granola.”