Tag Archives: worker

Explosion in Alabama shuts down gas pipeline, kills worker

Colonial Pipeline Co’s main gasoline line, a crucial supply source to the East Coast, is shut down for at least several days, after an explosion and fire in Alabama killed one worker and injured five others.

Crews have isolated the fire, which came weeks after its biggest gasoline spill in nearly two decades shut the same line for 12 days.

The latest incident also temporarily shut down the distillates line, which transports diesel and jet fuels to the Northeast. It reopened early Tuesday, Colonial said.

The explosion occurred several miles from the September leak. A nine-man crew working on the line in Shelby County hit Line 1, the main gasoline pipeline, with a large excavator known as a track hoe, Colonial said late Monday. About 1.3 million barrels of gasoline flows daily on the line.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said investigators were on the scene. They noted that contractors were “reportedly” working on repairs on Line 1 related to the Sept. 9 spill.

One person was killed and five others hospitalized in the latest incident, Colonial said.

The explosion took place in an unincorporated wildlife area outside Helena, Alabama. Colonial and the state’s forestry commission were leading the response.

The 5,500-mile pipeline is the largest U.S. refined products pipeline system and can carry more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel between the Gulf Coast to the New York Harbor area.

Shippers using the East Coast supply artery were bracing for a longer shutdown as Colonial said it was hard to predict a repair schedule.

The shutdown will restrict gasoline supplies to millions of Americans in the U.S. Southeast and possibly the Northeast. The Northeast could be less affected since it can get supplies via waterborne shippers. Colonial said its main gasoline line could be open as early as Saturday.


Gasoline prices rose as much as 13 percent on Tuesday.

The shutdown already has shippers and fuel companies scrambling to secure supplies via sea or other alternatives to get fuel to the East Coast. Fuel retailers and consumers are likely to be most affected, though prices at the pump have not risen yet, even as gasoline futures have spiked.


Barclays analyst Warren Russell said on Tuesday prior to Colonial’s statement that a restart could take longer due to concerns by regulators, given the proximity to the September leak, and as repair and safety inspections take place.

“The facts on the ground are not 100 percent clear,” said Russell. “This is the second accident in two months, so the stakes are much higher this time around.”



Gasoline futures rose as much as 13 percent early in the session to $1.6351, the highest since early June. At midday, it rose 4.1 percent to $1.48 per gallon. U.S. gasoline margins hit their highest since early May.

Ryan Chandler, vice president at Colonial Group Inc, which is not connected to Colonial Pipeline, said he has been fielding calls from the pipeline’s customers seeking access to its Charleston and Savannah marine terminals.

Chandler’s company manages three marine terminals in the Southeast and ships on the Colonial pipeline. He said during the September outage, business at the Savannah terminal jumped sevenfold, while Charleston jumped fivefold.

For inland markets in the U.S. Southeast, which do not have access to ports, alternative supplies can be harder to get.

The September spill led to long lines at the pump and a shortage of fuel in states like Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.


Multi-millionaire Jeb Bush rejects idea of raising federal minimum wage

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said this week that minimum wage increases should be left to businesses and state governments. He opposes a hike in the federal minimum wage.

“State minimum wages are fine,” said Bush, making an appearance in South Carolina as he continues to build support for a 2016 bid for president.

As governor, Bush opposed a 2004 ballot measure approved by voters in Florida that tied increases in the state minimum wage to inflation. Asked about the minimum wage in the Southern state, Bush said he doesn’t want to abolish the existing federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but also opposes raising it.

Democrats generally favor raising the minimum wage, while many Republicans oppose it.

“We’re moving to a world where it’s sticky in the ends, where it’s harder for people in poverty to move up, and where the rich are doing really well, and the middle is getting squeezed,” Bush said in Greenville. 

“Any idea that perpetuates that is one that I would oppose, and I think this minimum wage idea is exactly one of those things,” said Bush, whose net worth is estimated at $10 million.

Bush has yet to formally declare his intention to run for president in 2016, but winked at the idea during a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, telling the crowd “you’ll be seeing a lot of me.” He was spending two days in South Carolina, which hosts the South’s first presidential primary next February, a few weeks after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

The South Carolina primary could draw more than 600,000 voters, far exceeding turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire. Bush said South Carolina would play a huge role as “the first big primary state.”

Bush’s pitches in South Carolina began with a biography, from his immediate family life to his experience in the private sector and public office. He credited his wife, Columba, with “bringing order to my life.” Being “George’s boy, Barbara’s boy” means he “won the lottery” — and obviously had no personal need to be concerned with the minimum wage.

His wide-range of business ventures, he said, means, “I’ve signed the front-side of a paycheck. … Washington has lost its way in this regard. I’m proud that I’ve been in business and know how it works.”

Eight years as Florida’s chief executive gave him experience in a state that “looks like America,” he said. “It’s not completely red, not completely blue,” Bush said, but “as purple as can be.”

But at an evening reception with state Republican lawmakers in Columbia, Bush emphasized that “good, solid, conservative governance” is his priority. 

“I happen to think that conservative governance … would be helpful in Washington, D.C.” he said, instead of “the food fight, the constant crisis, never solving problems, never trying to forge consensus.”

As he has in past trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, Bush defended his endorsement of Common Core education standards and an immigration overhaul, positions that put him at odds with conservative voters.

One of Bush’s expected top rivals for the nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, was due to be in South Carolina on March 19-20.

Walker has public and private events taking him to the upstate area around Greenville and Spartanburg, the capital city of Columbia and the coastal cities of Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

AFL-CIO adds gender identity to constitution

The AFL-CIO amended its governing constitution on Sept. 9 to include gender identity.

Amendment 9 adopted at the organization’s convention is about “welcoming all workers to our movement.” The amendment was proposed by the Communications Workers of America and recommended by the AFL-CIO Constitution Committee.

The amendment amends the AFL-CIO article regarding “objectives and “principles.” The revised article reads, “To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, (or) sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.”

The convention is taking place in Los Angeles through Sept. 11.

The AFL-CIO is governed by a quadrennial convention at which all federation members are represented by elected delegates of our unions. Convention delegates set broad policies and goals for the union movement and every four years elect the AFL-CIO officers – the president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president and vice presidents.

President Barack Obama sent the convention a message on Sept. 9.

May Day Solidarity March set for Milwaukee

Equality Wisconsin is encouraging its supporters to join in the May Day Solidarity March set for April 29.

The march steps off at 12:30 p.m. outside Voces De La Frontera at Fifth Street and Washington in Milwaukee. Marchers will go to Veteran’s Park for a rally that includes keynote speeches by U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

“Voces De La Frontera has always stood by Equality Wisconsin and let’s make sure we stand by them,” said Jason Burns, EW’s executive director.

Billboard award winners Kinto Sol will headline at the rally, held in concert with May Day Solidarity events across the United States. The day of action is for immigrant and worker rights.

“On April 29th community groups, politicians and individuals representing the rights of immigrants, labor, public education, faith groups, civil rights, LGBT, Occupy and many others will unite in solidarity,” VDLF said.

The marchers will be:

• Demanding a stop to the separation of families with deportations.

• Calling for good jobs.

• Opposing cuts to Badgercare and public education.

• Demanding restoration of driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for immigrants.

• Defending voter rights.

March organizers are encouraging people to volunteer to put up posters, handing out fliers and spreading the word on the Web.

Read WiG’s report on Latino support for LGBT equality in the current issue and on the web at www.wisconsingazette.com.

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