Gas Infrastructure

Fast Facts

  • Many of the same issues that are associated with fracking are also implicated in the construction and routine operation of natural gas infrastructure.

 

  • Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, leaks at every stage of natural gas distribution, including transmission and end-use consumption.

 

  • The American Medical Association has acknowledged the hazards of natural gas infrastructure and passed resolutions calling for Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) for new gas development projects. 

Many of the same issues that are associated with fracking are also implicated in the construction and routine operation of natural gas infrastructure, including pipelines, compressor stations, metering and regulating stations, pigging operations, power plants, export terminals, offshore barges, rail systems, storage depots, deep cavern repositories and other related fossil fuel facilities.

 

These issues include large fugitive emissions of methane and releases of toxic chemical mixtures, particulate matter, carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde and other hazardous air pollutants and radioactive contaminants. Fires and catastrophic explosions have been shown to greatly amplify these releases. Blowdowns or venting of gas (methane) occurs frequently at these facilities, either planned or unplanned, also emitting high levels of these contaminants that put the public at risk for significant health impacts.

Acute and long-term health problems reported in exposed populations include dizziness, headaches, eye and throat irritation, birth defects, endocrine disruption, reproductive, lung and cardiovascular system damage and several types of cancer
.

The American Medical Association has acknowledged the hazards of natural gas infrastructure and passed resolutions calling for Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) for new gas development projects.

Pipeline safety experts point out that most pipelines are no longer constructed by the gas companies themselves, but by private contractors with a mandate to "build it fast and build it cheap." For years, federal agencies have rubber-stamped applications for pipelines and find themselves ill-equipped to properly manage the sheer number of new pipeline applications, or to verify their safety and integrity, especially for the current use of larger diameter high-pressure pipes. According to data from the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), pipeline failures are rising at an alarming rate, especially in newly constructed pipelines.

Read our Summary Report on Gas Infrastructure Projects in New York State.

 
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