Minimize Dangers

Two men – including a Marietta resident – have died from injuries suffered in an explosion last week at the Twin Hickories natural gas compressor station near Wick, in Tyler County. A third worker was injured in the blast, but no information has been released on his condition.

Modern gas and oil production technology differs in many respects from what state and federal regulations were set up to cover decades ago. Both West Virginia and the federal government have updated their rule books, but it is clear that process needs to be an ongoing one.

Much of the focus in a major state revision of gas and oil industry regulations appears to have been on the well drilling process itself. Accidents involving pipelines have brought more attention to them during the past several months. A compressor station, such as this one, is placed along natural gas pipelines to help propel the gas through the lines. There are many of these operations in the state, many located near dwellings.

State officials should be examining all aspects of the gas and oil industries, from extracting resources from the ground to processing them into consumer goods.

The industry can never be entirely free of accidents, but every effort must be made to minimize dangers such as those that took two lives during the past week.