Extra Extra : Energy

Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone, a USA TODAY Network investigation finds. The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004.

A crack found in a cast-iron service main caused an apartment building explosion in Birmingham, Alabama last year. Alabama Gas Corp. built and operated that pipeline, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, one of the Gannett-affiliated publications involved in the project.

The Advertiser recently went to court over Alagasco documents it obtained ...

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No one held accountable for deadly blast in Washington

Four years after one of the state’s worst industrial accidents, no one has been held publicly accountable for the deaths of seven workers at the Tesoro refinery on the outskirts of Anacortes, Washington.

According to Puget Sound Public Radio:

Refinery owner Tesoro agreed to pay millions to families of the dead, but the company continues to fight government accusations that it willfully put its workers in harm’s way. The families have also sued Lloyd’s Register Energy Americas, a company that advised Tesoro on how to inspect the refinery’s maze of high-temperature, high-pressure machinery.

With legal proceedings ...

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The Two Elk Saga: How one man’s dream became state, federal nightmare

WyoFile is featuring a special investigative series, “The Two Elk Saga,” by former Los Angeles Times correspondent and regular WyoFile contributor Rone Tempest. Wyoming has a long history of uncritically embracing, then giving public money to, dubious and expensive energy projects. The proposed $2 billion DKRW Advance Fuels — coal-to-liquids — plant near Medicine Bow is the latest example. The aborted $100-million GE-UW High Plains Gasification project — which cost the state $7 million before GE abruptly backed out in 2011 — is another.

This Two Elk series, supported by grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and WyoFile founder Christopher Findlater, is an ...

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Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a ...

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Air quality monitoring falls short at Eagle Ford oil and gas wells

An oil boom is underway at the Eagle Ford Shale in Karnes County, Texas, but the development is diminishing the quality of life of the inhabitants of the rural county and possibly endangering their health, according to reporting by the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and the Weather Channel.

Residents' complaints are going unaddressed and air quality monitoring is patchy. Though officials have said there is no cause for worry, experts say that the lack of monitoring and research into the health effects of pollutants has resulted in a poor understanding of how oil and gas development impact public ...

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Controversial Brazilian dam project creating world's third largest hydroelectric plant

In the Brazilian state of Pará, an army of 25,000 workers is building the world’s third largest hydroelectric plant, a controversial construction project –because of the dam’s low efficiency, its environmental impact and its effects on the Indians, riverbank-dwellers and the inhabitants of Altamira. Folha's reporters spent three weeks in the region to put together comprehensive coverage – with 24 videos, 55 pictures, and 18 infographics– of the country’s largest infrastructural investment

Before Bakken well violation, a $22M fraud case in the Texas oil patch

EnergyWire reports: "A little-known company called Halek Operating ND LLC is facing the largest fine North Dakota has ever levied against an oil and gas producer -- $1.5 million -- for jeopardizing drinking water near Dickinson. But even before the company drilled its first well in North Dakota, federal officials say the man behind it had swindled $22 million out of 300 investors in a Texas oil and gas project."

Extra Extra Monday: Mentally ill inmates, sex predators unleashed, civil liberties violations

Sex Predators Unleashed | Sun-Sentinel
"Another child is dead. This time, a brown-haired, brown-eyed girl, a year younger than Jimmy Ryce. A 1999 law passed after Jimmy was raped and murdered at age 9 is meant to protect Floridians from sex offenders by keeping the most dangerous locked up after they finish their prison sentences. But an eight-month Sun Sentinel investigation into the law named in Jimmy’s memory has uncovered shocking failures. Florida’s safeguards have broken down at every stage, setting hundreds of rapists and child molesters free to harm again."

Taken | The New Yorker
"The basic principle behind ...

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Oil Spills: U.S. well sites in 2012 discharged more than Valdez

"It was one of the more than 6,000 spills and other mishaps reported at onshore oil and gas sites in 2012, compiled in a months-long review of state and federal data by EnergyWire. That's an average of more than 16 spills a day. And it's a significant increase since 2010. In the 12 states where comparable data were available, spills were up about 17 percent."