Environmentalists, unions seek to fix gas leaks

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Associated Press

Posted on December 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 8 at 11:02 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Unions and environmentalists have found one point of agreement in the bitter debate over the natural gas drilling boom: fixing leaky old pipelines that threaten public health and the environment. The huge national effort could cost $82 billion.

The leaks are a problem because methane, the primary component of natural gas, is explosive in high concentrations and is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that more than 30,000 miles of decades-old, decaying cast-iron pipe are still being used to deliver gas nationwide.

The Sierra Club, the United Steelworkers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Consumers Union and several other groups are supporting the push to fix the old pipelines.

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