Federal order comes three years after Mississippi pipeline rupture

Published 9:52 pm Friday, April 7, 2023

Transportation regulators entered into a federal order with a carbon dioxide pipeline company three years after its pipeline ruptured in a lower Mississippi Delta town, prompting the evacuation of hundreds and sending dozens of people to the hospital.

Over 40 people received hospital treatment, and more than 300 were evacuated on Feb. 22, 2020, after Denbury Gulf Coast Pipelines’ 24-inch (61-centimeter) Delta Pipeline ruptured in Satartia. It released over 31,000 barrels of CO2. Residents who were sent to the hospital had symptoms of C02 poisoning and oxygen deprivation, according to a news release published by Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocacy group.

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced Thursday that it had entered into the order with Denbury, a Texas-based company.

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The order will require the company to meet compliance requirements, such as communicating with all first responders who would be responsible for responding to a pipeline incident. Denbury has already paid a $2.8 million penalty, the release said.

“We hope that the consequences Denbury faces as a result of its failure to protect the public prevents devastating incidents like this one from occurring in the future,” said Kenneth Clarkson, communications director for Pipeline Safety Trust.

Denbury has the largest pipeline network in the U.S., with over 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) of carbon dioxide pipelines, according to its website. The company did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.