Energy Transfer deals with fiery explosion of week-old gas pipeline

The Texas- based Energy Transfer Partners company is probing the fiery explosion of one of its natural gas lines that had barely been in operation for a week in Pennsylvania.

The 24-inch, 100-mile Revolution line exploded early Monday morning in Beaver County, Pennsylvania and sent flames an estimated 150 to 200 feet into the air.  At least 25 homes in the area were evacuated but no injuries were reported.

The explosion happened around 5 a.m. and was out in two hours as workers shut off valves to the line. The line was operated by Energy Transfer subsidiary Sunoco.

“All of the appropriate regulatory notifications have been made. An initial site assessment reveals evidence of a landslide in the vicinity of the pipeline. The line has been safely isolated and depressurized until a thorough investigation can be completed.” Sunoco spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said Monday.

An estimated 5 inches of rain had fallen in the area during the weekend and speculation is it might have triggered the landslide.

No injuries were reported, but one home, two garages and several vehicles were destroyed by fires, according to the Associated Press. Interstate 376 was closed and the Central Valley school district also canceled classes.

The explosion has prompted calls from environmentalists and lawmakers to halt the Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline, which is currently under construction in Pennsylvania according to a report by EcoWatch.

“I am calling for an immediate halt to all pipeline construction activities,” State Rep. Chris Quinn (R-168) said in an online statement. “This pipeline should not be built until the real and legitimate safety and environmental concerns raised by myself and local residents have been fully addressed.”

State Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-19) tweeted that these kinds of pipelines should not be so close to schools, residential neighborhoods and community centers.

“With every week we have more and more evidence why highly volatile natural gas liquid pipelines should not be in high-consequence areas and how Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners have an abysmal track record when it comes to public safety,” Dinniman continued. “The explosion in Beaver County is a chilling reminder of just how powerful and dangerous these pipelines can be.”

Waterkeeper Alliance noted that the energy firm has had a history of pipeline accidents.

“Waterkeeper Alliance and Greenpeace meticulously documented more than 500 spills and millions of dollars in fines and property damage by Energy Transfer Partners in a report released earlier this year,” Waterkeeper Alliance staff attorney Larissa Liebmann said in a statement received by EcoWatch.