Friday, February 6, 2015
Alaska Military at RISK
Vulnerability: susceptible to weakening. So I listened to the Alaska State Senate Special Committee on Energy, chaired by Pete Micciche, wherein it was decided to grill the famed Alaska Industrial Development & Export Aassholes on its most recent flamboyant attempt to solo Mt. Bozo. See, the “State Senate” had no idea that AIDEA - a state run corporation with its hand in the cookie jar - had signed a “letter of intent” to purchase PENTEX for a bunch of “loot” and it was unclear just what in hell we would get for some $200-million, as it was still gift wrapped with a warning “Don't Open Until....The screaming broadcast from Juneau was rather interesting, from the laughter that could be seen on the attending legislatures' faces when the AIDEA people tried to answer some serious questions based on “WTF”. So, it appears AIDEA has a plan to bring affordable natural gas to Fairbanks without a pipeline – it is a magic wand fantasy. Of course, throw enough money at it and it may work. But that state budget deficit due crushing oil prices! So cut the prime rib from the state prison meal allowance and the cost savings will be used for...What you mean that won't cover the expense for AIDEA? Well then, just cut out the public transportation and cut the senior citizen benefits, just like Scott Walker has down in Wisconsin and then our very own Walker can perform the same maneuver – who cares about convicts and old people! Look, anybody that is not into constant “social networking” don't count! Anyway, what the AIDEA folks are missing out on, it's a bad plan, a bad approach that could in the end cause an economic crash in Fairbanks. Maybe that is the plan, then there will come less complaints about the high cost of electricity and less complaints about the choking air quality problems and AIDEA can move on to climb another mountain. Fairbanks has air urination worse then CHINA? So AIDEA and the Alaska Railroad are trying to get permission from the Federal Railroad Administration to haul “LNG” from Anchorage to Fairbanks, by rail! Now this has never been approved, even for a Class I railroad system. The ARR is a narrow-minded-gauge, so the “Class” is an indeterminate. Anyway, regardless of the “Class” it means an experiment, as when you start hauling “LNG” by rail it means transporting a “bomb”. If there ever occurs an accident that breaches a tank's containment domain, well a single drop of “liquefied natural gas” hitting the atmosphere turns explosively deadly in a matter of micro-seconds. It follows the “Fire Triangle” theory. See, “LNG” in the tank has no way of igniting, as it is just “too rich”. But when released, it rapidly expands wherein a cubic inch – the size of an Alaskan salmon-berry – it would fill up a Chris Christie sized toilet like a big dump in a hurry. Now sometime during that “shock & awe” expansion, well there is a time wherein the “air-to-fuel” ratio is conditioned for a “Ka-Boom”. So hauling “LNG” is considered a “Hazard” and must be dealt with appropriately. I mean you get a crazed drunk with a rifle, it could be fireworks time. OK, so we are already hauling that stuff by truck, but if a tanker goes off the road – the EPA will foot the bill for any clean-up costs – so not a problem accept for a delay in people fleeing away from Fairbanks because they can't breath. On the other hand, should a rail accident occur, it could knock out that service and then I wouldn't be able to enjoy that non-peak half-fare ride! See, should there come an accident, say on the 700-foot-long Mears' memorial bridge that crosses the Tanana, that would knock out service to the interior for a long, long time. And the entire journey from Anchorage is very rough to begin with, with snow slides in the winter and mud slides in the summer, and tourists cries some of the time and with only a single track it indeed has its limitations. And if Casey Jones cannot offer that senior discount, the FTA may cut funds – then what as the ARR cannot survive without “Uncle Sam's” generosity. Honestly, if you are a college student and interested in getting a PHD in economics, study the ARR and you may be in line for the “Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences”. Anyway, if the rail was to experience a failure – OK, it has been a failure – but a mechanical track failure due “LNG” acting as a blow torch, well that would cut off the supply of coal from Joe's mine to Fairbanks. Wow, would the military bases go cold and dark? Well, the military is smart so maintains a “mountain” of coal as a reserve, at Ft. Wainwright and Eielson. But since Flint Hills shutdown, the “Biggest” refinery that produced jet fuel for the military, that stuff now comes from the “Port of Sheffield”, down there in Anchorage. So, when you have jets to fly but no fuel – get the point? So, we have not been watching out what is going on with the infrastructure required to maintain a military presence here in Alaska's inferior interior. With Flint shutting down, and weakening the jet-fuel supply-chain and now we plan on hauling “LNG” bombs along a single transportation system corridor, it may cause the “brass” to re-think the entire military mission in the interior. And they are already assessing that “mission”, again! Right after it was official that Flint was leaving town, the F-16 squadron still at Eielson was back under the “Economic Assessment” microscope. A “peace-time war-time” fuel supply is paramount at keeping a military base in operation. Now though, what was once available locally along with a supply of crude oil nearby to make the jet fuel, it must be hauled some 300-miles! It may be the straw, and the F-35's that were once a promise for Eielson, well that may find a new home in Anchorage at JBER – wherein jet fuel is available by a secure pipeline. Now add into the equation the “Air Quality” problems in Fairbanks & North Pole, the “brass” are also alarmed by that situation – as fighter pilots don't want their families subject to “staying indoors”. And the reason we may see a drastic decrease in ARMY troops at Ft. Wainwright – the cost of doing business and the “Vulnerability” aspect. So there is more then a serious issue with what the state has before itself, with respect to energy needs and clean air requirements. Solution? We had that back in 1976, it's called a “natural gas pipeline” from a field of “stranded gas” just up the road. For some 30-years by now, a “natural gas pipeline” has run the pumping stations from Prudhoe Bay to Pump station #4 in Atigan Pass – so it can be done and what's a few more miles of pipe? The damn Right-of-Way is already cleared? And the data exists upon the performance of a small-bore diameter pipeline and Alyeska would share that information! But after how many years and without pipe in the ground, I am a firm believer that was the intent – failure at that endeavor must also be in someone's equation of pirate profiteering! As there ain't no excuse that in 2015 after 77-billion barrels of oil and a $50-Billion “Reserve”, that citizens of Fairbanks are stuck with high costs of electricity and air pollution and not to forget “sulfolane” water pollution just down the road in North Pole – Santa Claus is not healthy, what do we tell the children? And why this despicable mess, because this state is the poster child for “Divided we fail”, even with all the resource development “loot” designed to fix things as the “Corrupt Bastard Politics” is so ingrained in Juneau that it spells doom for the masses. Like it was so planned!
Posted by Green Mountain Boy at 7:17 AM