Gas Pipelines Pose Threat to Pa. Suburbs, Wildlife

Monday, 12 Dec 2011 04:20 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Gas pipelines under Pennsylvania are expected to quadruple during the next 20 years and could affect the state’s forests, wildlife, and suburban areas, a Nature Conservancy study says.

“The pipeline issue is huge,” said Nels Johnson, the conservancy’s deputy state director told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. ”We need to find ways to make it much more efficient than it is today so that we use less land and expose fewer people to the risks that these pipelines may pose.”
The study reports at least 14 major pipeline projects are either finished, pending, or planned for the counties around the Pittsburgh alone, as pipeline companies rushing to connect all their new wells and utility companies try to meet new federal safety standards.
Drillers have already spent about $2 billion a year from 2008 to 2010, according to industry figures, and pipelines will be needed to transport the gas out of the state.
Township officials want to set standards for safe construction and location. Richard Ward, the Robinson, Washington County, township manager, says several companies are installing their own systems, and worries there will be confusion.
”You bury a pipeline under a piece of prime real estate, and you’re not going to be able to develop,” Ward said. “And if there’s no consistency in the way the industry does it, then you’ll have lines just all over the place.”
The conservancy will have the full report on its website by the end of this month, but the section about the pipelines is expected to be posted early this week.

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