Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Pipeline operator Colonial has already had five spills in Alabama in 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Exposing 'Inherent Danger,' Alabama Pipeline Blast Kills One, Injures More

Deadly incident is just the latest in a string of nationwide pipeline leaks and spills

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

A major southern gas pipeline exploded Monday afternoon in Alabama, killing one worker and injuring five others.

The explosion occurred in rural Shelby County when a contract crew hit the pipeline with a trackhoe, igniting gasoline, pipeline operator Colonial told Reuters in an e-mailed statement late on Monday. The blast "sent flames and thick black smoke soaring over the forest," the Associated Press reported. The resulting fires consumed 31 acres and continue to burn, according to a statement from the company, which shut down its two mainlines after the explosion.

Local station WBRC cited Gov. Robert Bentley in reporting that "forestry crews have helped set up a three-mile perimeter around the explosion site and authorities are evacuating all civilians within that perimeter."

See footage below from WAFF-48:

And photos were posted on social media:

The explosion happened about five miles west from the site of a recent Colonial Pipeline gasoline leak, as Al.com noted. That September incident, too—the fifth in the state this year—forced Colonial to shut down its lines, making this the second time in as many months that the company has done so.

It is also the latest in a series of pipeline incidents, which come amid intense debate over pipeline safety and fossil fuel infrastructure.

As such, many social media users posted about the explosion along with the hashtag #NoDAPL, indicating their opposition to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

"Because pipelines leak, pollute & explode," tweeted one user.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Advocates Cheer DOJ Reversal of Trump Policy Denying Asylum to Victims of Violence

"Now it's time to build on this progress," said one migrant rights campaigner. "We're ready to work with the administration to create an asylum system that provides every person a fair opportunity to apply for protection."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Activists Frustrated That Biden, Putin Won't Reduce Nuclear Arsenals

"Concerned citizens around the globe expect more than a general commitment to lay a foundation for status quo arms control," said the head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'Huge Day for Trans Youth' as Biden Administration Reverses Trump-Era Title IX GuidancebrettJun 16, 2021
LGBTQ
"All students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination," said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

Biden Urged to Embrace Top Democrat's Call to End Deadly US Sanctions Against Venezuela

"The terrible suffering and death that Venezuela has experienced in recent years is overwhelmingly a result of economic collapse and deprivation caused by U.S. sanctions."

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Record Heat and Flimsy Power Grid Across US Illustrates Urgent Need for Green Infrastructure

"Texas' grid shutting down in both cold and heat," said one Democratic lawmaker, "underscores the facts we need to invest in clean and renewable energy infrastructure. Immediately."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·