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Aging Gas Pipelines: The Dangers Of Outdated Infrastructure Around The U.S.47:00
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In this Sept. 11, 2010, file photo, a natural gas line lies broken on a San Bruno, Calif., road after a massive explosion. A federal jury found Pacific Gas & Electric Co., California's largest utility, guilty on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, of misleading investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines after the deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)MoreCloseclosemore
In this Sept. 11, 2010, file photo, a natural gas line lies broken on a San Bruno, Calif., road after a massive explosion. A federal jury found Pacific Gas & Electric Co., California's largest utility, guilty on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, of misleading investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines after the deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Deadly natural gas explosions in Massachusetts drew attention to the nation's aging pipeline infrastructure. We’ll drill down.

Guests

Gregory Korte, national correspondent for USA Today. (@gregorykorte)

Kiera Blessing, reporter at The Eagle-Tribune who has covered the natural gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts extensively. (@kierablessing)

Cynthia Quarterman, top administrator of the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration under President Obama, from 2009 until 2014. Senior fellow with the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council.

Christina Sames, vice president of the American Gas Association.

From The Reading List

USA Today: "Look out below: Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes" — "About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone, a USA TODAY Network investigation finds. The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004."

USA Today: "The short version: What we found about the dangers of natural gas pipelines" - "The catastrophic explosions that rocked northeastern Massachusetts last month have drawn new attention to the problems of an aging natural gas infrastructure that's prone to dangerous – and sometimes fatal – gas leaks.

"USA TODAY reported on the problems of aging natural gas pipelines in 2014 and found that leaking cast-iron mains were a primary cause of natural gas fires and explosions.

"But despite a call to action that year from then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, replacing those pipes has been slow – and sometimes as perilous as the pipes themselves.

"A new USA TODAY investigation of natural gas pipeline safety, based on federal data and interviews with industry, experts and regulators, found spotty oversight and a lack of transparency by utilities and regulators responsible for keeping gas customers safe."

Eagle-Tribune: "She wanted to die at home, then the fire started" — "Jennifer Lampman has dreams in which she touches the walls around her. She touches them cautiously, waiting to feel heat, or to hear the sizzling sound that haunts her now.

"When she wakes, Lampman remembers the explosion that seared that sizzle into her mind. She was in the shower, preparing to leave her ailing mother's house for the airport so she could return to Chicago for a few days before coming back to her mother's bedside.

"The boom she heard as she turned off the water was followed seconds later by her sister's screams. Wrapping a towel around herself, Lampman bounded down the stairs and looked at her mother's hospice bed. It was empty.

"Then Penny Young, Lampman's twin, sprinted back into the house from the front door. The sisters' eyes locked as Young screamed that there was a fire; but even then, Lampman hadn't grasped the gravity of the situation. A kitchen fire, she assumed. The lasagna Young had been baking must be burning.

"In the kitchen, Lampman saw no flames. Then she turned her head toward the utility closet a few feet left of the fridge, where a swirling inferno had spontaneously appeared just seconds before."

This program aired on November 15, 2018.

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