Friday, September 02, 2005

Today's snapshot

Like many of you I am sure, I have been listening to the news out of New Orleans all day. Its hard to take it all in. And I can't help wondering whether "community building skills" would help the morale. Probably just plain help would make the most difference. What would I do in those circumstances? I'd probably curl up in a ball and cry. But it brings to light the need for "social capital." When the stuff hits the fan (TSHTF in some circles) we are going to be dependent on each other to get through. Our government can't be counted on for many reasons. We need to become more self sufficient.

I have been trying to get an accurate picture of what is happening with the Colonial and Plantation pipelines. Here's a compilation of what I have found:

On August 31 CNN said:
One of two pipeline companies supplying gasoline to the eastern seaboard of the United States said Wednesday it hopes to be back in partial operation soon. The other pipeline is still waiting for an indication on when electricity to pumps will be restored.
On September 2nd The Washington Post reported:

Two major pipelines disrupted by Hurricane Katrina that provide much of the Washington area's gasoline showed signs of life yesterday, although it could be days before they are running up to full capacity. Colonial Pipeline Co. said that it was operating at 40 percent of capacity and that it hoped to operate at 61 percent by today and 86 percent by the middle of next week. Officials with the other pipeline, Plantation Pipe Line Co., said the line is operating at 25 percent.
On September 2nd The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weighed in:

Exacerbated by Wednesday's buying spree, the metro area came within four days of
running out of gasoline supplies, said U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Turmail. Hurricane Katrina had knocked out power to the two Gulf Coast pipelines that supply the Atlanta region's 7 million-gallon-a-day gasoline habit.

Power was partially restored Wednesday night and, by Thursday night, Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline Co. was nearing half capacity. The second, smaller pipeline was operating at 25 percent capacity.

availability of gas appears to be on the increase Friday in the metro Atlanta area, according to Tom Smith, director of the Georgia Association of Petroleum Retailers.

He estimates that one in every seven sellers in the metro region is completely without gasoline at their pumps. And perhaps one in five have run out of just a grade or two of fuel, he said.
On September 3rd The Atlanta Journal-Constitution actually quoted Matt Simmons! Is Peak Oil next?

Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline Co. was moving gasoline, diesel and jet fuel at two-thirds of its normal rate, while the smaller Plantation Pipe Line Co. was up to 95 percent.

Matt Simmons, a Houston-based investment banker in energy, worries that the good news is superficial, and will drive Americans back into complacency as energy resources dwindle.

After more than two years of research for his recent book, "Twilight in the Desert: Pending Oil Shock," Simmons concludes that the world's oil production has reached its highest point.

His tri-fold message is: open restricted oil fields, including the Alaskan wildlife refuge; [not worth it!] conserve existing supplies; and look for energy alternatives, including nuclear, [ack!] wind and solar. He said he hopes Americans don't sleep through Katrina's wake-up call.

"We're going to have to get used to paying realistic prices for our energy," Simmons said. "I think the quicker people start to realize that we've ended a very long era of inexpensive energy, the better off we'll be."

Today I had to run an unexpected errand not far from home, so I added on a trip to the library to it. Everything seemed normal--no lines or closed stations on the way. Mr. Logan said I was overeacting by not going to the gym today. Next week is when our reserves would run out if not replenished. That is when we will see the crunch, if it is to occur.

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