An explosion on the Koch owned Colonial Pipeline killed one person and sent five to a hospital Monday. The explosion burned 31 acres and the fire burned for nearly two days. This is the second time in two months that the critical pipeline has been shut down due to an accident in Alabama.
Koch Industries is the largest owner of Colonial Pipeline and makes an estimated $85 million a year in dividends from its operation. While Koch Industries makes a profit from their stake in the company, they will likely not face any charges for accidents on the pipeline because they have no liability associated with the company. House Democrats have called for a federal investigation into the latest explosion to try to get some answers.
Colonial Pipeline is a major artery for delivering oil from the Gulf to the East Coast. When accidents happen on the pipeline, consumers pay the price. During the spill in September, gas prices spiked as multiple states declared a state of emergency due to gas shortages. Monday’s explosion could similarly cause an “epic problem” for drivers by driving up gas prices along the East Coast.
Accidents are not rare occurrences at Colonial: between 2010 and 2016 the company reported 128 incidents to the federal government with more than half happening in “high consequence areas” with “large populations, drinking water, or sensitive ecology.”