State Of Emergency in California

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Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the Santa Barbara oil spill. Phyllis Grifman, associate director of the USC Sea Grant Program, is quoted i a a University of Southern California press release as saying, “Nothing worked – they found out about this because people camping nearby or living nearby smelled it. Nothing happened on the part of the infrastructure that could shut it down early.” The spill, she notes, sits beteween two areas under protection for endangered marine wildlife. Taj Meshkati, also a USC professor (of engineering) asked, “Why did it take the company so long to detect and stop the leak? This points to an important human problem in the safety culture issue.” Raj Rajagopalan of USC’s Marshall School of Business, an expert on supply chain management, notes “This spill will have an impact on the local tourism industry given that the sight of oil on its pristine beaches does not help and also on local fisheries. There will be a spillover effect from the tourism impact on other local business. But I anticipate that the effect on the economy will be short-term (a few weeks) because the spill is not very large and so hopefully it will be contained soon.”

Governor Jerry Brown is quoted in the BBC as saying he state would “quickly mobilise all available resources. We will do everything necessary to protect California’s coastline.”

The spill is believed to have put about 21,000 gallons of oil in the ocean.

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7 thoughts on “State Of Emergency in California

  1. See! This is why the pipeline is so important!
    And yes we will keep the pipeline from leaking! Honest! Trust US! That little leak in Arkansas was just minor nothing, ignore the pictures, really it was nothing! We will continuously inspect the pipe line to insure no leaks! Honest trust Us!!!
    At least a train wreck or boat leak is Self-Limiting, unlike a 2000mile pipe pumping it out!!!

  2. And we’re already hearing that the spill was ~5x larger than originally reported. By a company with a history of infractions:

    Federal records show that the Plains All American Pipeline has had 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Times’ analysis found that “Plains’ rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average.”

  3. Santa Barbara is a very conservative area, Reagan moved there. One wonders how the Republicans are going to poo poo this spill and say how conservation is useless.

  4. The company is defending its decision to rely on manual operators to shut down the pipeline in event of a leak. It says that automatic valves can cause pressure surges that might make a problem worse. This is true, of course, for a badly designed system or for one that’s malfunctioned. But by the same token, manual operators can screw up. That happened with another pipeline operator that Santa Barbara County had forced to install automatic shutoff valves. A leak occurred offshore in 1997, and the personnel on duty overrode the automatic system.

    Even if manual shutdown really is superior, Plains All American apparently had inadequate leak-detection instrumentation in place.

  5. Update from 5 June: Hands-on inspection found the pipe thickness at the point of the rupture had been reduced by 80 percent. Experts were puzzled by the discrepancy between this value and the 45 percent reduction indicated by earlier tests.

    See http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/06/05/santa-barbara-oil-spill-update-test-missed-major-pipeline-corrosion

    I’ve seen nothing about whether instrumentation on that pipeline should have detected the pressure drop.

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