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Growing Concern for Gathering Pipelines in Texas

Are there gathering pipeline regulations? What is the risk for explosion with these pipes? What is the risk to area residents and workers? These are just some of the questions many have when hearing that gathering pipelines have increased by 33 percent in the past three years in Texas.

Houston Public Media recently published a news story looking at some of the dangers tied to gathering pipelines.

In this media report, the publication found there are over 6,000 miles of gathering pipelines. These pipelines transport oil and natural gas. The pipes take the oil or gas from wells to other tanks or processing facilities.

Previously, local and federal regulators were not really paying as much attention to these pipelines, considering the fact the lines were small and in areas with sparse populations. However, with an increase in oil and gas drilling, a federal investigator from the Government Accountability Office looked at the pipes and found many to be in not so remote areas of Texas. In some cases, clusters were right by homes and supermarkets. The size of the pipes had also increased.

It is important to note here that there have been issues in the past, including:

  • In 2010, a hit line results in the death of two workers.
  • In2013, a line rupture leads to the evacuation of dozens of homes.
  • In 2015, a line explodes, melting power lines and parts of a road.

Despite the potential hazards, the pipeline industry is saying people living in the area should not be concerned, pointing to the fact that there are regulations governing these pipelines. However, according to the same news source, even though there are rules, these rules are not currently being implemented. In fact, the commission that oversees the regulations is still working on them, while federal regulators are also trying to draft new rules that would apply to gathering lines not just in Texas, but also all over the country.

For those living in Texas, who are suffering from injuries -- or even lost a loved one due to a pipeline accident -- the concern and pain is very real. This being said, know that those who are hurt do have legal options. By retaining legal representation, an attorney can investigate the facts and build a case on behalf of those hurt. While this can sometimes lead to a settlement, if the settlement offer is unjust, an attorney with experience handling these types of cases will be prepared to take the case to court, before a judge.

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