Published on 14th October 2013 by

Oil Shock: USA’s creaking energy infrastructure

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The US has over 2.5 million miles of pipelines crossing it, carrying gas and oil. But many of them are over 50 years old, cracking and leaking toxic contents into communities.

Across the US there are 2.5 million miles of pipes carrying gas, crude oil and petrol. Over half of these are more than 50 years old and beginning to crack, releasing their toxic contents with devastating effects.

“Your eyes would burn, your throat would burn, your lungs would burn”, says Genevieve Long. Her family suffered health problems after the pipeline near her home burst, spilling a toxic torrent of heavy chemicals through the town and its nearby waterways. “The nation’s pipeline network has been subject to benign neglect over most of its last 20 to 30 years”, says Ed Hirs, a lecturer on energy economics at the University of Houston. Without the piplines many ask how America’s insatiable demand for fuel will be met. But for those affected, the consequences of this failing infrastructure are dire. “It goes everywhere and there is no technology to clean it.”

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