My Twitter Feed

June 15, 2021

Headlines:

Ballast and BS, Brought to You By Chevron.

earth20day1

It’s Earth Day, and according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, only 31% of American adults believe their fellow countrymen are environmentally aware.  Sounds about right.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Americans rate Earth Day as at least somewhat important, including 28% for whom it is Very Important.   Yet while most Americans value Earth Day, just 21% plan to do something special to celebrate Earth Day.  I am among the 21%.  I am going to celebrate Earth Day by talking about … water ballast in oil tanks!

You just knew I couldn’t let Earth Day pass without talking about Drift River, didn’t you?  Here’s a little tale that’s full of double talk, chicanery, half truths and slippery facts, brought to you courtesy of the Unified Command, Chevron, Cook Inlet Pipeline Co. and the State of Alaska.

As many regular readers know, the planners of yore thought it would be a swell idea to locate a giant tank farm at the base of Mt. Redoubt, an active volcano.  It’s been active for millenia, so it’s not like it was a big surprise when it erupted.  Since 1900 it’s blown its top five times – in 1902, 1922, 1966, 1989 and again last month.  I suppose when they built the tank farm, they looked up and thought to themselves, “Well, it’s not erupting NOW….”

But whatever the circumstances were then, we are stuck with this situation NOW.  Lahars (pyroclastic flows of water, volcanic debris, rock, and ice) have been cascading down the slopes of Redoubt since eruptions began on March 22.  Right now, the tank farm is a little teeny rectangular blip, in a huge sea of mud and volcanic debris.  After the 1989 event, in which flash flooding on the Drift River almost wiped out the tank farm, they decided rather than move it, they’d build a wall around it.  Nice touch.  Would you feel safe enough to live there in the face of a spewing volcano, behind that little manmade wall?  Didn’t think so.

Well, the public, and organizations that care about the fact that this tank farm sits on the shore of a body of water that supports a giant commercial salmon fishery, and is home to an endangered whale species, started to complain.  And the answer came back that they just HAD to keep oil in the tanks.  You see, empty tanks are more at risk for getting wiped out by a lahar, and ending up in Cook Inlet the arguement goes.  So, “no can do”, they said.  It’s just physics.

While the notion that a tank with a couple million gallons in it is going to become safe from the forces behind a volcanic eruption may seem a little silly in the first place, there had to be a way to satisfy everyone, and get the oil out of those tanks.

So, those wily water huggers put their heads together and came up with a solution. They suggested that it might be a good idea to drain the oil out of the tanks and ballast the tanks with sea water.  There was certainly plenty of that around.  So, anyone who was really concerned about keeping Cook Inlet from becoming the next Prince William Sound, and Chevron from becoming the next Exxon would surely be in favor of this solution, they reasoned.  After all, water ballast was common industry practice.  Predicament solved!

But on April 1, the Unified Command issued a statement featuring a laundry list of reasons why this idea would never work.  Water?  Can’t be done.

My favorite reason was this one:

The water supply at the Drift River Oil Terminal does not have the capacity to fill the tanks to the levels necessary to maintain structural integrity. (Approximately four million gallons)

Nope, there’s just not enough water in Cook Inlet to fill those tanks.  And besides that, a bunch of other very good reasons were given why it could never work – there’s no way to get the water in the tanks, they don’t have the right equipment, there’s no way to deal with the water after the fact, there are no takers that would take the water afterwards, and they’d have to shut down oil production. Yes, all while these eruptions were going on, oil was still running through this facility, whistling past the graveyard, as it flowed through the pipes.

So, that was that.  No water. No way.

Then, on April 4th, Mt. Redoubt decided to contribute to our little problem.  A major eruption on that day sent another lahar, cascading down the Drift River Valley like a big flowing wall of cement aimed right at the terminal.  Additional damage was done to the facility…. and then the next day…(insert harp music here)…a miracle occured!

On April 5, Chevron and the Cook Inlet Pipeline Company announced the decision to suspend operations at the Drift River Terminal, and proceeded to use water to ballast the tanks while offloading approximately 60% of the more than 6 million gallons of oil at the facility.

But….but….we thought….

When asked what had changed to allow water to now ballast the tanks, ADEC responded: “Now that Cook Inlet Pipe Line made the decision to shut down the facility, then that opens up some other options.

And herein lies the truth. The entire story from the Unified Command about the supposed impossibility of using water as ballast for the tanks had nothing to do with safety, nothing to do with the laws of physics, nothing to do with concern for the salmon fishery or the people that depend on it, and certainly didn’t have anything to do with the endangered beluga whales.  All these decisions were not being made in the best interest of Alaskans. Our “options” existed only at the whim of Cook Inlet Pipe Line Co.  That’s who is setting the environmental policy in Cook Inlet.  And if you think that they care about fish, more than they care about keeping the oil flowing, I’ve got a bridge to nowhere I’d like to sell you.

Why did they take these inordinate risks? Because they would rather jeapordize our fishery, our whales and our water than to turn off the spigot.

The updated release from the Unified Command is an exercise in the art of backpedaling.  It may as well say, “It’s Impossible! – Update:  No it’s Not!”

And as it stands right now, there are still more than 2 million gallons of crude oil at the facility.  Why hasn’t it been drained?  Wait, don’t tell me.  “It’s impossible!”

Update:  No, it’s Not!

And what if the worst happens.  What if there is another major eruption like the one on April 4th?  What if we have a spill?  What’s the plan? What would happen in a worst case scenario?

We don’t know.  That information hasn’t been made available to the public.  We’re on a need to know basis, and Chevron, Cook Inlet Pipe Line, the Unified Command and the State of Alaska don’t think we need to know.  If there was a plan that adequately addressed a worst-case scenario and would allay our fears, I bet we’d know.

[Statement and questions from Cook Inletkeeper HERE >>> inletkeeper-statement

Comments

comments

Comments
74 Responses to “Ballast and BS, Brought to You By Chevron.”
  1. bonefish says:

    Corruption wide and deep…
    Anyone else see this little bit about Chevron? http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/haynes_chevron/?r=3417&id=3666-1970155-iEoZQnx

  2. Ma Ratl says:

    I cut up my Chevron card when they used military force to kill Nigerians that were protesting Chevron’s facilities in 2003. I’d run out of gas before I’d put another cent in their pockets.
    They sure showed a lot of foresight putting the tanks below an active volcano!
    Wish I could cut up the company itself. Hit the delete button or something!

    Love the column… M from Texas (see we’re not all bad) :~)

  3. Quetzalcoatl says:

    AKM, your presentation is better than the highest paid litigator! Kudos!

    This earth day thing, corporations seem to be exempt with full support and backing of the military, Unified Command…

    Courtesy of Amadou et Mariam, Je Pense a Toi. peace.

    10 cosanostradamus

    Alaska has the right idea: Let’s just take it one step farther and nationalize the American oil companies, like most countries have already done with their own oil indistries. Then we can all live like Kuwaiti’s!

    Minus the sand in everything. And the fundamentalism. And the camels.

    LOL. The desert is encroaching in AZ, the fundamentalists are already here, camels to follow. yip yipee yayo. Viva pemex petroleos mexicanos! [I jest]

    38 Canadian Neighbour

    Corporate world is not even attempting to create containers that are acceptably ‘green’ and the government, both in US and Canada are not pushing the issue with them. Corporations are not being held responsible. We all pay for garbage disposal through our taxes which means we continue to pay for the disposal of corporate trash.

    Oh you’ve got that right. Toronto’s hurf durf Mayor Miller levied 5¢ [tax I call it] for each bag at grocery stores. Instead of demanding bag manufacturers produce one that decays quickly. I’ve been letting him know how uncreative he is.

    51 Martha Unalaska Yard Sign
    That short history of pouch K Alaska was great. When’s that book coming out??? 🙂

    An oil tankers front falls off and spills 20,000 litres of crude oil into the the sea near Australia in the 90’s. An actor plays a member of the senate [John Clarke] and actor interviewer [Brian Dawe]… LOL.

  4. Juneau says:

    People dealing with the problem of possible volcanic eruption just don’t take seriously the fact that it could erupt enough to cause damage – just like those dealing with earthquakes did not take seriously the fact that large earthquakes could happen – until 1964. (I’ve been here well over 70 years). I am so glad that someone is giving a warning.

  5. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    to cosanostradamus @ 67

    I would be interested in seeing your cites for these figures. I am not saying
    that they are not accurate, I just have not found them myself after an admittedly superficial effort.

    Full confession, I am an exploration geologist whose job it is to find potential mines. We do not have much influence over the ultimate outcome of any given project, yet we try to be responsible and identify prospects according to how they can be responsibly developed. I have already posted complaints about how the pebble mine had been planned. No one listens to us per se.

    I am opposed to the pebble mine proposal because it entails impoundment of an existing watershed and thus is fraught with danger for any failure of the containment. If it were up to me, the containment scheme would have to be isolated from current watersheds and that is expensive. Such is life.

    I’ll look to see if you respond.

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    Oh AKM-
    You are right.
    Tis the money…
    And an inflated view of human ability to prevail over natural phenomena.
    Kinda like the levees in New Orleans.

  7. 24owls says:

    @Ryan – unintended consequences – you make me laugh. When have we heard that excuse before … inconvenent truths … collateral damage … unintended consequences is another excuse for for not giving a damn who gets in the way, just slam ahead and forget the rest. There shouldn’t be a last time or a first time the Drift River or Cooks Inlet should ever experience a spill of any kind. The oil companies are not to fault, it is the decision makers of those companies that could care less about the consequences as long as there is money to be made. Not even an erupting volcano.

  8. .
    OOOOOH!!! You mean the advanced mineral exploration project investigating large copper, gold, and molybdenum deposits in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark?

    I thought he meant the little girl on the Flintstones! ; )

    Yeah. Hear tell that the proposal to build a large mine exploiting these deposits is controversial. Only a huge mine, benefiting from economies of scale, is economically possible at Pebble due to the low-grade character of the ore. Feasibility studies (detailed mine construction and operation plans) and applications for permits by Pebble Mines Corp. are being deferred until the Pebble East deposit is fully delineated. Pebble West would probably be mined from an open pit. The geology and mining characteristics of Pebble West are well understood. The pit would be up to two miles (3 km) wide and several thousand feet deep and may generate up to 2.5 billion tons of waste material. Two artificial lakes would be created in order to store the discharge chemicals and waste. The largest of the dams enclosing these lakes would be 740 feet (230 m) tall and 4.3 miles (6.9 km) long. Or so I’m told.

    (On Wikipedia.)

  9. InJuneau says:

    Pebble Mine, I would guess…

  10. .
    ‘ Aussie Blue Sky Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 1:58 AM
    A young (Alaskan) man’s fancy definitely does turn to light, sweet and crude in springtime. But instead of sand and camels he might want to dispense with polar bears and ‘pebbles’. What say you then? ‘

    “Pebbles”?
    .

  11. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    @ 24owls

    I agree! I was living in Seward in 1989 -90 when it erupted. I had no idea at the time about the terminal at Drift River though. Talk about clueless – I wonder how many Alaskans actually did know about the terminal at that time (except maybe the Kenai Peninsula)? Go bloggers – Alaska is so big that we really need to be more connected to each other, esp. for major events which also affect other parts of the country and world.

    The only close substitute to our blogger’s coverage from the traditional media would be a statewide newspaper. When I lived up north, the Iditarod news was literally plastered everywhere and a HUGE deal with the ADN and even the Anchorage Times. I got very involved in mushing for awhile, and when I moved back to southeast, you could barely get an article or update on the Iditarod in the local papers. I was SO bummed!

  12. Ryan H says:

    There are ALWAYS going to be unintended consequences. When was the last time there was a spill at Drift River? I bet there is more oil spilled at your local Fred Meyers parking lot every year than at this facility. Want to move the terminal? Fine. You have to recognize that anywhere you put it in south central it will still be smack in the middle of a earthquake zone. If there are any trees around there could be a forest fire like the one out at Millers reach. What then?

    Until people recognize that industry and oil companies are not the real problem here, nothing is going to get truely fixed. The fact that the USA consumes 25% of the worlds natural resources while only making up 5% of the population is the real problem.

    I just think a better use of earth day, rather than pounding on evil, nasty, wicked ‘big oil’ (again) would be to promote conservation.

  13. 24owls says:

    @martha- I agree with your post but there are a couple of time lines that need further looking into. Last eruption – 1989 – 20 years ago. EPA started in 1970 – 19 years before the ’89 eruption. Timeline of Mt. Redoubt of this eruption – end of last year and continuing. Back then I wouldn’t expect that the EPA would have a policy about building tank farms near volcanos but they must now. So why the delays in stopping oil flow and emptying the tanks? Money, money, money. The decision makers don’t care about the safety of the people or the environment. And it certainly should not be able to resume if or when Mt Redoubt settles down so again I ask why keep the oil there any longer? It is not safe today and it will not be a safe place in the future. The oil company should be already planning to shut down the tanks and relocate the terminal. But why aren’t they? Money, money, money. The company certainly has the money to shut down and remove the tanks – they cleared a billion dollars in profits but they have now decided not to talk to anybody, no more updates or pictures or anything – why? I mean seriously why? What is there is hide …

  14. tamara says:

    And :

    ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL ISSUES OPINION ON REQUIREMENT FOR A PUBLIC VOTE FOR LEGISLATIVE VACANCIES

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2009
    http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1788

  15. Maria says:

    Ah, if only Pompeii had had such geniuses…It wouldn’t have made any difference, not then, not now. The Earth always has the last word.

  16. the problem child IS MY NAME says:

    Those press releases are getting more and more flamboyant, aren’t they? They’re really pulling out all the thesaurus stops.

  17. the problem child IS MY NAME says:

    Legal opinion over the Dept of Law’s Acting AG’s signature (not particularly reasoned or in depth) regarding why Tim Grussendorf is still GINO’s nominee for Juneau Senate. It is dated April 20. A bit late for that, isn’t it?

    http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/SenateSeatB_April21-2009.pdf

  18. tamara says:

    Here we go, fresh from the Gov’s web page. Enjoy !

    Latest Complaint Deemed Outrageous
    Alarming New Development in Alaska Politics Printer Friendly
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 09-95
    Latest Ethics Complaint Deemed Outrageous
    http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1787

  19. crystalwolf aka caligrl says:

    Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    @ crystalwolf

    “That is truly scary, it was erupting as they built!!!! Quite stupid???”

    I don’t think stupid is the right word – they knew what they were doing,
    Over the months, several of us here have tried to explain what Alaska was like before everyone knew we existed. I don’t know that I could do it justice unless I wrote a short book! Some highlights:
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Martha, you wrote a book? If you did I would like to order a copy? Do you have a link or something? Thanks.

  20. InJuneau says:

    Martha UYS–thank you for pointing out that there were barely laws/safeguards, let along environmental ones, back when the terminal was built. The Department of Environmental Conservation wasn’t even established until about 1970 or 1971. And the EPA wasn’t established till Dec. 1970, so it’s not like there were many/any federal rules to speak of in place then either.

  21. Moose Pucky says:

    Kudos to AKM and Bob Shavelson, Cook Inlet Keeper, on this topic.
    Where’s APRN???

  22. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    @ crystalwolf

    “That is truly scary, it was erupting as they built!!!! Quite stupid???”

    I don’t think stupid is the right word – they knew what they were doing, and I’m guessing that they weighed the risks of abandoning an expensive and time sensitive project well underway against whether insurance would cover the damage if the mountain did take down the terminal. My belief is that a resulting spill into Cook Inlet was not their major concern by a long shot. And I’ll betcha that the 22 person crew that were rescued after the eruption, all of them, went right back to work as soon as they could.

    Over the months, several of us here have tried to explain what Alaska was like before everyone knew we existed. I don’t know that I could do it justice unless I wrote a short book! Some highlights:

    The 60s were all about oil and major money – great wages and all kinds of work going on. There were NOT the environmental safeguards and agencies in place when this terminal was built, so that question of “why they were allowed” is a moot point. Laws were not skirted and broken – they didn’t exist as they do today.

    Alaska did not become a state until 1959- so this project was taking place within SIX years of statehood. Territory days were pretty wild. You aren’t going to see a lot of change within six years in a remote location with a small population. In historical context, building the terminal made perfect sense for what was going on at the time.

    No one living elsewhere knew much about Alaska, and that went on for years. When my hubby’s family moved here 25 plus years ago, their utility companies refused to forward their bills to Alaska because their policy was to mail only in the US. When I moved here my mail came care of the Attorney General’s address, Pouch K (we had pouches in many places other than po boxes). My credit union wouldn’t forward my mail to that address because it wasn’t a real USPS address. Just a couple of months ago, a rural Alaskan could not get Microsoft to send them something because they only had a box number and not a street address (Alaska Dispatch). The tourists from the cruise ships often ask two things when arriving in Juneau: 1) What elevation are we at? (you just stepped off an ocean ship), and 2) Do you take American money? (even if we were like Canada and not part of the US, we are still “American” and so that doesn’t apply either. It should be “US money?”).

    These are minor – the stories go on forever and ever! No one knew we existed in the 60s, and projects like this were status quo for major resource extraction.

    So WHY and WHEN the terminal was built is all past and we can’t change that. I know the state is currently doing a risk assessment of the statewide oil and gas resource extraction, and Drift River Terminal is mentioned MULTIPLE times in phase 1 of the project, but how fast can these questions / dangers be acted upon by this assessment? I believe the report just completed its second phase in March this year. What is the FUTURE of this terminal? Who decides the future? Those are my questions.

  23. InJuneau says:

    Nope, not really, but I think at caPharaS there’s a press release about how everyone should follow the recommended safety precautions in case of heavy ash fall (or something like that; I won’t register there to find out what she’s released there that ought to be on the State’s page and vice-versa).

  24. zyggy says:

    I do realize Palin is fightin’ off all those ethic violations and the Johnstone family, but has she publicly said anything about this fine mess?

  25. InJuneau says:

    Oh, oops, that’s the one that antiAnti and hedgewytch already posted. Guess I’m not fully reading comments very well today…

  26. InJuneau says:

    Here’s an interesting article from yesterday’s ADN about the current state of things: http://www.adn.com/volcano/story/767925.html

  27. crystalwolf aka caligrl says:

    hedgewytch Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Ryan, you need to remember that a significant portion of Alaska’s oil is not refined or used within this country. Most of Alaska’s crude has a high sulfer content and is sold to China. The coporations up here are sending a very insignificant amount of fuel to the lower 48.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Why is GINO always saying “We need to develop our resources so we don’t have to depend on foreign oil” if most of Alaska’s oil goes to china? What BS…its all about greed. Pull the oil out, to hell with the land, sea, wildlife…
    (were in the end times anyway) so go,go plunder the earth!

  28. windpond says:

    To Ryan H: It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about location. If ‘we’ cut our oil consumption by 50%, the Drift River Storage Facility location would still suck and that’s not fun for anyone. Check out this excellent resource. http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/blog/?p=855

  29. hedgewytch says:

    Ryan, you need to remember that a significant portion of Alaska’s oil is not refined or used within this country. Most of Alaska’s crude has a high sulfer content and is sold to China. The coporations up here are sending a very insignificant amount of fuel to the lower 48.

  30. Liz I. says:

    @Ryan H: Interesting reasoning. Extending this reasoning, If there’s a demand for baby food is it OK for it to be tainted? Or if there’s a demand for automobiles, is it OK for them to be unsafe?

    We’re talking here about patently unsafe practices and an a statistically significant possibility of a catastrophic environmental (and related economic and social) damage.

    Sure, we all need to work–and many of us are–to reduce or eliminate our dependence on oil.

    But consumers have a right to safe products. And citizens have a right to a safe environment.

    Chevron coldly calculating the costs of a shutdown versus the probability of a tank farm breach reminds me of Chevrolet coldly calculating the costs of a recall of the Corvair versus the costs of defending the wrongful death suits.

    As Larry McMurtry put it in The Last Picture Show:

    “I’ve been around that trashy behavior all my life, I’m gettin’ tired of puttin’ up with it.”

  31. Ryan H says:

    Just a thought here Flats. “The oil company” this and “The pipeline company” that, is very misleading. The real demand for oil comes from gluttonous US consumers (you know, me, you & our neighbors), and until that changes don’t expect oil companies to stop pumping the stuff, no matter how dangerous it is for the environment. Of course, it is always more fun to point the finger at someone else and blame a for profit corporation.

  32. Closet Mudpup says:

    I am outraged and dumbfounded by this story. Had this tank farm been proposed in CA or OR or WA, I believe this is a story that would not exist – the tank farm would have either never been allowed there or a movement to shut it down would have followed Mt Redoubt’s 1989 demonstration of the devastating power of lahars. Imagine if these tanks had been on the bank of the Thule River when St. Helens blew – that’s the potential you’re confronting now. Talk of containment or spill remediation is absurd, as neither of those measures even meaningfully exists when the potential is a pyroclastic flow of millions of tons of earth and water infused with millions of gallons of crude oil. Talk of raising the dike five feet is equally absurd. What nonsense! It was twenty-five feet high to begin with and it is now zero feet high and has already been over-topped and eroded on the side facing the flows. It’s really sad that the prospect of another oil-polluted Alaskan fishery doesn’t ring any of your dingy GINO’s bells.

  33. hedgewytch says:

    OT- I CAN’T wait Mudflats for you to come up with your post concerning Palin’s rebuttal to the ethics complaint just filed. There is SO much fodder for fun there. I especially like where it states that “no ethic complaint has been substaintiated”…. Not substainiated huh? One she dropped by settling and paying up the per diem she owed for her hubby and kids travel and the others are still pending aren’t they?

    And what happened last night with the juicy interview on Larry King? The snow load took my Dish Network out and I can’t live stream from the internet.

  34. Canadian Neighbour says:

    As much as we hear the speeches and commercials directed to the public to get involved in cleaning up, recycling, etc., I want to hear speeches directed to corporations, fastfood chains and supermarket chains as to their involvement. I’m tired of the fastfood chains not addressing the matter of their packaging meals in styrofoam, foil and clamshell containers. Same with supermarkets – packing in clamshells, plastic. None of this you can recycle in the majority of the countries.

    Corporate world is not even attempting to create containers that are acceptably ‘green’ and the government, both in US and Canada are not pushing the issue with them. Corporations are not being held responsible. We all pay for garbage disposal through our taxes which means we continue to pay for the disposal of corporate trash.

  35. hedgewytch says:

    Good call Debra. Contact Cook Inlet Keeper, bet they have the skinny on that one. There has been all sorts of malfeseance in regards to the collusion between the State and the oil companies in regards to the Beluga whale and other environmental concerns in Cook Inlet. Now that’s a news story that will blow up real big if anyone ever uncovers the smoldering embers.

  36. Debra says:

    One more thing, start hammering your state reps to list the federal listed endangered WHALE as a STATE endangered species!

  37. hedgewytch says:

    Earlier in the week there was an article in ADN about how the oil companies had shut down the pipeline for now as they couldn’t use the drift river terminal and that the: “The owner of the Chevron-operated facility, Cook Inlet Pipeline Co., is studying other ways of getting oil from the west side of Cook Inlet to market, Francis said. But so far, officials have not come up with a bypass plan, she said.”
    http://www.adn.com/money/story/767925.html

    How’s that for foresight and planning?? You’d think they would have come up with a backup plan in the last 50 years. But, when it comes between spending money and making money, the Coporations always show what kind of responsibible citizens they are.

  38. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    oops, should read:

    (there was an event in 1933 which they determined were only water-vapor emissions.)

  39. Debra says:

    I took a quick look at somethings (that I’m sure many of the biologists, and permit experts are on top of but…) One, the EPA (clean water act) permit received from the oil company was reissued sometime in 2003. The permit is good for FIVE years and then they must renew. Anyone know the status? Second, the Feds cannot issue a permit unless THE STATE OF ALASKA issues a 401 certification under the Clean Water Act. Third, the ENDANGERED whale was listed as endangered in 2007? Anyway, current law, and listing of the ENDANGERED whale would require at the least an Environmental Assessment (it should of been a Full Environmental Impact Report but because this development took place back in the early 70s I don’t know what the requirements were at that time). Furthermore in my reading of the EPA permit issued in 2003, there was no mention of an Environmental Assessment (which demands that surrounding conditions, i.e. the Volcano should have been addressed). Again, this was a quick read and I’m currently researching other environmental issues. (P.S. Part of an Environmental Impact Report is that an Alternative Analysis has to be prepared to justify the placement of this development in this area). What I have read today is extremely limited data. HOWEVER, CHECK TO SEE IF THEY JUST RENEWED; OR IN THE PROCESS OF RENEWING THEIR PERMITS. IF THE DATA COLLECTED IN 2003 TO JUSTIFY THESE PERMITS WAS NOT THOROUGHLY EVALUATED…SOMEONE DOES HAVE (BELIEVE OR NOT) A BIG PROBLEM. One last thing, as a condition of their permit they have to keep on-site and available to all their Best Management Practices. Good luck, hope I helped…BUT PLEASE CHECK ON THE STATUS OF THEIR PERMITS. And remember the feds cannot okay any permits WITHOUT the state of Alaska issuing the 401 Certification! I will try and do some more research. (IF SOMEONE REISSUED THE PERMIT AFTER THE LISTING OF THE WHALE AND IT WAS NOT EVALUATED UNDER U.S.FISH AND WILDLIFE GUIDLINES…OPPS! Sorry for all grammatical errors, spelling etc. I’m doing this on the fly…

  40. Enjay in E.MT says:

    Just an FYI –

    The FEMA website has plans, guides & materials that individuals should have prepared in case of disaster for families & business. Including what type of natural disasters may occur in your area. It has some great resource info for anyone. Along with documents ppl should have in a safe “go to place”, medications, materials, etc.

    http://www.fema.gov

  41. Basheert says:

    Hi Everyone and a Happy Earth Day to All:
    Our contribution to green has been to begin expanding our existing solar power system. Aside from the financial rewards, and watching our utility electric meter run backwards as the excess rolls into the grid, it makes us feel really good that most of our usage can be done during the daytime when we are high generating.

    As for the Oil Farm at Drift River – that gives new meaning to the term “Plan Ahead”. Having been in the shadow of St. Helens during the eruptions, we didn’t have to worry about facilities at the foot of an active volcano.

    So … what can the citizens of Alaska do to resolve this horrible situation at Cook Inlet? I realize you have an oily GINO but still, there are more of you and this is truly a dangerous situation.

    How sad for your beautiful state!

  42. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    AKM – “I suppose when they built the tank farm, they looked up and thought to themselves, “Well, it’s not erupting NOW….”

    Mt. Redoubt erupted in January 1966 WHILE they were building the terminal. It was the first eruption since 1902 (there was an event in 193 which they determined were only water-vapor emissions.

    http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/volcact.php?volcname=Redoubt&page=impact&eruptionid=441

    From Associated Press (1966): “Tractor-sized ice chunks, carried by volcano-melted snow water, tumbled through a campground near erupting Mt. Redoubt Tuesday, and 22 men had to be rescued.
    “The seismological crew was flown in helicopters to the town of Kenai, about 50 miles from the flanks of the peak.
    “The 10,197-foot volcano, 110 miles southwest of Anchorage, began erupting Monday, spewing ash and smoke 20,000 feet high.

    “Bill Singletary, who headed the crew for the National Geophysical Co., a seismological firm, told the story.
    “‘We were camped on the edge of the river when it broke up,’ he said. ‘First the river flowed through the landing strip, bringing chunks of ice the size of a D-7 cat (tractor). I expect it came up at the rate of 3 1/2 to 4 feet in 15 minutes. A few of us got wet * * *’
    “‘But no one was hurt.’

    Oh, silly me to imagine they woulnd’t actually be building during an eruption…. I should know better. AKM (sigh…)

  43. Enjay in E.MT says:

    I have a hard time believing that this “company” has not had to submit disaster plans to have ON RECORD with various government agencies, Not only local governement service-type departments, but due to the “effectual scale” of a potential disaster – would have been required with State agencies (that may be called upon to aid & assist in case of disaster) but Coast Guard, etc.

    Various companies in our state must have these types of “Emergency Plans” withe Law Enforcement Offices / Fire Departments / @ the local level. The plan is “a workable emergency solution for worse case event”. Plans are reviewed by insurance adjustors, fire marshall(s), etc. with possible additions suggested.

    They generally do not predict volcano’s erupting….. however – this is Eastern MT – so our plans include flooding, fire, short & long term power disruption (cold , emergency evac., chemical protection or removal fr site,

  44. wired differently says:

    As long as the number one priority of corporations is profit, which is the basic tenet of capitalism, (and despite the recent name-calling *socialist*, capitalism is the core of our economic system), environmental and social considerations are just a nuisance.

  45. Peaceful Granny says:

    “The state is losing about $45,000 a day in missed royalty payments”, I guess that just about sums up the motive of the Unified Command…

    I use to really like Earth Day, but just like every other “special” holiday it has become another commercial for spending money, only on “green” stuff. I’m ready for a few “no spending,” holidays.

  46. GA Peach a/k/a Lance the Boil aka Crust Scramble says:

    Thank God for pajama clad anonymous bloggers bringing light to another insane situation.

  47. Aussie Blue Sky says:

    antiAnti Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 4:47 AM
    who decides if 5 more feet on the dike is enough?
    http://www.adn.com/money/story/767925.html
    Cook Inlet Pipeline Co. officials are considering adding another 5 feet of height to the 1990 dike system, which already rises about 25 feet
    ——————————————————
    Thanks for that; I don’t read the ADN any more.

    I was wondering why they’re being ultra-cautious all of a sudden ….

  48. the problem child IS MY NAME says:

    @priceless
    If everyone acted every day as though it was Earth Day (sounds like you are conscious of your “footprint”), it would make a real impact.

    GOP can be green, too. In fact, in my Country, the Green Party is (fairly) fiscally conservative. Go figure.

  49. Aussie Blue Sky says:

    I like to take the ‘personal responsibility’ route – so I don’t need to drive a huge van in which to tote my gaggle of kids.

  50. priceless says:

    I’m not totally into this ‘earth day’ stuff. I like to take the ‘personal responsiblity’ route. In otherwords, I conserve, recycle and take weed my own corner. I teach my kids to eat what you take, but don’t take more than you need. I drive a huge van (have a gaggle of kids) and have a small get around car because there is no reason to drive the big van with only one or two kids in the car.

    If everyone did a little in their corners, it would be a better place, and we would not need a earth day. I guess that’s the GOP in me.

  51. antiAnti says:

    who decides if 5 more feet on the dike is enough?

    http://www.adn.com/money/story/767925.html

    Cook Inlet Pipeline Co. officials are considering adding another 5 feet of height to the 1990 dike system, which already rises about 25 feet.

  52. tigerwine says:

    Oh, poor Mother Earth! I, like others on this post, wondered what in the world was the “Unified Command”. Sounds like a WWII Pacific fleet thing.

    Bones AK – I’m with you. The Coast Guard isn’t as high in my opinion this morning. If they can be bought, we are in a world of hurt.

    If I read the release right, they contradicted themselves in 6 days time. Which means what?. . . . .They didn’t know what they were talking about in the first place?. . .They were covering up and got caught out in the meantime? Too convoluted for me this early in the morning.

  53. First you say you do and then you don´t
    lalalalala, lalalalalala

    Gee that song will be a theme song for loads of people and companies.

  54. Aussie Blue Sky says:

    10 cosanostradamus Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 12:15 AM
    .
    Ah, Spring! Earth Day at last! A young man’s fancy turns to petroleum by-products, and the spot market for light sweet crude!

    Alaska has the right idea: Let’s just take it one step farther and nationalize the American oil companies, like most countries have already done with their own oil indistries. Then we can all live like Kuwaiti’s!

    Minus the sand in everything. And the fundamentalism. And the camels.
    ————————————————–
    A young (Alaskan) man’s fancy definitely does turn to light, sweet and crude in springtime. But instead of sand and camels he might want to dispense with polar bears and ‘pebbles’. What say you then?

  55. Peaceful Granny says:

    So if Drift River Terminal was Flooding on 4/4-5/2009 see pictures here:

    http://www.dec.state.ak.us/spar/perp/response/sum_fy09/090324201/gallery/090324201_gal_04/index.htm

    Why no update pictures or info…we know they have camcorders running what is it that we don’t get to see? Sure can’t find any close-ups. Is that I’m just not on the “need to know” list?

  56. Peaceful Granny says:

    A little Google Search brought me to this page:

    http://www.dec.state.ak.us/spar/perp/response/sum_fy09/090324201/sitrep/090324201_sr_16.pdf

    Now if I could only figure out what and who and when and where…so many more questions…

  57. Peaceful Granny says:

    @Physicsmom: That was my question exactly! “Unified Command?” Who unified this command? And who is the commander in chief of this command and, and, and I can think of so many more questions…but we seem to be left hanging off the cliff here!

  58. yukonbushgrma says:

    @ ez.pz:

    Totally agree! But this is Alaska, and sometimes we live in Neanderthal times …….. (Neanderthal people too…)

    Ugh.

  59. ez.pz says:

    It’s not quite clear what is going on.

    Are production operations temporarily suspended (with a view to starting up again at a later date), or is the facility going to be closed down permanently?

    Surely, the site is completely unsafe and should by closed immediately?

    Before they resume production I would like the oil-company to answer one simple question – If a power company were to apply to build a nuclear power-station at the same site, would they get permission? If the answer to that question is a resounding “No way!”, then the site is unsafe and the terminal should be closed down, permanently.

  60. yukonbushgrma says:

    I didn’t do much today for Earth Day. Except I did make a number of comments at HuffPo about Sarah Palin … so in a very convoluted sort of way, I think I helped, a little.

    By the way, Shannyn’s article on the “Politics” page of HuffPo is really, really good. They have it kind of buried halfway down the page, under a *second* Mudflats title, repeat of Sondra’s complaint. Anyway, when you first see Shannyn’s, the headline (“Sarah Palin Blames Bloggers”) kind of leads you to think you’re going to read a press release from SP (oh no, icky, puts two forefingers together crosswise). But it’s absolutely wonderful. Somehow I wish that headline gave a different impression.

    AND !!!!!

    AKM’s article on Sondra’s complaint is top billing on Politics, right there under POTUS’ big huge type! U-rah-rah, AKM! And U-rah-rah, Shannyn!

  61. .
    Ah, Spring! Earth Day at last! A young man’s fancy turns to petroleum by-products, and the spot market for light sweet crude!

    Alaska has the right idea: Let’s just take it one step farther and nationalize the American oil companies, like most countries have already done with their own oil indistries. Then we can all live like Kuwaiti’s!

    Minus the sand in everything. And the fundamentalism. And the camels.
    .

  62. Physicsmom says:

    What the h@ll is the Unified Command? It sounds like something out of Battlestar Gallactica. We have somehow warped into another millenium where the local government has no control. Of course, with GINO at the helm, I shouldn’t expect anything better, but there are people who care about this situation who should be able to influence the Corporate interests to do what is best for the State upon whose resources they rely. Egad!

  63. Bones AK says:

    Lets keep on it. Boy the Coast Guard has lost a lot of my admiration on this one, in BIG OIL’S pocket.

  64. BigLake says:

    Here’s to the hard work Cook Inlet Keeper has been doing for years. I’m sure they appreciate the push we all have received from bloggers like AKM and Shannyn Moore to keep these issues out in the daylight.

  65. mlaiuppa says:

    When money is involved, they’re all liars.

    My favorite Earth Day Farce?

    Dow Chemical. They’re hosting a fishing contest in a polluted river. And then giving the (tainted) fish to food banks to feed poor people.

    Gee, I wonder what Monsanto did today?

  66. dowl says:

    Thank you AKM for info that I had no idea that I’d be interested in knowing. Education, what a wonderful thing! Muckraking at its finest.

  67. CA dreamin of AK says:

    It’s not a need to know basis. It’s a what you don’t know won’t hurt you basis!

  68. Aussie Blue Sky says:

    Great post, AKM. It’s hard to believe that Chevron weren’t made to accommodate their facility elsewhere in the last 20 years. Those tanks where they are at present could have been treating ballast water for the past two decades.

  69. pearl89 says:

    I didn’t do anything as exciting as take on an oil company today. I did clean up the neighborhood beaver pond. Filled approximately 10 bags with trash and collected a lot of bottles and cans for recycling. Felt good to do and got to wear my wellingtons.

  70. nswfm CA says:

    These oil company theives need a good ass kickin’. Biggest profits in the history of money and they are whining.

Leave A Comment

%d bloggers like this: