News & Media Opinion Pieces Fossil fuels: a legacy of disaster

Fossil fuels: a legacy of disaster

This is a review of the deaths and injuries in coal mining, natural gas mining and the oil industry in the US. All these industries have a big role in Australia and we need to take note of US experience

As the article states:

“On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such as solar and wind is safer for workers as well as better for public health, economic competitiveness, and the environment. We can take steps to make fossil fuel industries less dangerous while we transition to cleaner energy”.

The US continues to have a considerable number of deaths in coal mines. In Australia fatalities and injuries have decreased because of tighter legislation. However in the US study there were a remarkable number of deaths and injuries in the natural gas industry and we must take note of this in our acceptance fo the rapid expansion of the gas industry in Australia with pipelines to criss-cross Queensland

“Natural gas, touted as a cleaner and safer alternative to coal and oil, has its perils too. Natural gas pipeline accidents have resulted in 892 deaths and 6,258 injuries since 1970. According to the Detriot Free Press, there have been 2,554 significant oil and gas pipeline accidents nationwide that caused 161 deaths and 576 injuries in the past decade alone. The 110,700 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines snaking across the United States makes “accelerating the rehabilitation, repair, and replacement of critical pipeline infrastructure with known integrity risks” crucial to citizen and worker safety.”

Read the full article in Climate Progess April 20, 2011