Early Thursday morning, a gas pipeline exploded in Knifley, Kentucky, sending at least two people to the hospital and leaving behind a 60-foot crater. Though the root cause of the explosion remains unknown, it comes on the heels of three other serious fossil-fuel accidents this week. Common Dreams reports: The incident in Kentucky follows two fossil fuel disasters on Tuesday this week: a coal slurry spill in West Virginia that turned a local river "black" with toxic compounds and a dramatic explosion of a fracking well in western Pennsylvania. On Monday night, a similar explosion to what has happened in Kentucky occurred when a natural gas pipeline "ruptured and exploded" causing a massive fire in North Dakota. Jamie Henn, the director of strategy and communications for the environmental group 350.org, said the explosion was symptomatic of the larger problem of overreliance on dangerous fossil fuels. In an email to Common Dreams, Henn wrote: "The fossil fuel industry is like a giant robot at the end of a horror movie—falling to pieces and lashing out as it strains for ever more resources. … The latest string of disasters bolds and italicizes a basic fact: fossil fuels aren't safe. Not for our communities, not for our environment, and certainly not for our climate. … It's time [for] politicians to stand up and reject catastrophes like the Keystone XL pipeline and start promoting things that don't blow up or leak, like solar panels and wind turbines." Several hours after the story broke this morning, a train carrying crude oil and propane through Western Pennsylvannia derailed. Although the details are still developing, a county spokesperson reported that the resulting "small" leak had been contained.
Sarah Berlin is an intern at In These Times.