In the last week, as I watch the people of New Orleans struggle to regain their footing, I am reminded of how all of us are vulnerable to nature's fury.
In the Atlantic states it's hurricanes, in the plains states it's tornadoes, and here on our fragile coastline it's a near-event tsunami. The destruction caused by Katrina should serve us as a reminder of what can and equally cannot happen to a community after an event like this. Katrina tore oil-drilling stations from their bases and swept them all over the Gulf. Those derricks are much heavier than a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tank. The government and the oil companies are still unable to secure them, as humanitarian efforts are ongoing. Just like what would happen here if a tsunami hit. People first, then material objects.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma, where oil and natural gas is king and the environment is an afterthought. It's only thought of when something goes wrong. If you think for one minute that the Calpine/Northern Star executives are concerned about your humble little berg, think again. They will pat you on the back for as long as it takes. They will tell you everything has been prepared for and safety safety safety is our goal. They'll promise jobs that they've already filled and maybe donate a little money to the Regatta or something. The energy companies care about one thing and one thing only. Money. Period.
If a tsunami were to strike and the ensuing fireball extinguished or floated over to Portland, the company will file bankruptcy, not pay for anything. They will hide out and then take their money to start a new company. Oil companies and drilling-rig companies do it over and over. Sometimes they call them "mergers."
Natural gas is dangerous, flat out, whether liquid or gas, it's deadly. A terrorist target for sure because our towns are sleepy and we don't get the federal money for terrorism that the big cities do.
Last and most importantly, consider our children. When the tsunami happens and the people are dead and your children ask "Why did they build it there?" do you want to tell them it was worth it? Remember, anyone on the City Council who is voting for it, pushing it, will be long gone and not held accountable when the consequences are realized.