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Explosions Along Atmos Energy’s Texas Pipeline Network Have Killed 9 Since 2006

Atmos Pipeline Explosion | Texas Pipeline Explosion Lawyer

Natural gas pipeline explosions along Atmos Energy’s network in north and central Texas have tragically killed 9 people since 2006.

An investigation recently conducted by the Dallas Morning News found that 22 others were seriously injured in those explosions, which also destroyed 2 dozen homes.

Atmos Energy Pipeline Network Includes Some of the Oldest Pipes in the Nation

Atmos Energy’s network – which runs under streets and behind homes across Dallas and Fort Worth, north to Sherman and south to College Station – contains some of the oldest pipes in the nation.

Constructed of cast-iron, those old pipes are especially vulnerable to corrosion, cracks, and other dangers.

What’s more, the company’s largest division – Atmos Mid-Texas — has received 5 times as many state safety-violation citations as Houston’s CenterPoint, the state’s other large gas-distribution company.

Atmos Rarely Accepts Blame for Deadly Pipeline Explosions

Atmos rarely accepts responsibility for pipeline explosions, instead blaming the tragedies on lightning strikes and other bad weather, poor soil conditions, or careless digging by construction crews.

But to Rebecca Craven, program director for the Pipeline Safety Trust, the sorry track record of accidents and citations “suggest Atmos really needs to up its game in terms of creating a safety culture.”

Texas Policies and Regulations May Be Enabling Atmos Energy’s Poor Safety Record

Unfortunately, Texas regulators may be contributing to Atmos Energy’s poor safety record.

For one thing, the state hasn’t required the company to replace its decrepit cast-iron pipes with safer alternatives.

In fact, Atmos still has around 840 miles of aging cast-iron pipes in the network.

What’s more, the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates pipeline networks in the state, appears loath to fine the company over safety violations.

“When we looked at their record of explosions involving Atmos Energy here in Dallas and in the northern half of the state, when somebody died or was injured, you would think they would be fined — the company would be fined if they were found to have a lax safety response but that wasn’t always the case,” Cary Aspinwall, one of the reporters behind the Dallas Morning News investigation, told the Texas Standard.

Text Messages from Railroad Commission Suggest an Effort to Shield Atmos From Federal Investigations

Even in the rare instances when the Railroad Commission did fine Atmos Energy, it often reversed those decisions years later when the company appealed.

And most shockingly, text messages uncovered by the Dallas Morning News suggested that, in at least one instance, personnel from the Texas Railroad Commission appeared more concerned with protecting Atmos Energy from federal investigators than holding the company accountable.

“It was just surprising to us because they’re [the Railroad Commission] supposed to be serving as a public watchdog in this case,” Aspinwall said.

Trump’s Attack on Pipeline Safety Regulations Could Make Things Worse

Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that pipeline safety will improve in Texas – or anywhere for that matter – in the near future.  In fact, it could very well get worse.

One primary reason for this is the Trump Administration’s efforts to severely roll-back pipeline safety regulations since the President took office nearly 2 years ago.

For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently proposed eliminating the current classification system that requires pipeline operators to take extra precautions in high-density population areas.

If the proposal is adopted, Atmos Energy and other pipeline operators will essentially self-police when it comes to public safety by conducting their own risk assessments and deciding, for themselves, what additional safety measures – if any – are needed.

Contact Our Undefeated Pipeline Explosion Lawyers for a Free Consultation by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or CLICK HERE

Our Undefeated Pipeline Explosion Lawyers are investigating the recent natural gas explosions along Atmos Energy’s Texas pipeline network and will post updates as new information becomes available.

In addition to being undefeated, our Texas Pipeline Explosion Lawyers have won over $1 billion for our clients and successfully represented thousands of people in Texas, Louisiana, and throughout the United States who were injured or tragically killed in connection with preventable pipeline explosions and accidents.

If you have questions about your legal rights and options following a pipeline explosion, call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free, and because we only represent clients for a contingency fee, you’ll owe nothing unless we win your case.