Saturday, September 17, 2016
A pipeline that runs from TX to NY broke causing a massive spill.
There may be area shortages and price hikes. The good news is that they are scrambling to get it fixed as soon as possible.
I've two concerns here. The first one, of course, is environmental. It's a significant spill. The second thing is that it illustrates how fragile some of our major infrastructure is. This one pipeline supplies a huge region of the country.
There are work arounds. Fuel can be shipped by truck and boat. However, a pipeline is the cheapest most efficient way to transport fuel. Someone down the line has got to eat the costs. Most likely that will be the consumer.
I've yet to see any mention on how this happened. Most likely is was an accident. Now imagine if terrorists wanted to harm the country. Small teams could cause multiple breaks all along the line. It would take a lot longer to find and fix the problem. Imagine there being hidden explosive charges positioned to go off once the line starts flowing again. Panic could grip the nation when fuel supplies ran low.
I'm not going to write up a terrorist how to, but there are many soft targets in our infrastructure, the grid, transportation, water supplies, and so on. A combined attack could cause wide scale national disruption.
Of course, with the neglect of much of the nuts and bolts that keep our country running, it would not take a terrorist attack. We could have have multiple failures on any given day from neglect alone.
That's why it's important to be able to take care of your basic needs. Most people are likely, in the short term, to panic over gasoline. While inconvenient it's rarely a matter of life or death. You should be more concerned about where your food and water come from.
The systems that keep a modern nation functioning are brittle. They should not be taken for granted.