For Immediate Release:
October 15, 2021
Proximity to Saltwater Increases Pipeline Leak Rates in Texas and Louisiana. Coastal Texas has a per-mile pipeline leak rate 16.08 times the national rate.
NEW ORLEANS—The vast majority of the United State’s petrochemical manufacturing infrastructure is located on the Gulf Coast despite threats from rising sea levels and natural disasters like hurricanes. Data published by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety on the number of pipeline incidents from 2010-present showed Louisiana and Texas to have an exceptionally high number of incidents per mile of pipelines, a statistic that only gets worse with proximity to the ocean. Today, Healthy Gulf, a non-profit organization that protects the Gulf of Mexico and defends wetlands for people and wildlife, is releasing a white paper, titled Oil and Gas Pipeline Integrity in Texas and Louisiana, 2010-2020, that analyzes the per-mile rate of pipeline leaks in Texas and Louisiana.
This white paper illustrates the increased risk of leaks for every added mile of pipeline. This rate is particularly concerning in places like Louisiana and Texas where thousands of miles of pipelines are located in vulnerable areas and along the coast. Texas has a leak rate 2.57 times the rate for the entire nation, while moving to the coastal region of Texas increases that rate to 16.08 times that of the national rate. Louisiana’s leak rate is 2.22 times the rate for the entire nation, and coastal Louisiana has a per-mile incident or "leak" rate 5.92 times the rate for the nation.
“Steel and saltwater don't mix,” says Scott Eustis, Community Science Director for Healthy Gulf and author of the white paper. “It’s absurd that the U.S. is placing this infrastructure in a place where it will be destroyed. The only reason these pipelines are permitted in these locations is because the pollution consequences mostly affect poorer and Black and Indigenous communities on the Gulf Coast. This environmental racism makes for poor planning.”
While the raw data paints a grim picture for the future of states like Texas and Louisiana, there is hope if change happens now. President Biden’s promise to plug abandoned oil and gas wells could potentially provide funding to Texas and Louisiana to fix old, leaking pipeline infrastructure. As Eustis says, “Rehire oil workers, fix these leaks, care of our people, and protect our water and climate.”
View the white paper: www.healthygulf.org/pipelineintegrity
About Healthy Gulf
Healthy Gulf is a nonprofit organization committed to providing Gulf communities with the tools needed to reverse the long pattern of over exploitation of the Gulf’s natural resources.