History of Safety Issues Preceded Deadly Explosion: Beaver County Times, Post Gazette Coverage

Two Workers Killed in Explosion

at Monaca’s Horsehead Zinc Plant

Photo: Bill Wade/Post-Gazette

Tina Smith, of Monaca, places a cross outside the Horsehead Corp. plant on Thursday evening.

By Moriah Balingit

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 23, 2010 – An industrial accident at the Horsehead Corp. zinc plant in Beaver County Thursday afternoon claimed the lives of two men and injured at least two other workers.

Neither the company nor the Beaver County coroner’s office would release the names of the two men who died. The coroner’s office said results from autopsies would be released today.

The workers were killed in the plant’s zinc oxide refinery, a part of the plant where molten zinc is turned into zinc oxide. The incident occurred in the zinc distillation columns, three-story-high smokestack-like structures constructed of brick.

One worker who would not give his name reported hearing a large boom followed by what sounded like several small explosions.

But company spokesman Ali Alavi refused to characterize the incident as an explosion, saying the company was still in the fact-finding mode.

Workers gather at Horsehead’s Fence on Route 18

Wesley Hill, director of Beaver County Emergency Services, said two of the workers suffered minor injuries.

Continue reading History of Safety Issues Preceded Deadly Explosion: Beaver County Times, Post Gazette Coverage

Dangers of Natural Gas Drilling Need Regulation


1,200 Hear Marcellus Shale Debate

At EPA hearing in Canonsburg

Photo: Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette
By Don Hopey
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 23 2010

Sandra McDaniel of the Clearville Citizens for Sustainability speaks during a public listening session hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the agency’s proposed study of the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg on Thursday.

Concerns about the risk of water contamination and public health problems from Marcellus Shale drilling dominated a sometimes loud U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Southpointe attended by 1,200 people Thursday night.

Although EPA officials told those in attendance the meeting was not about drilling policy, most of the more than 100 speakers let it be known that they oppose Marcellus Shale drilling in the state, and many shared personal stories of contaminated wells, dead farm animals and damaged health. They attributed the problems to water contamination caused by the deep gas drilling operations that are increasing quickly through much of the state.

Several urged that a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling be enacted until the EPA finishes its study scheduled for the end of 2012.

Continue reading Dangers of Natural Gas Drilling Need Regulation