Despite the overwhelming evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for the dramatic climate change that we are experiencing, energy companies, with their mandate to extract fossil fuels from the ground and obtain the highest return for their investors, are busy building out a multi-billion dollar gas transportation and delivery infrastructure across the Northeast. This massive project includes pipelines, compressor stations, export terminals, offshore barges, rail systems, storage depots, deep cavern repositories and a host of related projects.
Many of the same issues that are associated with fracking are also implicated in these gas delivery systems. These include significant emissions of methane, regular releases of toxic chemical mixtures, disposal of radioactive waste and the ever-present threat of catastrophic explosions. Magnifying these threats is the fact that many pipelines are traversing private land, placed in close proximity to heavily populated neighborhoods, schools, parks and other places where people work and play.
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." Federal agencies that for years have rubber-stamped applications for pipelines, find themselves ill-equipped to properly manage the sheer number of new pipeline applications, or to verify their safety and integrity.