Wyoming explosion raises gas pipeline safety concerns

Malin, Ore. — A massive explosion and fireball rocked a natural gas plant in western Wyoming Wednesday afternoon.

The shock waves are having an impact on southern Klamath County…and beyond.

The explosion and fire happened at a Williams natural gas plant at the eastern end of the Ruby Pipeline.

That pipeline extends 680 miles from Opal, Wyoming to the town of Malin.

Malin Public Works Director Rob Grounds believes the disaster could have happened in his town…

“I’m sure it could. Probably back in Opal, they never thought it would happen there, either.”

Nobody was hurt in Wednesday’s explosion…but all 98 residents of nearby Opal were evacuated.

Grounds notes that there are plenty of security systems and safeguards in place at the terminal in Malin…

“They’re very informative on safety.”

However, Wednesday’s accident is likely to be brought up by opponents of the proposed ‘Pacific Connector’ pipeline…which would cross Coos, Douglas, Jackson, and Klamath counties.

The residents of those counties will need to balance the need for jobs and an economic boost…with the potential for a disaster like the one that happened in Wyoming.

But for now, Grounds doesn’t believe the pipeline poses an immediate threat…

“I guess when you read it in the news or whatever, it’s a concern at that moment – then two weeks later, it’s old news.”

The cause of Wednesday’s explosion is still under investigation.

All 42 workers at the Wyoming natural gas plant have been accounted for.

The explosion has disrupted gas supplies through the Ruby Pipeline.

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