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Gas Leak Cleanup Going Well, Bentley Says

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Esther Ciammachilli, WBHM

Governor Robert Bentley speaking today on the cleanup effort following a leaking gas pipeline near Helena.

Governor Robert Bentley says cleanup efforts are going well following a leaking gas pipeline discovered earlier this month south of Birmingham.

Colonial Pipeline, the company that owns and operates the gas pipeline, has deployed roughly 700 people to clean up about 300,000 gallons of gas. It spilled into a pond near Helena.

Bentley says he’s impressed with Colonial’s efforts. Still, the pipes that funnel gas from Texas to New Jersey were laid more than five decades ago and Bentley says there’s no way of ensuring a leak like this won’t happen again.

“That’s like saying is a tornado going to happen,” he says. “We don’t know that. What you have to do is you have to be as prepared as you can possibly be.”

Officials are still investigating the cause of the leak and have shut off the pipeline during cleanup. Some southeastern states served by the pipeline – such as Georgia and North and South Carolina – are seeing gas prices increase. Bentley says, even though he himself has seen a sharp increase in gas prices in Alabama, he doesn’t think price gouging is an issue in the state.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m. reports, the leak has spread to another pond in the area.

Colonial Pipeline and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say they are actively sampling the surface and ground water around the leak site and that the gas has not reached nearby Peel Creek, a tributary of the Cahaba River.