Comments by Eckermann

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Posted on May 24 at 10:14 a.m.

Jarvis, the oil spill event has absolutely nothing to do with Lois Capps. It is weird that you feel it necessary to make such tortured stretch of false logic to use this event to express your well-worn animus against Ms. Capps. I also find your argument that somehow this problem was caused by lack of regulatory zeal on the part of a single congressperson. Its seems that in the world of JarvisJarvis, regulation is bad and lack of regulation is bad. Government is bad when it does something and government is bad when it does nothing. The world of JarvisJarvis is a weird world indeed.

On Refugio Pipeline Shutdown Puts Brakes on Oil Production

Posted on May 23 at 9:20 p.m.

The tracks are nearby but there is no spur. That would take another permit process. Train engines are notoriously messy air pollution sources (lots of nitrogen oxides and diesel particulates). Once again this will all require a County permit process, which will take the better part of a year.

On Refugio Pipeline Shutdown Puts Brakes on Oil Production

Posted on May 23 at 3:14 p.m.

In order to transport oil by trucks, ExxonMobil would have to get a permit from the County to do so and Venoco would need a permit from the City of Goleta. These permit processes would not be completed quickly and would be very controversial. If either project attempted to escape an EIR the resulting lawsuits would tie up the projects for at least a year. It take less time to just wait for Line 901 to come back into service than to embark on the trucking project.

On Refugio Pipeline Shutdown Puts Brakes on Oil Production

Posted on May 21 at 8:15 p.m.

You have to be kidding me! Any pipeline built in the last 30 years that does not have automatic leak shutdown technology is simply design and operational malfeasance. The reason that Plains sued the County to escape regulation was to avoid the extra safeguards that would have prevented this disaster. The oil companies fought tooth and nail to prevent the local air pollution control districts from regulating air pollution from offshore oil platforms and luckily they lost that fight. This is all "coulda, woulda, shoulda," at this point. Hopefully, the huge fines that will be levied can go to help preserve the Gaviota Coast from further depredation.

On [UPDATE]: Huge Oversight Gap on Refugio Pipeline in Santa Barbara County

Posted on May 20 at 9:32 p.m.

This is a systemic failure of very large proportions. First, the pipeline inspection system failed to detect weakness in the pipeline. Second, the leak detection system failed to shut down the pipeline automatically. Third, the human response to observing abnormalities was slow. Fourth, there was apparently no human inspection backup of the pipeline route (i.e., someone travelling and observing the pipeline route daily) who would have discovered this leak before it did any major damage. I have to conclude that all of these systems failure were the result of human decisions. Those decision were most likely made to save money. This is the result of the of invisible hand of economics. What we need to prevent this type of disaster in the future is the very visible hand of regulation, more of it and more assiduously applied. While it might be satisfying to see the regulatory agencies kicking butt now, if they had had the authority to have been kicking butt earlier, this would not have happened.

On As Refugio Oil Slick Spreads, Spill Estimate Rises

Posted on May 19 at 5:28 p.m.

Absolute incompetence on the part of the pipeline operators is what caused this. A lack of sufficient regulation of those incompetent operators is a contributing factor. In this day and age, there is no excuse for this kind of accident. Plains should be fined hundreds of millions of dollars. This will affect the Santa Barbara County coast for months. Refugio is one of the most poplar destination parks in California. The Parks Service should get reimbursed for every cancelation. Nice work oil companies. We've got to keep your eye on these characters, they are idiots in charge of dangerous systems.

On Big Oil Spill Along Refugio Coast

Posted on May 16 at 9:57 p.m.

The County should move the restroom structure on the west end of the park back as far as they can, just to be safe. Losing some lawn and parking lot to a major El Nino/king tide event is no big deal. The destruction of the restroom structure would be a significant loss of infrastructure. Also, once the restroom is moved, the County would not be in panic mode every time storm surf splashes up on Goleta Beach. The Beachside Restaurant is also an important asset that needs protection (it probably pays for the park since there are no parking fees), but it seems pretty well protected in its current location. At least for now.

On Coastal Commission Grants Goleta Beach Rocks

Posted on May 15 at 3:34 p.m.

I agree with you Nativegeo that splitting the County into two counties would create an environment with a lot less political enmity. It would be our version of the "two-state solution." However, when this idea came up for a vote, it lost. As I recall, the economic viability of Mission County was sort of shaky and absolutely not viable without the Santa Ynez Valley (the majority of the residents of which want nothing to do with Mission County). If the southern half of Santa Barbara County could keep all its taxes it would be far better off. There are fewer poor people as a percentage of population in the South and there are more employment opportunities in the South. I believe that Mission County would get along and the citizens would be happier without the influence of the elitist snobs who live south of the Gaviota tunnel. Alas, it's a pipe dream.

On Major S.B. Oil Driller Files for Bankruptcy

Posted on May 14 at 6:59 p.m.

Revetments are normally never a good a idea (although this one seems minor). The sand at Waikiki on Oahu must be constantly replenished because the revetments cause the sand to be scoured away from the shore. The fact that the these boulders do not pose a serious threat to the normal sand deposit process tells me that the boulders are not going to provide any protection against a major large wave event that corresponds to a king tide event. Consequently, the County will one day be in panic mode as to how to prevent the grassy lawn and infrastructure from crumbling into the sea. Everybody can feel good about this result, but anybody who believes that those boulders are going to act as a permanent protection for a temporal sand spit has not spent very much time observing the dynamic interaction between the ocean and coast.

On Coastal Commission Grants Goleta Beach Rocks

Posted on May 14 at 8:59 a.m.

ERG never had a very good reputation in the oil patch. They were known to be a little loose with environmental compliance, a bit slimy with their creditors, and not a very smart operator. It is not surprising that they are bankrupt. This could also be the first to fall due to the price of oil staying low for so long.

On Major S.B. Oil Driller Files for Bankruptcy

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