Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dear Williams Partners, I am NOT Your Next Sacrifice Zone: Columbia County, PA, June 5th, 2014, Bloomsburg, PA Firehall.

Pipeline Expansion, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne lee

If you live in Columbia County, and you value its tremendous community assets, don’t miss this meeting: June 5th, 7PM, Bloomsburg Firehall, 911 Market Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Williams is hosting an "Open House" for the planned expansion of the TRANSCO, the 42 inch Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline (ASP). If you’re one of the mahy Columbia County landowners who’ve received a letter from Williams, this meeting is vital. Don’t sign anything until you’ve gotten answers to at least these questions:

1.     What is Williams’ view of eminent domain to access private property given that ASP is a for-profit venture—not a public utility? What justifies this seizure of land for the purpose of private profits?  Why isn’t this theft?

2.     Why is Williams marketing ASP for Americans when the gas is destined for LNG export to global markets?

3.    What’s Williams’ plan to control VOC emissions, light/noise pollution, and potential explosions at its planned compressors—especially since one (Bloomsburg) would be near populated areas?

4.   How does Williams plan to respond to letters received by home/property owners from their insurance carriers who decline to cover accidents that are the result of gas company leases?

5. How does Williams respond to its “lengthy record of pipeline safety violations,” for example the massive natural gas explosion in Alabama, 2011, or its failure to follow company policy for “controlling external corrosion in natural gas pipelines running through the New York City borough of Staten Island”? 

Pipeline Cut, Farm, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Our position at Shale Justice is to stop the pipeline from being constructed. ASP is not only a disaster for the affected counties, it will be a continuing disaster for every Pennsylvanian. There is no such thing as regulating a pipeline whose compressors could emit 8.58 tons of Nitrogen oxides per year, 3.29 tons of Carbon monoxide per year, and 5.39 tons of Volatile organic compounds per year. The only regulation that will be effective is no pipeline.

For documents, news items, and maps that will help you understand the objectives--and hazards--of this pipeline, please go to: 

Still not convinced you don't want to lease your land:

The Compliance and Safety Records of Williams (WMB), and Williams partners (WPZ), and Williams Midstream

2002 – Williams is reported to be in Financial distress and on verge of
bankruptcy (38) (19)

2002 – Williams has class action lawsuit filed against it alleging that it failed to
disclose failing financial conditions (33)

2003 – Williams pays $20 million (along with Encana Company) to settle claims
of reporting false data to manipulate the U.S. natural gas market (25)

2004 – FINED $30,000 for a fire at a well in Parachute, Colorado (47)

2007 – Williams agrees to pay $290 million to settle class action lawsuit filed in 2002
(19) (32)

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

2008 – Natural gas explosion in Virginia [Transco] the blast ripped a 32-foot section
of pipe from the ground and caused a 1,100 feet burn zone. Property
damage reported to exceed $3 million (35)

2009 – FINED $952,000 for failure to monitor corrosion adequately with the
Virginia pipeline explosion in 2008 (36) (43)

2010 – Transco Pipeline leak in Texas. Leak was not reported for 4 days. The 1/4
inch diameter leak caused a reported $57,000 in property damage. Aerial patrol did
not see the leak. Found by an operator who saw some bubbles. (22)

2010 / 2011– FINED $275 Thousand over failing to implement and/or maintain
storm water measures to prevent potential pollutants during planned
construction in Parachute, Colorado. State inspectors notified Williams (Bargath) in
Nov. 2010 of violations and told them to take immediate action. According to
report, Williams did not fix violation for 7 months. (8) (28)

2011 – FINED $23,000 by PHMSA for failure to conduct own annual
inspections of Natural Gas compressors stations in Texas and Louisiana (18)

2011 – [Transco] Natural Gas Pipeline rupture & explosion in Alabama. 8 acres
burn. Coating failure blamed as cause. Reports state that the corrosion was not
recognized by Williams even though they claimed to have systems in place. (2) (36)

Pipeline Expansion, Picture Rocks
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

2012 – Gas leak caused explosion at Natural Gas Compressor Station in
Pennsylvania. Williams restarts the station within 24 hours and started pumping
fracked gas despite request from PA Dept. of Environmental Protection not to do
so. DEP states they make it very clear on the above matter but because it was not an
official order no fines were issued. 1 ton of Methane released. (2) (16)

2012 – Transco/Williams FINED $50,000 by PHMSA for failure to follow own
internal policies with controlling corrosion in Natural Gas pipeline in NY (18)
2012 – Transco natural gas leak in New Jersey (18) (44) 2012 (Dec. 20) – The beginning of the Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) pipeline leak in Parachute, Colorado (population 1,000). Parachute Creek runs through the small town, which is nestled next to the Colorado River. (8)

2013 (Jan) – Williams discovers leak of NGLs in Parachute plant while working on construction to expand the plant. Reports say the leak was found by ACCIDENT. Leak stopped, but Benzene, a cancer causing agent, has contaminated soil. Williams says leak not affecting creek. (8) (34)

Pipeline Cut, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

2013 (March 8) – Williams begins cleanup (2 months later) of Benzene leak (NGL) in Parachute, CO. Authorities and landowners notified that the soil has been contaminated. No mention that groundwater is poisoned. Reports say that Williams didn't report the spill/leak earlier because they thought less than 25 gallons had leaked. (8) (12)

2013 (March 15) – Groundwater in Parachute is contaminated with Benzene from NGL leak. Spill finally announced to public. Benzene is cancer-causing agent that breaks down bone marrow. (8) (20) (34) (41)

2013 (March) – Reports say Williams/Transco rejects U.S. Army Corp of Engineers safety recommendations in connection with the proposed Rockaway Lateral natural gas pipeline, claiming the requirements would “needlessly delay” the project and force cost overruns. (7)

2013 (March) – Williams Natural gas pipeline in West Virginia ruptures (30)

2013 (April) – Parachute, CO residents question credibility of Williams who is in charge of testing their water and want the government to take over. Contamination continues to spread into their creek. (8) (42)

2013 (April) – Williams say faulty pressure gauge cause of leak in Parachute. Diesel found at gates of Parachute water supply. Benzene detected in creek. State Health Dept takes over oversight of leak. (8) (9)

2013 (May) – Benzene levels rise in Parachute, CO creek. State agency tells Williams violated it the law. (8)

2013 (May) – Williams announces it will not expand the Parachute, Co plant expansion NOT because of the NGL leak but due to low gas prices. (8)

2013 (May 21) – Williams holds Analyst Day in New York City. CEO Alan Armstrong states they have been working on the Bluegrass pipeline project for about 9 - 10 months. Williams states Bluegrass Pipeline is BIG and it's RISKY in terms of permitting. (45)

2013 (June 13) – Williams’ Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) cracker plant that process NGLs in Louisiana Explodes and Burns. That chemical plant was in middle of $350 million expansion. 700 contract workers were present; 2 people killed (ages 29 & 47); 70 injuries; 62,000 pounds of toxic chemical released (1) (4) (5) (6) (39)

2013 (June 14) – Investigations into Williams Louisiana explosion reveals three years of noncompliance with Federal Clean Air Act, Williams had NOT conducted an OSHA inspection in 10 years. (4) (14)

2013 (July 10) – Williams (Bargath) FINED $7,854 by OSHA for failing to protect
workers they sent excavate toxic soil near the Williams’ Parachute, Co plant that
leaked Benzene. Report states that Williams did not have a decontamination
procedure or ensure its employees received safety training related to the spill.
Williams states it has not agreed to or accepted OSHA's allegations. (49)

2013 (July 13) – Benzene levels increase at a point in the Parachute, CO Williams NGL
leak. 130 tons per day of contaminated soil has been stockpiled. (3)

2013 (July 20) – Report shows that Williams expects to remove and treat as many
as 26 million gallons of groundwater over a half-year to a year at the site of its
natural gas liquids leak alongside Parachute Creek. About 155,000 gallons of
tainted groundwater removed in March has been disposed of in an
injection well in Grand County, Utah. (52)

9. leak photos:

Pipeline vs Rail & Truck

"While accidents associated with the transportation of hazardous materials via rail and road are more frequent than pipeline incidents, rail and truck spills are limited to the amount of product that can be held in transit.
Pipeline Expansioon, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

According to a review of data from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) completed by the Association of American Railroads, total railroad crude oil spills between 2002-2012 equaled less than one percent of the total pipelines spills (railroads spilled 2,268 barrels total vs. pipelines spilled 474,441 barrels total). Additionally, during the same time period, average pipeline spills were four times larger than the average rail spill (average 65 barrels by rail vs. average 266 barrels by pipeline)."

Is this what you want in you yard? On your property? For your kids?

If not--come to the Williams "Open House," Bloomsburg Fire Hall, June 5th, 2014, 6-8.

Ask them to justify imposing this hazard on your family.

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