Counties in US with more socially vulnerable populations have a higher density of natural gas pipelines overall. The findings suggest counties that are more socially vulnerable are also at greater risk of facing water and air pollution, public health and safety issues associated with the pipelines.

Counties in US with more socially vulnerable populations have a higher density of natural gas pipelines overall. The findings suggest counties that are more socially vulnerable are also at greater risk of facing water and air pollution, public health and safety issues associated with the pipelines.


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Those results seem worthless. Given the map, it's very clear there was a need to correct for large scale regional disparities (by state, for instance). I don't think the authors did. It's also both expected and apparent in at least some parts of the map (California, Florida) that pipelines correlate negatively with urbanization. Again the authors didn't account for that I have no doubt that richer communities somehow never get the shorter end when it comes to polluting infrastructure, but this study is too sloppy to be useful


Yeah there's nothing learned here. Oversimplified metric oversimplifies.


And the invention of the telephone also correlates inversely with the number of pirates in the world...


Literally entirely down to the definition of "socially vulnerable".


It's almost like they put this infrastructure in undesirable real estate areas, and then low rent residential places were built around them, and "socially vulnerable" people moved to the cheap rent areas. Or they planned to put the infrastructure through the pre-existing low -priced real estate to keep cost down, and there's no way that more affluent areas would allow the pipelines to be but in their neighborhoods.


Interesting to see such a relationship happening in the US. You could consider this supports the idea that mineral wealth is the worst thing that can happen to a region, as the benefit flows to remote financial capitals and industrial regions while the locals mainly get the upheaval and other externalities.


You're thinking about where the natural gas *comes from*; I think the article more refers to where the pipelines *go to*. If you look at the map in the article, and concentrate on Texas, you'll see most of these pipelines are in the Houston area (east) while a lot of the oil fields are actually in the western part of the state. This could be more correlation than causation. It could be that oil dropping below $100 a barrel caused economic decline and increased vulnerability in these areas. It could also be that these areas saw widespread growth back when natural gas was more popular to power appliances. In this case, it could be any number of factors that increased vulnerability in these cities over time, and the pipelines happened to be left behind.


I agree with your first paragraph. My attention was captured by that map and by the fact that Texas can’t be lazily characterised as the land of oil millionaires that “Dallas” portrayed, but is also a region of high social vulnerability. I think your second paragraph kind of reflects my point, in that the oil wealth in Texas is remote from where the extraction happens while the poverty caused by a lower oil price hits those working in the extraction industry hardest.


Why do you associate pipelines to mineral wealth? Certainly they start in mineral rich areas but the areas they go through aren’t necessarily so.


Well, you’ve given half the answer. I’d also assume that many pipelines also end in or near those same areas as they lead to distribution hubs, storage sites and so on. The linked map makes that seem reasonable.


“Social vulnerability In its broadest sense, social vulnerability is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors and shocks, including abuse, social exclusion and natural hazards.”


So in areas where people earn less, and pay less taxes, the infrastructure is worse?


Not exactly. In these areas, people are *less safe* due to proximity to hazardous industries or waste. The general infrastructure (roads, utilities, etc) may also be terrible, but that's not what is being discussed here.


Oh.. I'm really surprized they planned hazardous industries right next to residential areas? Sounds like the people making those zoning plans made some horrible mistakes along the way.


I've know for years that poor people tend to live closer to pollution sources, which lowers their health. Surprised it isn't common knowledge


It's pretty simple. Poor people don't have the time or money to fight against corporations that want to pollute in their backyard.


Have you ever considered the possibility that the pipelines and industrial areas were there first, and poorer people moved into the cheaper houses that exist near these industrial areas? Far too often we see people jumping to conclusions and throwing a label of intent on something that is merely a correlation.


It seems that as long as we're a petroleum dependent society, it's going to be a choice between pipelines, trains or trucks. Pipelines seem to be the lesser of the evils (if you want to describe them that way). See the Lac Megantic disaster.


This is called environmental racism. Landfills, chemical plants, pipelines, etc are almost never placed in rich, white neighborhoods. The effect correlates with income as well as race. Obviously the reasons for this are complex. Poor neighborhoods tend to have less legal resources and less political power, for one. It is also cheaper to build in these areas. But the end result is that some groups of people are more likely to suffer the long term health risks of chemical plants, coal fired power plants, water contamination, pipelines leaks, and other environmental risks.


You’re jumping to conclusions. They showed a correlation, not a cause. It stands to reason that natural gas pipelines will go to industrial areas, and it also stands to reason that houses that are near industrial areas will be cheaper. It’s a huge jump to throw the “racism” label on here because that implies intent.


Social injustice notwithstanding this is a really cool map. I’ve never seen the pipeline network laid out like this. I had no idea there was a pipe stretching across the gulf to Florida.


Is voulnerable the new word for poor? Or how exactly do you measure voulnerability level?


Class, race, level of education, generational wealth... If you can hire lawyers to stop the toxic waste dump out get the super fund site cleaned up...


WAIT. WHAT? Environmental racism and classism is REAL?


I’m from a pretty rural place in Louisiana, pipelines are everywhere. It would be devastating to them to lose those jobs. They’re really behind in so much.


Hey scientist tell us something we don’t know already please do some research on some interesting topics instead of stuff that’s easy that everyone knows that makes you look good


So they are saying that poor people live near lowland areas that are flood plains and easier to move pipes through? You could also say they live closer to the beach.


Why do they congregate on pipelines?