The Danger

The dangers range from catastrophic explosion in the worst case to a lose of economic vitality in the best case.

» The Top Reasons Not to Build the Pipeline
» Spectra Will Tell You It's Safe. Or Will They?
» What Does a Pipeline Explosion Look Like?
» The Blast Radius.  Is Your Family Safe?
» Sure, "Natural Gas" Sounds Harmless, But ...

The Top Reasons Not to Build the Pipeline


Pipelines Explode – 30" Pipelines Cause Big Explosions!

As the horrific natural gas line explosion in San Bruno on September 9 shows us, a pipeline explosion does an incredible amount of damage to life and livelihood, claiming 8 lives and injuring at least 60 people, some critically.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found an electrical failure caused a pressure surge in the pipeline before San Bruno explosion. This means that any mechanical or electrical failure can lead to eventual explosion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there were 47 pipeline incidents in the U.S. in 2009 that caused death or serious injury.  Previous to the San Bruno explosion, there have been three other incidents in 2010. 10 people have been killed and 33 seriously injured.

According to AOL News, Jim Hall, who chaired National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration and made pipeline safety his cause. "All of these underground pipelines are potential bombs."


Day-to-Day Toxins Have a Far Reach

Toxins released into the air from the metering station and block valves release air-borne carcinogens endangering the health of all residents in Jersey City irrespective of where you live.


High Death Toll Due to Population Density

The proposed pipeline is to be built through some of Jersey City's most densely populated and historic neighborhoods. An explosion here would be far more deadly than elsewhere in the state


The Pipeline Would Be a Prime Target for Terrorists

A plot to blow up a jet fuel pipeline feeding JFK Airport was thwarted in 2007.

The Department of Homeland Security has identified sustained attempts to hack into the control systems for the U.S. pipeline network.


911 Regional Response Hospital is Within 1300 Feet

A pipeline blast would inhibit 911 response times for the community and region.


Existing Chemical Industries & Homeland Security Threats to Critical Infrastructure

The planned expansion will pass through or nearby a number of heavy industrial and chemical plants and in close proximity to Homeland Security Department designated Tier 1 & Tier 2 Critical Infrastructure. An explosion near any of these facilities could be catastrophic.


Jersey City's Economic Engine

The city's economic engine, Wall Street back offices along the waterfront and major infrastructure such as the Holland Tunnel and the NJ Turnpike Extension could be severely affected by an incident.


Decreased Property Values, Decreased City Services

Property values will decrease with the presence of a pipeline which means less growth for your property investment and less property tax revenue for the government resulting in fewer city services and/or lead to a property tax rate increase to cover city operations.


Planned & Future Growth in Jeopardy

Undeveloped land will remain dormant, not reaching it's tax revenue potential due to developer's anathema to pipeline threat in Jersey City. The waterfront area, north of Newport, will be growing from an abandoned industrial wasteland to a new neighborhood of 5,000 to 10,000 units over the next 20 years.  See the detailed maps for information. In addition, re-settlers who have moved  from NYC and other places, feel pipeline puts at risk their decisions to remain. This  further impacts negatively present and future revenue, growth, stability, business values, commercial and residential real estate.


Eminent Domain

Use of eminent domain will limit property owners and city government from exercising their rights as land owners and administrators.

Spectra Will Tell You It's Safe.  Or Will They?

We keep on hearing from Spectra — especially at the hearing on August 4th — that the pipeline will be safe.  But, this is in contradiction to their own annual report.  Furthermore, they aren't insured for these known contingencies.  Looks like they are relying on the tax payer to cover the cost of terrorist attack or "other" environmental "accidents."

We do not insure against all potential losses and could be seriously harmed by unexpected liabilities.

We are not fully insured against all risks inherent to our business. We are not insured against all environmental accidents that might occur. If a significant accident or event occurs that is not fully insured, it could adversely affect our operations and financial condition. In addition, we may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance of the type and amount we desire at reasonable rates...

And as for being a target for terrorism?  They agree with us.

Terrorist attacks, and the threat of terrorist attacks, have resulted in increased costs to our business.  Continued global hostilities or other sustained military campaigns may adversely affect our results of operations.

Acts of terrorism and any possible reprisals as a consequence of any action by the United States and its allies could be directed against companies operating in the United States. This risk is particularly great for companies, like ours, operating in any energy infrastructure industry that handles volatile gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons ... Moreover, any physical damage to high profile facilities resulting from acts of terrorism may not be covered, or covered fully, by insurance. We may be required to expend material amounts of capital to repair any facilities, the expenditure of which could adversely affect our cash flows and business.

These passages can be found on pages 23 and 24, respectively, of Spectra Energy's 2009 Annual Report.

» Download Spectra's 2009 Annual Report

What Does a Pipeline Explosion Look Like?

Here is a small sampling which includes the local, the recent and Spectra Energy.

Edison, New Jersey

We need not go far to witness what can not happen when a pipeline explodes.  Not 35 miles from here, a pipeline exploded in the middle of the night in 1994.  The results were devastating.  From the New York Times:

A natural gas pipeline explosion that awestruck witnesses compared to a blinding, scorching nuclear blast turned a neighborhood in the central New Jersey town of Edison early yesterday into a war zone of flames, panic and chaos.

» Read the Full Story on NYTimes.com

This video tells the story of "The Edison Explosion" from the perspective of a resident.


Moss Bluff, Texas

Spectra Energy’s more recent history also includes catastrophic failure.  The company’s underground gas storage reservoir outside of Houston (Moss Bluff) suffered two explosions in 2004, then known as Duke Energy.  Everyone within a three-mile radius of the facility was being evacuated.

» Read article at USA Today
» Website dedicated to saving community near facility

Darrouzett, Texas

A large natural gas line in north Texas erupted on June 7, 2010, after utility workers accidentally hit the line, sending a column of fire into the air.  Not only is the flame horrifying, but pay attention to the blast radius as indicated by the smoldering fires at the edge of the burned field.

» Watch video of blast on MSNBC
» Read Associated Press article



Cleburne, Texas

Just one day earlier, utility works, again, hit a pipeline.  Heat from the blast forced firefighters to stay about a half-mile away until the gas flow was shut off, and they were unable to douse the flames.  The fire took 2 hours to put out.

» Read the Associated Press article



The Blast Radius.  Is Your Family Safe?

The map below represents two possible scenarios in the event of a pipeline explosion.

  • The pipeline is represented by the dark red line in the middle of the shaded area.
  • The inner shaded area represents the maximum blast radius when the pipeline is operating at the low end of capacity (781 PSI). 
  • The outer shaded area represents the maximum blast radius when the pipeline is operating near maximum capacity (1450 PSI).

These distance determinations were made after consulting a report, "A Model for sizing High Consequence Areas", by C-FER Technologies which was done on behalf of the Gas Research Institute (the gas industry) in October 2000.  Read more about our findings from that report in our blog post.


View Spectra Pipeline Blast Radius in a larger map

Sure, "Natural Gas" Sounds Harmless, But ...

According to un-naturalgas.org,

Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane but including significant quantities of ethane, propane, butane, and pentane—heavier hydrocarbons removed prior to use as a consumer fuel —as well as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulfide.[1] Fossil natural gas is found in oil fields (associated) either dissolved or isolated in natural gas fields (non-associated), and in coal beds (as coalbed methane).

Doesn't sound so "natural," does it?

Natural gas is just another highly polluting hydrocarbon and conventional — that is, non-alternative — fuel like oil, to which it is closely related and with which it is frequently found. Further, extracting natural gas and transporting it to markets takes huge amounts of, you guessed it, (imported) oil.

» More from un-naturalgas.org

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