The second week of February has not been a great one for the energy industry. Several industrial accidents occurred at different sites in and around Appalachia this week.
On February 10, over 108,000 gallons of coal slurry spilled into a tributary of the Kanawha River in West Virginia. The slurry spilled from the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant owned by Patriot Coal, and it is the third major coal waste accident in a month. It is also the second major incident in West Virginia, and many of the state’s residents fear the safety of their drinking water. In January, a chemical spill by Freedom Industries near a water treatment plant left 300,000 people without safe drinking water.
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On Tuesday February 11, an explosion rocked a natural gas site in Southwestern Pennsylvania, as a gas well blew out in a fiery blaze sending one worker to the hospital. Another is missing and feared dead. Responders could not approach the site of the accident as the fire raged on, and they had to call off the search. The well was still on fire as of Thursday morning, and officials from Chevron – owner of the well – have been working with the state Department of Environmental Protection on putting out the fire. "Our biggest concern is the environmental impact of what they're going to do. This is not your standard well fire. It's bigger,” said John Poister, a DEP spokesperson, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In the early morning hours on February 13, there was another explosion at a natural gas pipeline in Kentucky. The explosion in Adair county destroyed two homes and left a 60 foot crater. Over 20 homes were evacuated but fortunately there were only no life-threatening injuries. The explosion occurred in a rural part of Kentucky away from dense population centers. The 30-inch pipeline transports natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico to New York.
By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com