The recent pipeline explosion in Alabama that seriously injured five and killed one is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The announcement comes less than after the pipeline exploded. Not only did it result in one death and several injuries, but prompted a 3-mile radius evacuation and caused a fire that burned for several days.
The pipeline is owned and operated by Colonial Pipeline and supplies 40 percent of the east coasts region’s fuel supply. In September the same line had a leak about a mile from where the explosion took place, resulting in the loss of 250,000 gallons of gasoline.
Colonial Pipeline has been making repairs the past week and planned to have the line reopened this weekend. They did state the full repairs and an assessment cannot be done until the fire has completely burned out.
The company is one of the largest pipeline transporters of refined petroleum in the world, but has a long history of violations and fines. In 2003 Colonial payed a $34 million fine for spilling 1.4 million gallons of oil from their pipeline system that affected five states.
The agency that will be investigating the recent explosion, NTSB, is an independent U.S. government investigative agency. The news that they will be investigating comes after House Democrats called for an investigation into Colonial Pipeline, citing their concerns that this was the “third major incident on Colonial’s system in just over a year and the seventh in less than five years.”
They went on to state:
“This is an unacceptable situation, and we are concerned that the number, frequency, and severity of significant incidents on Colonial’s system over the past five years could be symptomatic of severe underlying problems with the system and the company’s management of that system.”