Morning Must Reads: Marcellus Shale Gas Pipes and Leases

This morning, The Philadelphia Inquirer published the second in a four-part series on safety issues surrounding natural gas pipelines.

When the owners of the Tennessee natural gas pipeline decided to expand the pipe in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania's northern tier, the federal safety rules they had to follow filled a book.

For this interstate transmission line running north from the Gulf Coast, the regulations covered everything from the strength of the steel to the welding methods to how deep the pipeline must be buried.

Also in Bradford County, another company - Chesapeake Energy - is building a pipeline the same size as the Tennessee line, 24 inches in diameter. And it's designed to operate at even higher pressure - up to 1,440 pounds per square inch.

But for this line, in this rural section of shale country, there are no safety rules at all.

The Times-Tribune in Scranton reports that Marcellus gas drillers have to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission the potential safety hazards of drilling but not to people being asked to sign leases for drilling on their own property.

In a report inspired by a Lackawanna County woman's experience with a gas leasing agent, the Environmental Working Group said drilling companies deny or fail to disclose to landowners the potential risk of explosions, environmental impacts, property damage, injury and death that they outline in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

All these potential hazards and we still don't have a drilling tax. 

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