Friday, July 6, 2012 around 4:30 p.m.
Good grief. This man is digging dangerously close to gas gathering pipelines at the Fulson Drill Site in Arlington, Texas. Since those homes in the background (look beyond the gas gathering pipeline marker) are very close, we would not want him to accidentally strike a gas line and blow up the community.
While trees are a wonderful asset to most settings and great for the environment, we wonder why these trees are being planted so close to gas gathering pipelines which transport unodorized gas through our communities? In an effort to make these industrial drill sites look as aesthetically pleasing as possible, are we setting ourselves up for another public safety risk?
Question: Should trees ever be planted in close proximity to gas gathering pipelines? A representative from the Railroad Commission of Texas told us yesterday that the State of Texas has no spacing requirements for the planting of trees near natural gas pipelines. Other areas of the world do have spacing requirements.
We know that mature tree roots have been known to damage foundations of homes and lift up sidewalks. Likewise, they can cause serious damage to natural gas pipelines.
CLICK HERE and scroll down a little to see an illustration of this.
If planning to dig, Call 811. This Call Center notifies all the utilities for you so they can come out and mark the location of the utility lines. However, gas gathering pipelines are very unique from other utilities. Questions are being raised about whether these pipelines are for the public good or for industry. To add to this, these thousands of miles of gas gathering pipelines are regulated by a small number of inspectors at the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Now, this is where a problem arises. In this particular case, it has come to our attention that as of June 4, 2012, DFW Midstreams failed to turn in Completion Paperwork to the Railroad Commission for these particular gas gathering lines at the Fulson Drill Site. According to a Railroad Commission of Texas representative, their records show the current status of these lines as "In Construction Phase" with a Start Date of "October 2009". Well, that's not good.
A complaint was filed with the Texas Railroad Commission over a month ago. It is still under investigation.
Ironically, while following up with the Railroad Commission on the status of this complaint, we have learned that our local inspectors are at this very moment in Austin for a week-long Pipeline Safety Meeting! We hope and pray they are able to straighten out this mess since many of us are living at ground zero. One mistake can have deadly consequences.
Meanwhile, men are digging trenches over here.