Blog

DANGER LURKING BELOW

Photo of Brant Stogner

According to a recent Houston Chronicle investigation, more than half of the major natural gas transmission lines in Texas were laid more than 40 years ago and are "vulnerable to failure." In Texas, there is are nearly 46,000 miles of transmission pipe and, according to federal records, more than 25,000 miles are older than 1970. Some of the pipe dates back to the Great Depression. According to pipeline experts, and not surprisingly, older pipelines have inferior properties that make them more likely to fail.

What is the risk? In San Bruno, California, just earlier this year in September, a natural gas transmission line exploded, killing 8 people and destroying dozens of homes. In Texas, these thousands of miles of transmission pipeline carry natural gas and hazardous materials right below our most populous cities. These pipes run beneath our streets, schools, and homes. Again, there are nearly 46,000 miles of this pipe, just in Texas. The risk is clearly substantial.

What is the problem? Federal authorities were issuing warnings over 20 years ago regarding the use of pipelines built with lower-quality welding techniques, which were widely used in pipe factories prior to 1970. The concern is with the integrity of the pipes themselves and whether they are corroding and cracking. The corrosion and cracking allows the gas and substances to escape the pipelines and potentially cause an explosion. Also a problem with older pipelines is the age of the protective coating, which can actually make the pipes more susceptible to corrosion. With regards to the newer pipes, the industry is relying on "a super fusion-bonded epoxy coating." However, about 56% of Texas' pipelines are older than 1970 and do not have this new technology.

Currently in Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission regulates pipeline safety and has imposed more stringent inspection requirements on pipeline companies than the federal government or states like California. This provides some comfort. In fact, the Texas Railroad Commission is currently considering even stricter regulations. With new pipe costing about $1 million to $1.5 million a mile, Texas pipeline operators are not going to simply replace all their pipelines and willingly inspect all the thousands of miles of pipe. Unless new regulations are passed into law, we all need to be aware of the danger lurking below.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories