Roundup: Kentucky Gas Pipeline Explosion

Gas-pipeline explodes in Kentucky • Farms at the center of subdivisions? • Fair treatment for Colorado's rural area • Nuclear waste storage • Planning a rural Parliament in Scotland

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Investigators don’t know the cause of a gas-pipeline explosion in southern-central Kentucky that injured two people, destroyed two homes, severely damaged another and left a crater 50-feet deep.

The explosion is sure to become part of the debate over a proposed pipeline that would carry gas liquids from gas wells in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to another pipeline that extends to the Gulf of Mexico.

Opponents of the pipeline say it would be unsafe.

Thursday’s explosion involved methane. The Columbia Gulf Transmission pipeline, buried 20 feet deep,  exploded early in the morning in the town of Knifely, Kentucky.

WDRB television also reports that two barns and several vehicles caught fire and that boulders and rocks were thrown onto the nearby road.

Thirty people have been evacuated and a state of emergency declared in Adair County.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that “Kentucky is crossed by more than 5,000 miles of underground natural-gas pipelines because it lies between major refining operations in Texas and consumers in the Northeast.”

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Harvest Public Media reports on a new housing-development trend: putting a farm at the center of a subdivision the way a developer might have used a golf course or park:

In Fort Collins, Colo., developers are currently constructing one of the country’s newest development-supported farms. At first blush, the Bucking Horse development looks like your average halfway-constructed subdivision. But look a bit closer and you’ll see a historic rustic red farm house and a big white barn enclosed by the plastic orange construction fencing.

When finished, Bucking Horse will support more than 1,000 households. Agriculture and food production are the big draws, Kirkpatrick says. Land has been set aside for vegetables. There will be goats and chickens, too, subsidized by homeowners. Soon they’ll be hiring a farmer for a 3.6-acre CSA farm. There’s also a plaza designed for a farmers market, and an educational center where homeowners can take canning classes.

In short, the neighborhood plan is infused with the quaint, pastoral, even romantic view of farming.

“Our public restrooms are in an old chicken coop, and it’ll be half public restroom and half chicken coop,” [an employee of the developer says].

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Commissioners from Colorado counties that considered a secession initiative last year met with Gov. John Hickenlooper last week to discuss concerns over how rural areas are treated in statewide legislation. The governor said he has told legislative leaders to do a better job of including “all parties” in their deliberations. Presumably, “all parties” includes rural legislators.

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One of the ways rural communities differ from urban ones is home-heating methods. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, for example, 70% of the state’s homes use natural gas. But fuel oil and propane are more widely used beyond the city limits and in small towns.

Lee Newspapers looks at Hokah Hardware in Hokay, Minnesota, which has converted its heating system to a wood-chip boiler.

And Wheeler News Service reports that the high cost of propane has caused more communities to ask a natural-gas utilities to extend service to new areas.

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The Texas speaker of the House wants to see whether the state’s “wide-open spaces” could help the nation solve its nuclear-waste storage problem, the Texas Tribune says.

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Rural leaders in Scotland are planning a Scottish Rural Parliament. The first meeting will be November 2014 in Oban:

The event will develop and agree a way forward for rural Scotland whilst celebrating the strengths and achievements of rural Scottish communities. The themes or agenda for the event are yet to be announced. …

Scottish Rural Action (SRA) is the organisation charged by Scottish Government with developing the Rural Parliament. Chair John Hutchison said: “The Scottish Rural Parliament will be a community-led process of development culminating in an event every two years. Our aim is to give rural communities the opportunity to present a collective voice to Government. Encouraging discussion and debate over the next few months, leading up to November, will be an important part of that.”

A series of smaller events are planned across Scotland in the run up to the Rural Parliament which will feed into the discussion and debate at the event itself.

Coordinator Emma Cooper explained: “The process of involvement, discussion and debate within and between rural communities prior to the event is as vital, if not more so, than the event itself. By engaging people in this manner and giving them a real voice in Scottish politics, it is hoped that this first Rural Parliament will kick-start a rural movement such as exists in other parts of Europe.”

 

 

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