Methane is spewing from an underground natural gas storage field in southern California called Aliso Canyon at a rate of 50,000 kg per hour – the equivalent of 5 million full-grown cows. The leak is causing health problems, air traffic detours, and mass evacuations. And because methane is a potent greenhouse gas, its contribution to global warming is like having three extra coal-fired power plants. This isn’t just California’s problem: In addition to those direct consequences, Aliso Canyon is a wake-up call about the challenges facing our natural gas infrastructure. U.S. energy strategy, as outlined by the new Clean Power Plan, hinges on the idea that burning natural gas has a smaller carbon footprint than burning coal.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality | The oil spill in Montana’s Yellowstone River is the second of its kind in five years. Can the nation’s aging pipeline system keep up with its oil and gas boom?
Republicans want to approve the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as they take control of the Senate in January. But the pipeline is less important to some oil companies than it used to be. So why do Republicans care so much about it?
Millions of miles of pipeline are slated to be built in the United States over the next two decades and most that will happen on private property. Historically, property owners haven’t benefited from pipeline construction, but that’s changing.
There’s an invisible network connecting every corner of the United States. Without it, cars wouldn’t start and lights wouldn’t turn on. At 2.6 million miles, if it were stretched out, it would reach around the Earth more than a hundred times. Chances are, you’ve never noticed it. The nation’s sprawling pipeline network is buried underground, out of sight and out of mind. But it wasn’t always the case that pipelines crisscrossed the nation, bringing energy where it was needed.
About forty-five percent of U.S. crude oil pipeline is more than fifty years old. Even pipeline laid into the ground in the 1920s and before (think the There Will Be Blood era) is still operating today.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting