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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Gas Troubles in the Harbor

AmeriGasAt least they are going out with a BANG!

Since the audit issue wasn't causing enough headaches for the beleaguered Harbor Commission, yesterday they refused to delay a vote to give AmeriGas more time to look for another facility to solve the pipeline permit issue which has been festering for months.

Here's the long and short of it.

Currently, the AmeriGas pipeline runs from storage tanks on North Gaffey Street under the 110 Freeway to Berth 120. The pipeline exports excess butane to Latin America and China. Needless to say, the community of San Pedro is worried about their safety and have even cited terrorist concerns.

The permit is up for renewal. Amerigas has been searching for alternative locations, but has yet to find one. The Harbor Commission was being urged to delay a vote to give Amerigas more time, but since the commissioners don't have much time left either, they promptly denied the permit.

What is San Pedro left with? They still have the tank. They still have the boats at Berth 120. And now they have thousands of trucks ferrying the same gas between the two.

So they gained what, thousands of accidents waiting to happen as opposed to one.


The truest quote I've read about this situation had to be delivered by Cindy Miscikowski to the Daily Breeze: "I don't know what the urgency was, and as we do know, there are a lot of changes a-coming."

There sure are, due to bonehead votes like this.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

great. more traffic

June 23, 2005 11:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

undoubtedly, Commissioner Nicholas Tonsich will benefit financially from this decision....

June 23, 2005 1:37 PM  

Anonymous Noel Park, President, San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition said:

Actually, Amerigas and the Port have had 36 years to find a new location. The Port Master Plan of 1979 provided that this facility should be relocated "to a remote location" as a matter of urgency, because the LPG is a "Cargo Of Particular Hazard" (COPH) according to the Coast Guard.

The remote location was Pier 400, which was justified to the community, and the Federal Government, as the "Energy Island", a place to relocate these hazardous uses.

In a classic bait and switch operation, the Port then leased the "Energy Island" to Maersk Corp. (then Executive Director Larry Keller's previous employer) as a container terminal. This left the hazardous uses on the doorstep of our community.

Not to worry, the Port then produced a plan which shows that the hazardous uses, used to justify the huge landfill, are no longer hazardous. When we asked them why the LPG terminal is no longer hazardous, they said that the adjacent Todd Shipyard had closed, so that there were no longer shipyard workers in harm's way.

We pointed out that the Port was even then engaged in construction of the China Shipping container terminal on the same site, which will employ several hundred longshore workers. We asked if they had any science to show that longshore workers had a higher resistance to blast overpressure than shipyard workers, but there has been no response.

Also immediately adjacent are the Yang Ming Terminal, several petroleum products terminals, the Harbor Division police station, and several residential neighborhoods.

Experts have told us that the LPG terminal is much more dangerous than the proposed LNG terminal which is causing so much controversy in Long Beach.

This lease expired many months ago. Amerigas has had ample opportunities to make some arrangement with the Port. Instead they hired Rudy Svorinich to peddle these scare stories to his former colleagues. For shame.

We want this menace gone from our community. This is the first step. We seldom agree with the Harbor Commission, but they are dead right this time.

June 23, 2005 4:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What consistantly is conveniently overlooked by local zealots and chicken littles in the San Pedro area is that AmeriGas's facility is located on PRIVATE PROPER!. The Port has no authority over this land(at least thank G--, not yet) and so the decision, egged on by the Councilmember was to push the export of this product into trucks and onto the streets of San Pedro and Wilmington and Harbor City.

June 23, 2005 5:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So everyone thinks Amerigas is really going to hire thousands of trucks, fill them with LPG and truck them to the Gulf ports, unload them to a storage facility and pump the product to a ship and export it to South America. Must be a big profit margin on this stuff.

June 23, 2005 10:53 PM  

Anonymous Janet Gunter said:

It's quite simple to look at where the market for this product of butane/propane is. Asia, primarily and South America. Doesn't take too many brain cells rubbed together to understand that if this company loses it's adjacent marine terminal to ship the stuff out....that it's lost the feasibility of profitability in operation. Yep, there will be some trucks and rail cars running for a while to clean out the excess storage they have allowed to accumulated unwisely. From what I understand they have had serious difficulty in attempts to acquire another shipping terminal because of safety issues. Scare tactics employed by lobbist Svorinich only work when one doesn't evaluate an entire issue. The removal of this pipeline will ultimately lead to the facility moving on for financial reasons. Good riddens to one of the most hazardous gas facilities located in the Harbor Area. Let's now find the wisdom in relocating the others to assist in safeguarding LA City residents.

June 24, 2005 9:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

and tank the economy in the process. great solution

June 24, 2005 9:09 AM  

Anonymous Janet Gunter said:

Uh, huh .....as if our economy will be TANKED by the loss of a single LPG terminal. We have far greater worries than that! Get serious! But, that 25 million gallons in two storage TANKS go a long way in killing thousands pretty easily! Gosh, let's all worry about that profit margin. Life vs profit? I'll go for our lives without question. Pretty simple decision for many of us. You gotta wonder who would place so little value on human lives. Guess whoever this is replying would call me a "chicken little". Okay....would rather be a "live chicken little" than a coward.

June 24, 2005 9:34 AM  

Anonymous noel park said:

Actually, we will still have the tanks, but the Port will not allow trucks to shuttle from the berth to the tanks, so the berth will cease to function.

As to the trucks, no one has explained to us yet how the trucks are going to get to China.

In the year of our Lord of 2005, we cannot understand how it is that $60 per barrel crude oil is brought to Wilmington, run through refineries, and that this fuel is then exported to China and Latin America.

It seems that some really bright oil companies might figure out a way to use this cleaner fuel in some of the thousands of pieces of diesel powered equipment running around the Port, making it the largest source of toxic, carcinogenic, air pollution in the state.

Anyway, "Councilman" Svorinich tried the scare tactic of the trucks on the San Pedro community first, which firmly rejected it. Now it seems that he is stepping up to the time honored LA political tradition of divide and conquer by taking his scare tactics to Wilmington and Harbor City. If there is any justice in this world, when the explosion comes it will take Rudy with it, but probably not.

As to the "chicken little" comments, this thing has the potential to kill several thousand people. Anyone who saw the 60 minutes segment on ungaurded chemical facilities should take a look at this baby.

Thank you Janet, right on point as always.

June 24, 2005 10:29 AM  

Anonymous grieg asher said:

This is an inappropriately located facility and needs to be relocated as soon as possible.

Kudos to the many community members who have worked to correct this problem for years, including Carlos Garcia, Jody James, Janet Gunter, Chuck Hart, Noel Park, and many others. Let's remember that civic involvement is one of the hallmarks of a great city.

June 24, 2005 11:04 AM  

Blogger Jody James said:

People that I admire for looking out for their community's safety have responded beautifully. Friday there was a "spectacular" explosion in St. Louis from a propane processing plant. My sister lives there and I learned more than our local paper's account that said flames shot 150 ft. in the air, residents were evacuated...but no injuries or deaths. Thank God. Here in San Pedro, Amerigas tanks hold 25 MILLION gals. of propane/butane. No one disputes that they are inappropriately sited in a densly populated area within 2 blocks of 2 schools and very close to the 110 freeway, Vincent Thomas Bridge, and the Harbor Police Station (the new fire/paramedic station is being built nearby too.) In an explosive incident our first responders would be the first to DIE. I've noticed that industry doesn't usually do the right thing unless they are forced. Incidently, a year ago, at a NWSan Pedro Neighborhood council meeting (I'm on the Board) I asked the Amerigas rep, Mr Thomas, what happened to the plans to move their operation out to "Energy Island". He replied that they were asked to relocate but declined. That remote site, now called Pier 400 was supposed to be created to place the hazardous facilities away from densly populated areas. In PCAC subcommittees and follow-up info from the neighborhood council we have heard that Amerigas has not been very cooperative in finding a new site. Hopefully now with their pipeline lease discontinued they will cooperate. Hopefully, Mayor Villaraigosa will be public health and safety minded. I feel the previous two mayors have always put $ first and we are apparently just chopped liver. Councilwoman Miscikowski must not understand the hazards we have faced these 30 years. 9/11 brought other fears to the community. I hope our harbor area residents will see a new administration concerned with our environment here at the port. The 2004 Emissions Inventory said that POLA/POLB operations are responsible for 1/4th of ALL the air Pollution in the LA air basin!!! We're all breathing it.

June 26, 2005 7:22 PM  

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