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NTSB releases 1,400 pages on West Virginia pipeline explosion

By Bob Downing Published: June 7, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Federal investigators are releasing more than 1,400 pages of documents about a natural gas pipeline explosion in Sissonville, but they won't provide any analysis or identify the probable cause of the near-disaster last December.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday's document dump will be factual in nature, including interview transcripts and photos. Officials won't be answering any questions.

Conclusions and the likely cause of the explosion will come when the final investigation report is finished.

A buried 20-inch transmission line owned and operated by Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. ruptured on Dec. 11, 2012, about 100 feet west of Interstate 77 in Sissonville.

The blast hurled a 20-foot section of pipe more than 40 feet.

No one was killed or seriously injured, but the explosion and resulting fireball destroyed several homes and cooked a stretch of I-77.

A preliminary investigation found the decades-old pipe had corroded, losing 70 percent of its original thickness.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller held a field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee on the explosion in January, seeking lessons from that blast and others.

A September 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed dozens of homes, and a July 2010 pipeline rupture spewed 843,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into Michigan waterways — the most expensive onshore spill in U.S. history.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said each of the three incidents involved pipelines from the 1960s or older.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.