Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oil Spill - one of worst on the North Slope

Spill is one of worst on the North Slope

"Officials have found a 24-inch jagged rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever."

One ice plug was more than a quarter of a mile long. Shit howdy.

Note, by the way, the following:

"They've used Bobcats to scoop up the mess and vehicles called Rolligons with huge, low-pressure tires to haul it away. They're building an ice road for trucks, though the weather at times has been too warm for the ice road work."

Ice roads are a common concept in this kind of environment...and now the weather ON THE NORTH FUCKING SLOPE has been "too warm" for an ice road. I have varying pairs of words to state at this point: Global Warming. Climate Change. We're Fucked.

And it ain't just about ice plugs, neighbors. It's about permafrost melting. It's about ice roads. It's about subsistence living that depends on ice and permafrost and pipeline maintenance and spill cleanup that depends on ice and permafrost. It's about the rules changing dramatically.

Check this out:

US National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change Educational Resources Regional Paper: Alaska With regards to oil pipelines: "The pipeline's support structures are designed for specific ranges of ground temperatures, and are subject to heaving or collapse if the permafrost thaws. Replacing them, if required, would cost about $2 million per mile."

Because of climate change, "the hard-frozen conditions needed to support ice roads around the North Slope oil fields now exist for only about 100 days a year. . . . Thirty years ago, oil companies could use ice roads for about 200 days of the year." Global warming devastating native Alaskans. See also, Warmer climate creates engineering challenges, Kenai Peninsula Online.

Can't fix it if you can't get to it.