RUNNING ON EMPTY!

In addition to the weather, be very grateful if you are living in California. We are used to paying higher prices for gasoline than other states. That is because California gas is formulated differently to reduce pollution. Those of us who remember driving in Los Angeles during the smog days, are very aware of why this was necessary. It might be interesting to note that one of the first things European visitors to the Los Angeles basin noticed was smog from the Indian Campfires. Fortunately, the air in LA is much cleaner now and those of us living in California appreciate that.

But, even if the price of gas is higher, it is still readily available. That apparently is not necessarily true if you are living in the Southwest and may not be true for much of the East Coast shortly. Part of the problem is that Joe Biden cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which has already had a negative impact.  Now the Colonial Pipeline is shut down and that impacts much of the East Coast.

I used to have season tickets to the Oakland Raiders. I cancelled them when they decided to love to Las Vegas. But I went to a lot of games, and we took Bart trains to the stadium. I have vivid memories of passing rail yards where there were long lines of railroad tank cars. As a risk manager that shocked me because transporting oil is dangerous and transporting gas is extremely dangerous. As an Underwriter, I was trained to recognize the danger of hauling flammable liquids and gas tankers are very dangerous. In my opinion, railroad tank cars hauling flammable liquids is a recipe for disaster. Just imagine if there was a derailment in a highly populated area. Even a derailment anywhere has the potential to disrupt rail traffic. We already have severe gas shortages because although we have a lot of tanker trucks, there is a shortage of certified drivers. It takes special training to operate one of these vehicles safely.

This is what the environmental lobby ignores. It is far safer to transport flammable liquids through properly designed and operated pipelines. Ironically, the same people who are pushing for high speed rail to promote mass transit of people, are ignoring the most efficient and safest mass transit system possible, a fuel pipeline. The Alaska Pipeline has been operating safely and efficiently for decades. Remember the last major incident on the Alaska Pipeline. You probably don’t, so here is a list from Reuters.

FACTBOX-Incidents on the Trans Alaska Pipeline | Reuters

Feb. 15, 1978 – Sabotage at Steele Creek near Fairbanks by an unknown person blew a hole in the line, causing about 670,000 gallons to spill (16,000 barrels).

* March 24, 1989 – Exxon Valdez oil spill, 11 million gallons spilled. Tanker had loaded at the pipeline marine terminal, operator Alyeska was faulted for poor preparation and response, and wound up paying a civil settlement.

* Oct. 4, 2001 – An intoxicated man fired a high-powered gun and shot a hole in the pipeline at Livengood, roughly halfway down the line, resulting in a release of about 250,000 gallons (6,143 barrels) onto the ground.

* Nov. 3, 2002 – Denali earthquake, magnitude 7.9. Pipeline was closed for 66 hours for inspection but no spills or damage. Pipeline determined to have responded to the earthquake as designed.

* 2007 – Fire at storage tank at Pump Station 9, about 105 miles south of Fairbanks, closed the pipeline for more than three days.

* May 25, 2010 – Electrical outage during scheduled maintenance caused crude oil to overflow at a storage tank at same pump station. About 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) overflowed from the tank into a lined containment area on the ground.

That right, between 1968 and 2010 there were 6 incidents in about 30 years. The most serious incident, the Exxon Valdez accident, was not caused by the pipeline, it happened when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker hit Bligh Reef. The environmentalist Nazis blamed the pipeline, but it reality it is when oil is transported by ships, trains, or trucks that the risk is magnified. At least with a tanker truck, the damage is typically limited to one vehicle. But if a train derails it may involve several, much larger tank cars.

The result is approaching perfect storm proportions:

Gas stations begin to run out of fuel after cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline | Daily Mail Online

The story speaks for itself. The political implications are off the wall. Democrats will try, and fail, to blame this on Trump. But most of the blame will fall, correctly on the Biden administration. There are few things that will have more impact on politics than the price of gas and skyrocketing prices. Both are happening right now. Every time someone puts gas in their car, they are reminded of the brilliant job by Joe Biden. If you watch closely, you can already see Democrats starting to distance themselves from the Biden administration. Publicly, they may still feign support, but privately they understand this is nothing short of a full-fledge disaster.

The country is running on empty; it is no longer possible to blame everything on Trump, and the amount of anger and the number of people experiencing it cannot be overstated.

TDM

 

 

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