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Weather Terrorism, W.T.F.? 

Weather Terrorism, W.T.F.? 

Photo by The National Guard | CC BY 2.0

As the predicted storm pounded the narrow canyons in the hills above Montecito early in January, a rumble began to overtake the percussion of hard rain on scorched earth. It built, once the torrent of water had dislodged first soil, pebbles, small rocks, then boulders, into a mighty thunder as the mud gathered speed over the resin-slicked surface of the newly burned wild lands.

From out of the Wildland-Urban-Interface, the mudslide drove down into the leafy suburbs of Montecito and tangled with the fragile infrastructure that supports the life-styles of the rich and famous, the merely rich, and all those others who call this Santa Barbara suburb home.  It smashed through homes, businesses and, most critically, fractured the system of pipes, suspended across the naturally occurring drainages, that link a chain of reservoirs that serve as the community’s water source.

The broken pipes unleashed a sea of nearly ten million gallons of fresh water released from the reservoirs because their electrically operated control valves were inoperative in the storm related blackout. Much of the mud and water found its way to U.S. Route 101 which runs from Los Angeles to the Oregon border. The section that runs through Montecito, a few hundred yards east of the beach, was transformed into a rock and tree strewn delta where water ran twelve feet deep in places and over 100,000 tons of debris were spread along its length. The highway was reopened recently after a two-week closure. Restoration of the area’s water supply will take longer. Both were the collateral damage of extreme weather events.

We are a species in retreat. Pusillanimous descriptions of our geo-historical circumstances such as ‘climate change’ are daily challenged by the occurrence of extreme weather events that disrupt society, destroy infrastructure, and obliterate human life.

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Federal Regulators Restrict Use Of Second Pipeline As Investigation Into California Oil Spill Continues

Federal Regulators Restrict Use Of Second Pipeline As Investigation Into California Oil Spill Continues

Federal regulators have ordered Plains All American to restrict usage of a second pipeline in California as preliminary results revealed extensive external corrosion issues with the pipeline that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of oil along the California coast at Refugio State Beach, including at least 21,000 gallons that poured into the Pacific Ocean.

Line 901 had metal loss ranging from 54% to 74% of the original pipe wall thickness when it burst on May 19, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which also estimated that the site of the fissure might have been as thin as 1/16th of an inch. Plains has a long history of safety and maintenance violations well above the national rate of incidents-per-mile of pipe.

The second pipeline, Line 903, transports crude oil 128 miles from Santa Barbara County to Kern County. It was found to have similar levels of corrosion, prompting the PHMSA to require Plains to operate Line 903 at reduced pressure in a corrective action order sent to the company on June 3. PHMSA also gives Plains 60 days to inspect Line 903 and “address any findings that require remedial measures.”

In the order, Jeffrey D. Wiese, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety at PHMSA, wrote that “continued operation of Line 901 and Line 903 without corrective measures is or would be hazardous to life, property, or the environment. Additionally… I find that a failure to issue this Order expeditiously to require immediate corrective action would result in the likelihood of serious harm to life, property, or the environment.”

California House Rep. Lois Capps and Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Ed Markey sent a letter to Greg Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Plains, demanding more information regarding the company’s safety systems and response to the oil spill after learning of the findings that Line 901 showed signs of extensive corrosion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Louisiana Environmental Group Warns Santa Barbara Oil Spill Cleanup Workers to Protect Their Health

An open letter from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) and the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper advises those affected by the Santa Barbara Plains All American Pipeline spill not to participate in the clean-up effort.

“We do not want to see your citizens’, workers’, and volunteers’ health harmed in the way we have seen it damaged along our Gulf Coast after the 2010 BP oil disaster,” the letter says.

But the warning may be too late to help some like Osiris Castañeda, a father, ocean lover and filmmaking professor who cleaned up a stretch of Santa Barbara County beach with other volunteers on May 20, the day after a Plains Pipeline spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean.

A video Castañeda produced with the Youth CineMedia Inc, documents a confrontation between the volunteers and officials who ordered them to leave or face being fined or possibly arrested. An official provided a number for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife office of spill prevention and response , which was giving out passes to volunteers, and told them without the passes they were forbidden to be on the beach. The volunteers called to get passes but, to the group’s dismay, a representative from the agency told them no volunteers were needed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California State of Emergency: Up To 105,000 Gallons of Oil Spill in Santa Barbara from Plains All American Pipeline

California State of Emergency: Up To 105,000 Gallons of Oil Spill in Santa Barbara from Plains All American Pipeline

Up to 105,000 gallons of oil obtained via offshore drilling have spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains All American at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in California. At least 21,000 gallons have poured into the Pacific Ocean and the spill’s impacts stretch nine miles, according to the Associated Press.

As a result, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County, which he said in a press statement “cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources.”

“The 11-mile Plains American Coastal Pipeline connects Exxon’s Las Flores Canyon facility – which provides basic processing for crude produced from California’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) – to Plain’s larger Line 63 pipeline system,” the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDCexplained in a blog post. “[T]his incident demonstrates the real risks associated with industry plans to inundate California’s coastal waters, pipelines, rail lines and refineries with tar sands crudes.”

The spill, reminding some of the much-bigger 1969 Santa Barbara offshore oil spill, comes just several months after the Environmental Defense Center filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for secretly permitting offshore hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the deepwater areas off the coast of California. Both ExxonMobiland the American Petroleum Institute issued motions to intervene as co-defendants in that case, which the judge granted.

Photo Credit: Greenpeace USA

“This spill shows, yet again, that safe and responsible oil and gas drilling are myths,” Marissa Knodel, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said in press release. “Despite these terrible impacts, the Obama administration wants to open up new areas for drilling, which presents a dangerous and unjust risk to the homes and livelihoods of coastal communities,

 

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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