Thursday, November 08, 2007

Natural Gas Stinks

I’ve written before on how when you write something on a blog, there are people who work for companies who scan blogs just so they can do damage control or plug their industry in the blog comments. I wrote about a product a few months ago and they replied with a message about their company and a contest they were having. Our pal Beth wrote about the problem she was having with another company and their team contacted her immediately to resolve the problem. I believe this happened with my article yesterday. I wrote about electrical power and I got an anonymous reply that talked about the virtues of natural gas. You can read it the reply yesterday.

Their message was purely a positive spin akin to “Who doesn’t love puppies.”
If you continue on to read my reply I go on a rant about how dangerous natural gas is. How often have you seen what is left of a house after a natural gas explosion? It is total destruction.

The gas company TV ads show a gas leak as a guy in a sloppy costume drinking milk out of a carton and then the utility worker comes and rounds him up and takes him away in his van. What they should show is what is left after an explosion and how entire neighborhoods get evacuated.

I can think of no reason, even economic that would justify having this dangerous substance pumped into ones home. A simple internet search will reveal the hundreds of times houses explodes because of natural gas. Then there are pipe line explosions. This stuff is by no means safe.

Add to that, here in Dried Salmon County we are being courted by several Texas LNG companies who not only want to build large storage tanks facilities along the Columbia River, and have large bulbous tankers coming into these ports several times a week, but they are going to build a couple hundred miles of pipeline that will render a lot of agriculture and forest land unsafe, useless and unsellable. The frequency of pipeline explosions is alarming in this country. The frequency of home and business explosions in this country is alarming as well.

So, it isn’t enough that they want to endanger our river, our shores and our property inland, but they want you to believe it is perfectly safe for home use, even though it doesn’t smell like chocolate chip cookies.

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Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Buzz's Bar back home...where my dad used to sit his butt after work everyday for a beer, blew up like this. Killed "Buzz" and a poor student who stopped in for a drink but was fortunately before the happy hour crowd arrived. There was absolutely nothing left and rocked the entire neighborhood. Buzz's was an institution of sorts, there for about 100 years. Gone in a second.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh crap. My house is heated with natural gas. So are most of the homes in the neighbourhood.
Worse - apparently there is a "minor" gas leak from the pipe under the front lawn that was found by some gas company truck that goes around looking for this kind of thing. I spoke with the guy, was told not to worry and that it is being monitored.
I think I'll be moving sooner than I thought - if I don't blow up first.
I will add this to my worry list.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous jb said...

Yeah, thanks a lot Guy. It has taken me years and years to get over my fear of the gas furnace in my home. I knew I was right all along! And to think I just forked over $500 to have it repaired!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

They're trying to build a LNG terminal in eastern Maine too. On one of the most treacherous stretches of navigable water in the US!?!?!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Warwick Thom said...


It's my opinion that you're way off base on the danger of Natural Gas for home use. In more than thirty years of service as a volunteer firefighter I've only seen three explosions caused by gas, and those were caused by Propane, a much more hazardous product due to its heavier than air properties.
I've responded to Natural Gas leaks numerous times, one of them quite spectacular, when a high pressure line was severed in the street of a downtown area. None of those leaks resulted in an explosion or even fire. Natural Gas, being lighter than air, dissipates easily when safely ventilated to the outdoors.
Electricity is far more dangerous. I can't count the number of serious fires I've seen that were electrical in origin. If you want to worry about an energy source in your home, statistically it should be electricity.
The safety of large scale transport and storage of Natural Gas is a subject I can't speak to, but I'm glad it's NIMBY

2:50 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I think safety is relative when it comes to things like having natural gas in the home. I'd venture a guess that a lot more people are injured or die as the result of using wood-burning stoves or heaters than do from natural gas explosions.

3:03 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I will agree that all forms of energy have a potential for problems. If your smoke detectors are working there is a good chance you can survive a wood or electrical fire, but with a gas explosion smoke detector might go off after it goes through your neighbor's wall, and if you can hear it when you are dead.

When there is a problem with gas it is usually a big problem. Look at the photos in the article.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We better not build a big house around the tanks at Bradwood

Electricity kills more people

Propane kills more people

Wood stoves kill more people

Gasoline kills more people

Natural gas is pretty low on the list

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guy, it was I, Pierce Christie, who posted the bit about gas on the 'Power' post yesterday. I am not a shill for LGN or anything else for that matter except music on vinyl, it sounds better. I hope they don't bring it up the Columbia but I like using that nice Canadian stuff that comes through existing pipelines. I will never bring it up again.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

I'm with guy on this one.
One of the factory workers dropped the nossle on top of our propane tanks after filling a forklift, broke the bleeder off, and caused a leak that caused the fire dept to evacuate the entire neighborhood.
The 200 gal tank ended up looking like a block of ice.
They mixed air all night long.
Mrs. Gearhead & I bought a pickup camper several years back.
When we got it home, I filled the propane tank, turned it on and checked each fitting and connection with soapy water.
And while Guy Smiley correctly points out all of the houses that explode annually, he left out all of the campers, trailers, fifth-wheels and motorhomes that explode due to gas.
And how about Carbon Monoxide poisen?
I know a very nice young family that all spent the night at the hospital because something screwed up in their motorhome and they almost ALL DIED due to Carbon monoxide.
It is beyond my imagination why anyone would want pressurized gas in their house.
I like to sleep at night.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natural gas lines that run into my house have 2 psi in them. You have to have little psi to move it along in the pipe. Warwick Thom is correct. Natural gas is safer than most of the other energy sources that we use now. And propane is much much much more dangerous than natural gas. When the Canadians turn off the valve to the western United States in 12-15 years, what then. Hopefully wind and wave energy will pick up steam as energy prices increase, but there will still be a demand for natural gas as a heating cource.

5:32 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Dang Pierce, that reply was corporate slick. Thanks for fessing up. And please do continue to reply on any subject. It's interesting to flesh out these ideas. Some agree and some disagree. That's the nature of blogging and political races and issues. It's all good.

We will be hearing about the proposed pipeline quite a bit around here in the near future. I have an easement on the back end of my property where three major electrical feeder lines are. They don't bother me at all, but had it been a natural gas pipe line I would not have purchased this place.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had three houses toasted out from under me. One due to a downstairs neighbor tossing a blanket over an electric space heater. One to a short in a wall socket, that one didn't burn it down but the resulting smoke and water damage destroyed everything. And the last to a forest fire, ironically while I was out on a fire crew.

None of the many places I've lived that were heated with gas ever worried me, even my current one. We have one of those huge tanks sitting 10 ft from the wall of our bedroom, if that puppy went it would destroy most of our house.

On a list of things likely to destroy my house number one would be idiots with illegal fireworks in the middle of a hot dry summer. Somewhere around 25 or thirty would be a gas leak. Yes, I think about these things.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hydrogen powered cars 10 years away? or sooner? check out what Honda's coming up with. You'll have to do a search on - honda home energy station - just think if every gas station had one, then every home

Jon Dana

6:24 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I think they have hydrogen filling stations in California. Mercedes and BMW has them on the market now.

Hey, I saw that a cabin exploded in Goldendale yesterday. Yep, Natural Gas.

7:13 AM  

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