Governor Bentley declares State of Emergency after Colonial Pipeline explosion Monday

Gov. Robert Bentley  (WHNT News 19)

Gov. Robert Bentley (WHNT News 19)

MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday declared a State of Emergency for Alabama due to an explosion and fire of a Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County on Monday.

The State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This waiver is needed to lift the federal government’s limitation on the hours a driver can transport gasoline. The State of Emergency is effective November 1, 2016 through December 1, 2016 unless sooner terminated.

On October 31, 2016 at 2:55 p.m. a Colonial Pipeline contractor struck a 36” below ground transmission gasoline pipeline while unearthing threaded O-rings (TOR) for rendering the line inert. This operation was necessary to install a permanent repair required by the previous pipeline rupture on September 9, 2016.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the six injured workers and with the family of the fatally injured worker,” Governor Bentley said. “An accident of this magnitude is tough for any community to deal with, and I want to personally thank the local first responders for their immediate assistance to this accident, as well as the first responders from surrounding counties. They all provided resources and support to the help Shelby County in their time of need.”

In addition to local responders, several state and federal resources are dedicated to responding to this disaster including: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, Alabama Emergency Management, Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Regional Paramedical Services and others.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management staff is actively participating in the response and is embedded within the Unified Command Center.  Air monitoring is ongoing and boom has been deployed as a precautionary measure but no surface water impacts have been documented at this time.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is also assisting by monitoring the wildfires within the containment lines.