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In the past two days – Wednesday, July 31st and Thursday, August 1st – four explosions at oil and gas facilities in as many states have had tragic results. 

On Wednesday: 

  • One person died as a result of an oil site fire outside of Windsor, Colorado. 

  • Five people were injured and a home was leveled by a natural gas explosion in Washington County, Pennsylvania, where Colombia Gas was conducting maintenance that built up pressure in a service line and caused the blast. 

  • Conflicting reports after an Exxon-Mobile oil refinery explosion in Baytown, Texas reveal dozens of injuries – 37 according to one story and 66 according to another. This is the fourth major fire at the refinery just this year. 
Exxon Mobile Olefins Plant exploded on Wednesday, July 31, in Baytown. Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle.


On Thursday:

  • A natural gas pipeline explosion in Kentucky has claimed at least one life and left seven others missing. Aerial footage of the blast shows homes leveled and charred land that crosses an active railway. 
Aerial footage after a natural gas pipeline blast in Kentucky from WKYT SkyFirst.

These incidents are just the latest in a growing list of injurious and deadly fossil fuel impacts across the United States. As the renewable energy revolution continues to grow, these events are a tragic reminder of what our society has yet to leave behind. 

But even as we transition to safer, cleaner energy sources, the oil and gas facilities that already exist will continue to break down and cause problems over time. That’s why Earthworks is vigilant about the legacy oil and gas impacts that our communities will need to grapple with for decades to come, and why we push so hard against the construction of new fossil fuel facilities that are both unnecessary and dangerous.