Gas Pipeline to Go through Fiery Mine Area
Residents who live along the route of a proposed gas pipeline in central Pennsylvania worry that the natural gas “boom” could become more than a figure of speech. The pipeline's route would go through an area plagued by underground coal mine fires and subsidence.
carry natural gas from the Marcellus shale region would go through the area, which is susceptible to combustion in old underground mines.
When Pete Tipka first learned a company wanted to run a natural gas pipeline through his property in Bear Gap, Pennsylvania, he considered it.
“When the pipeline letter came in the mail, I knew nothing about it. I thought— oh, I’ll make some money… Then I did some research.”
It wasn’t easy. He couldn’t get much out of the government.
“People were apprehensive about giving information,” Tipka said. “They clam up and don’t say nothing.”
The company sent a landman to negotiate with property owners, but, according to Tipka, “he was a typical land person. An employee of a huge corporation, there to make landowners happy,” not to provide unbiased information.
The “Atlantic Sunrise” pipeline would run through 10 Pennsylvania counties, connecting other pipelines and moving natural gas for export. It’s a proposal from Williams Partners, a Tulsa-based Fortune 200 company.
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Photo courtesy of NixnootzPete Tipka points to the route the proposed pipeline would take through his land in Pennsylvania.
Tipka started to worry about the proposed pipeline splitting his land in half – land that his family has owned for over 175 years. He went to public meetings held by the company, but company representatives quickly dismissed his concerns.
His bigger concern, though, lies in the mountain to the south of his land, where his great grandpappy milled timbers for the mines.
The abandoned coal lands near Shamokin, Pennsylvania, are scraggly and unnatural. There are mounds, ditches and barren patches. Coal and other rock are littered everywhere. These are the scars of mining, above- and below-ground, over many years.
The Glen Burn Colliery operated there for more than 130 years. It was once the second largest anthracite coal mine in the world. The waste produced by the mine – rock and coal dust – now sits as the world’s largest man-made mountain. There are three active fires inside the old tunnels.
The most famous place like this is Centralia, Pennsylvania — the “town-on-fire,” where the coal under town has been burning since 1962. But there are more than 30 other mine fires in Pennsylvania that most people don’t know about – like the fires where the Glen Burn Colliery used to be.
The natural gas pipeline is set to run right through the area of the Glen Burn fires.
[imgcontainer] [img:F-FQ-ASR-A-02RevE.jpg] [source]Source: Williams pipeline companyThe red line shows the route of the proposed pipeline, which will allow natural gas from the productive Marcellus shale fields to flow southward along the Atlantic seaboard. The project is designed to balance demand for natural gas with new supplies being developed in the Northeast. The line also connects to export facilities. Click map for a larger view.