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State of Texas: Miles and Miles of Texas (Pipelines)

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Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Texas has more miles of pipelines than any other state. But the agency charged with pipeline safety, The Texas Railroad Commission (it has nothing to do with railroads—that's a long story) lacks the inspectors the agency says it needs. Meanwhile, the state has seen hundreds of pipeline accidents in the past decade that resulted in 17 deaths and, in some cases, severe environmental damage. If they were put together, Texas pipelines would stretch from the Earth to the moon and halfway back. And with oil and gas booming, several new pipelines are under construction.