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A Fracking Explosion In Ohio Created One Of Worst Methane Leaks In History

A fracking explosion in Belmont County in February 2018 created one of the worst methane leaks in U.S. history.

  DEC 19, 2019 | WOSU 

In February 2018, an explosion at a fracking site in Belmont County, near the Ohio-West Virginia border, forced residents within a 1-mile radius to evacuate their homes for several weeks.

A study this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that the accident resulted in one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded in the U.S.

Powhatan Point fire chief Tom Nelms was among the first to respond after the explosion.

“At that time, that day, there were probably 50-80 people,” Nelms said. The fire lasted for three days, but some people weren’t able to return to their homes for weeks.

Nelms says he knew the methane leak was a big deal, but at the time no one really understood the magnitude of it.

Until now. A satellite designed to monitor Earth for methane leaks revealed that accident was one of the largest leaks recorded in the U.S.

“The blowout and the period of time it was occurring contributed 60,000 tons of methane to the atmosphere, and it represents in the case of Ohio one-quarter of the annual emissions coming from the oil and gas industry,” says Steven Hamburg, one of the study authors and the chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

In fact, the Belmont County incident released more methane than the reported emissions of oil and gas industries of entire European countries.

“Methane is responsible for one-quarter of the warming that we’re currently experiencing,” Hamburg says. “It’s a very potent but short lived green house gas, so reducing those emissions will have the biggest impact on slowing the rate of warming.”

He says because of the nature of the odorless, colorless gas, it’s really hard to know when a leak has occurred.

“None of us pay attention to that which we can’t see or measure,” he says. “We’re giving the tools to be able to measure and quantify emissions around the globe which we didn’t have before.”

The fracking site is owned by Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Exxon says they “regret the incident occurred, and have instituted systematic well design and monitoring procedures to prevent it from happening again.”

As far as the new study, XTO Energy says their scientists are reviewing the data.

Hamburg says this satellite can be used not just to hold companies like Exxon accountable, but also to help them reduce their methane emissions. That, he says, is in everyone’s best interest.

Have You Been Injured By A Gas Explosion Or Oilfield Accident?

The oil industry continues to grow with the world’s demand for oil and natural gas.  With this increased demand, there has also been an increase in accidents causing serious injury and death to workers who often are inadequately trained or supervised.  We offer experienced, strategic support to protect the rights of our clients and their families after suffering a serious oil field injury or death.

After an accident, it is important to work with an experienced legal team that can collect and preserve all necessary evidence for your case including physical evidence, accident reports, corporate documentation, witness statements, and expert opinions.  Our team will begin an immediate investigation to identify the cause of the accident and pursue claims against all liable parties.

An oilfield injury or death may be caused by:

Company failure to take reasonable precautions

Improper employee training

Safety Violations

Improper maintenance of equipment

Defective products & machinery

Drug & alcohol abuse

Negligent operation

 Individuals injured by oil field accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries, including wrongful death.  Our team has the legal and medical experience to effectively handle a range of cases involving serious & complex injuries caused by explosions and burns, falls, defective products and equipment, toxic fumes and fires.

We are committed to pursuing an aggressive case against all liable parties and will seek to collect the full compensation you are entitled to for lost wages, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, disability and impairment, and any additional personal or financial losses you have sustained.

Oil Field Accidents and Injuries are on the Rise

Oil and gas industry injuries are the most dangerous and fatal in the country.  From 2003 to 2010, the U.S. oil and gas industry (both onshore and offshore combined) had a collective fatality rate that was 7 times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers combined. Louisiana had 5 catastrophic refinery and oil rig explosions between January and October 2017, more than any other state in the country.

What to do After an Oil Field Accident

  • Stop working immediately
  • Report your injury as soon as possible.
  • Ask for immediate medical treatment.
  • Do not give a formal statement, sign ANY paperwork, or accept any money from the company (besides your normal paycheck) prior to speaking with an experience oil field injury lawyer.
  • Contact an experienced Oil Field Accident Lawyer as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an oil field accident / explosion or a wrongful death has occurred, it is imperative that you Contact Giunta Law Today!

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