Natural Gas pipelines threaten aquifers and drinking water sources, pollute the air through methane leaks, risk explosions, contaminate the soil and threaten local communities and ecosystems.
Pipelines can explode, and in 2012 the US Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration reported 244 serious pipeline explosions. As a consequence, many insurers have been unwilling to cover homes with pipelines and banks have been unwilling to offer mortgages on pipeline properties.
Natural gas, while being transported through gas pipelines, must be constantly pressurized by compressor stations at intervals of 40 to 100 miles. These compressor stations emit gasses during blow-downs, a venting of natural gas during maintenance or to release excess pressure. Gasses emitted include toxic chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, radon, nitrous oxide, VOCs and other toxic chemicals.
Many communities, especially townships and rural areas are unable to stop these pipelines and compressor stations due to legislation that repealed all statutory authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas activities. Also, some companies intimidate landowners into signing easements, using the governmental policy of “eminent domain”, the taking of land for “public use”. Once land is taken for the pipeline (business venture), the company puts the burden of damage on the landowner. These companies can and do come back to lay more pipes in the same easement area. Newer pipelines are being constructed to move petroleum products for export to overseas destinations, not for “public use” or “energy independence”.
Proactive citizens and communities are exercising their right to “alter or reform their government” in stopping these corporate pipeline invasions. Using citizens’ initiatives in chartered municipalities or a citizens’ petition to become a home rule charter community or county, citizens are standing up for their rights to clean water, air and a sustainable energy future.