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Pipelines pose injury risks to workers, nearby residents

Here in Texas, we have perhaps more experience than people in any other state with both the benefits and risks of oil and natural gas pipelines. We have seen the economic benefits pour into Houston and other cities, but also seen pipeline workers injured and killed, and seen the dangers residents must deal with when they live near the conduits for raw energy.

As oil and natural gas deposits are explored and extracted elsewhere in the nation, people in array of locations are learning of the dangers, as an article from an Ohio newspaper recently made clear.

Drillers have plenty of work in the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits, but workers and residents have seen that the economic boom doesn't come without a down side as well.

In the past couple of years, there have been a number of accidents involving natural gas pipelines in the Ohio Valley, where fracking is both controversial and profitable.

In August, a pipeline worker was killed in a construction accident in Jefferson County, the Ohio paper reports.

In March of this year, a two-foot pipeline ruptured, sending a "mushroom cloud" of dirt and debris into the air from the explosion, area residents said. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blast.

Late this past summer, a "pipeline failed" in Wetzel County, West Virginia, killing untold numbers of fish in nearby waters. The state's Department of Environmental Protection cited the company involved for "conditions not allowable."

Last month, the house of a couple who lives near a pipeline was "flooded and ripped apart" when thousands of gallons of "drilling mud" and water poured in the home.

The newspaper didn't mention injuries in that incident, but the property damage was obviously extensive.

While it's no doubt good economic news for the residents of the area to have an influx of drilling operations, pipelines and related businesses, it is just as certain that this line of work poses real risks of injuries and fatalities to workers and residents.

An experienced attorney can explain the legal options available when pipeline-related work leads to injuries, mounting medical expenses, loss of income and other damages.

Source: The Review, "Pipeline problems mounting," by Casey Junkins, Nov. 11, 2013

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