Williams-Transco, the company that intends to build both the Rockaway Lateral in Brooklyn and the Constitution pipe in upstate New York, has a lengthy record of safety violations. As reported in June 2012, Williams had at that time been under a federal corrective order for 44 of the prior 45 months.
How have they performed more recently? 2013 has not been their best year either, with 5 incidents since January, including two major explosions in New Jersey and Louisiana.
Some recent incidents:
Dec. 3, 2011, Sweet Water, AL: A coating failure, combined with extremely corrosive soil conditions, was blamed for pipeline rust that led to a massive explosion–heard more than 30 miles away–and a 90-minute blaze that burned eight acres of pine forest. Reports said flames were nearly 100 feet high. Transco released a statement saying they will “do our best to learn from this incident.”
March 29, 2012, Lathrop Compressor, Springville, PA: A compressor station fire, was initially reported as an explosion, but “DEP said Williams could not confirm all the details. However, bulging walls in the building indicated there may have been an explosion.” Williams was not fined by DEP because the incident did not violate the station’s air quality permits or federal pollution laws. About 1 ton of methane was released in that blast, clocking in below the greenhouse gas threshold that would have required them to seek a permit used by bigger facilities.
April 9, 2012, Bergen, NJ: A “pinhole”size leak was discovered by inspectors in a 36-inch-diameter section of pipeline.
July 23, 2012, Windsor Compressor, Windsor, NY: A lightning strike hit the ventilation stack at the Binghamton-area compressor station, causing an emergency shut down which, because it “purged a lot of remaining gas, caused a big fireball.”
March 23, 2013, Cameron, WV: A 24-inch pipeline ruptured, causing no injuries. A Williams spokesperson would not say how much methane was released into the atmosphere as a result of the leak.
May 14, 2013, Mosquito Bay, LA: A small methane leak was discovered during a normal pipeline patrol in an unpopulated, swamp area.
May 15, 2013, Williams Central Station, Montrose, PA:
The compressor station in the 100 block of Turnpike Road in Brooklyn Township caught fire. DEP officials said they found visual evidence of an explosion. Williams officials said that there was no explosion, only fire.
May 30, 2013, Branchburg NJ, 13 injured: Workers were welding a portion of a nonactive pipe at the compressor station at the time of the explosion, Williams, which owns the Transco national gas pipeline, is building a controversial 6.6-mile pipeline extension in the Hunterdon County municipalities of Franklin, Clinton and Union.
June 13, 2013, Geismar, LA, 2 killed, 60 injured: A facility that processes natural gas liquids used for plastics manufacture exploded violently as employees fled an inferno that sent flames as high as 200 feet into the air.