Above ground storage tanks — the steel structures that hold materials ranging from oil and petroleum to liquid fertilizer — have made headlines around the globe in recent weeks.
In West Virginia, above ground storage tanks, which are also subject to federal regulations, are undergoing an active inspection process as part of new state regulations covered under the Above Ground Storage Act. The law was passed in response to a massive chemical spill in the Elk River a year ago, which famously left 300,000 West Virginians without water for a number of days.
By the law’s Jan. 1 deadline, about 30,000 of 50,000 total tanks had been inspected for corrosion and other deficiencies, according to the West Virginia MetroNews. Of the 30,000 inspected tanks, 1,100 have been deemed “unfit for service” and are slated for repair or replacement.
According to West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Randy Huffman, the DEP is being patient with the remaining 20,000 or so tank owners who failed to meet inspection deadline. After a few weeks have passed, the DEP will begin to crack down on any owners who continue to neglect their inspections.
Meanwhile, in Libya, militant groups have been pushing forward in their attempts to seize the country’s oil resources, setting above ground storage tanks ablaze in the process. According to the New York Times, the attack was carried out by a militant faction supporting the establishment of an Islamist-backed government.
Since the 2011 deposition of former Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the country has been divided by a number of opposing groups seeking different political ends. The militants’ attacks on five storage tanks resulted in the loss of 850,000 barrels of oil, the New York Times reports.
While the United Nations had scheduled talks between Libya’s rival factions earlier this month, it’s unclear if the discussions will lead to any measure of peace.
Considering the events in West Virginia and Libya, it’s clear that above ground storage tanks are much more newsworthy than they seem.