Who Wants To Be A Guinea Pig?

By Tim Riley - 2/9/2004
Reprinted with permission from the Ventura County Star

Currently, there are no offshore liquefied natural gas facilities anywhere on Earth!

But, if two energy companies have their way, there will not only be one ­
but two ­ right off Ventura County beaches, impacting Malibu, Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara.
According to the Herald News, chief executive officer of Weaver Cove Energy, Gordon Shearer, said, "I've never heard of an offshore LNG terminal. It's a technology that is being developed ... but it is untested, unproven and nonexistent."

So, I ask you, do you want to be a guinea pig?

Before you answer, remember, the first onshore LNG facility in America had a major accident, incinerating one square mile of Cleveland, killing 128 and leaving 680 people homeless. The disaster looked like Hiroshima after the bomb.
Subsequent LNG industry spin claimed they had learned from the accident, and said we needn't worry ­ such a major accident like that will never happen again. Yet, on Jan. 19, 2004, another devastating LNG accident occurred. This time in a remote Algerian industrial zone, killing 27 workers, seriously injuring 72 and causing approximately $1 billion in damage. It has been reported that the "explosion" was so powerful that it blew out windows and caused fires six miles away. The Algerian explosion destroyed more than an LNG facility -- it destroyed the industry myth that LNG is safe. We have listened to the LNG "safety spin" and have now heard the explosive truth, galvanizing LNG opposition.

LNG proponents throughout America, scrambling to salvage their current proposals, as if caught in headlights or the cookie jar, have advanced an oversimplistic rationalization of the recent LNG disaster, claiming it was merely a boiler malfunction. With little wiggle room to work, the latest industry spin claims it has learned from that accident, too, and that we needn't worry because the malfunctioning boiler won't be used anymore.

Well, LNG accidents can be caused by a multitude of industrial malfunctions. The major problem with LNG is that when one of the many things that can go wrong does go wrong, the results are devastating. As if we needed any more tragic proof. LNG is too dangerous to learn as you go. We can't afford trial and error. LNG risks are far too deadly and costly.

So, I ask you, again, do you really want to be a guinea pig?

Before you answer, remember, the energy content of a typical LNG tanker is equivalent to 55 Hiroshima bombs. LNG tankers are enormous, take five miles to halt, have been called "floating bombs," "terrorist targets," and will come too dangerously close to our beaches. Also remember that in 1977, the city of Oxnard had a formal LNG environmental impact report that determined an offshore LNG tanker accident releasing its full cargo would disperse into an ignitable gaseous vapor cloud and be carried by the onshore wind for 30 miles before reaching its ignitable dispersion level, exposing 70,000 people to instant death.

Those who believe the LNG proposals are absurd and will just go away must nevertheless appear at public hearings to voice their outrage. Otherwise, your absence will be spun into approval.

Please, don't bury your head in the sand. Do you want to be an ostrich as well as a guinea pig?

Help keep our community safe.

Help stop LNG.

For more on LNG, visit TimRileyLaw.com.
(Tim Riley is a consumer protection attorney from Oxnard Shores, and hosts a Web site TimRileyLaw.com on the risks and danger of LNG.)

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