Open Season on Pipelines
October 5, 2001 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Open Season on Pipelines Some dumbass with a rifle shot the trans-Alaska pipeline with a rifle on Thursday (photo here). The results of his single shot? 70,000 gallons of crude oil spilled on the ground. The authorites, as is requisite these days, assure us it has "nothing to do with terrorism".
posted by kokogiak (21 comments total)
[The authorites, as is requisite these days, assure us it has "nothing to do with terrorism".]

But it's a lovely boost for anyone with a .30-06, a box of jacketed ammo, and a grudge.

Add it to the "Terror's Top Ten Next Targets" list.
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:43 AM on October 5, 2001

It's a good thing he didn't have the balls to light a match...
posted by delmoi at 10:44 AM on October 5, 2001

Better make a law or 20 to cover this.
posted by yesster at 10:59 AM on October 5, 2001

Maybe it's because I work in an engineering school, but the concepts this evokes in me are "failure mode," "design flaw," and "lawsuit from hell."
posted by rodii at 11:17 AM on October 5, 2001

is a bullet hole to small to measure a leak through pressure regulation? where is the dutch boy?
posted by newnameintown at 11:25 AM on October 5, 2001

seems like alot of "isolated" incidents-pipeline, anthrax, planes going down. buses crashing. snowball or psy-ops?(Mclaughlin voice)"skally-skallo-skaskallas:co-winky-dink or winky-wink"...rodo-roni-ron-a rodeo:......"(i loved that SNL skit)
posted by newnameintown at 11:31 AM on October 5, 2001

NPR was talking about the security measures in place for the Alaskan Pipeline after the WTC attack. In the remote places, someone flies over the pipeline to check on any irregular activities. They interviewed one of the guys, who said something to the effect of, 'Well, we'd like to fly over at least once a week, but sometimes we can't do it that often.'
posted by Hankins at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2001

I hope this story doesnt reach fox or msnbc news, we'd be seeing a scare all day long. . . the news is killing me. "Fox News, your number one source for terrorist ideas".
posted by tomplus2 at 12:12 PM on October 5, 2001

Arm Alaskan bears! Federalize grizzlies! Whoops--they might guard ANWR's borders, keeping out the oil corps.
posted by Carol Anne at 12:20 PM on October 5, 2001


where is the dutch boy?

Let's not bother him just now; he's had a busy day at the orifice.

Thank you. I'm here until Thursday.
posted by alumshubby at 12:34 PM on October 5, 2001

can someone explain how can an engineering feat like this(a ½" steel pipeline) be vulnerable to something that can be purchased in a sporting goods store? that's like putting up and eggshell wall in a supermax prison.
posted by donkeysuck at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2001

can someone explain how to pay for the extra steel & construction expense required to make it bulletproof?

I'd think the yearly oil dividend would be enough to convince locals not to mess with the pipeline. Apparently some people can't reason that far.

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:06 PM on October 5, 2001

There is only one act of terrorism/sabotage that would really send me over the edge:

Cutting my cable wire.

If the Taliban can go to each subscribers house and yank the cable out, they will ultimately succeed.
posted by theJaybird at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2001

donkeysuck -

Most of the great engineering feats in the world can be damaged or destroyed with the proper use of materials available at sporting goods stores, home-improvement retailers, etc. For example:

Supplies available at a farm store could be used to make a truck bomb that could take out the Hoover Dam.

A couple of guys with cutting torches could (with maybe 2 hours work) weaken the Statue of Liberty to the point that it would collapse in a strong wind.

A scuba diver, using only hand tools, could literally throw a wrench into the turbines of most any hydroelectric plant, thereby disabling it.

It would be easy to think of more, but the points are simple:

- "Safe" or "Not Safe" is a fiction, there's only more-or-less safe
- The best engineering in the world can be laid to rest by a determined vandal or group of vandals
- For every safety feature present in an engineered artifact, there is at least one incident of failure/damage that established its relevancy

It doesn't even have to be intentional. Remember when a simple paint chip floating in space caused big damage to the space shuttle windshield?

In order to build a pipeline that would be imprevious to small arms fire, the cost would skyrocket. Even then, would it protect against a gasoline tanker truck ramming into a support pylon at a junction?

Take any claims like "impervious," "safe," "secure," invulnerable," etc. as marketing hype. They can't ever be more than that.
posted by yesster at 1:14 PM on October 5, 2001

Man . . . what a jerk.
posted by dopamine at 2:34 PM on October 5, 2001

God bless the NRA.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 3:04 PM on October 5, 2001

anyone in the commidities market? buy a few hundred thousand barrels of oil futures and pull one of these... wow.
posted by alex3005 at 5:34 PM on October 5, 2001

you know, i've seen alotta discussion on MeFi to the effect of "well ya kno there's the IRA too & ya kno tim mcveigh was just as evil as bin laden ... & hey what about them evil white devil christian clinic bombers" i've even seen a mention or two of the Unabomber.

and i've read much regarding the assault on MeFi users rights as digital citizens if/when "cyber-terrorists" are lumped into this war on ...

but this is first thread i've come across somewhat related to "eco-terrorism." this, obviously, isn't anything about EarthFirst ... but it reminds me i haven't heard anything about them for awhile. what if they get put on the Target List ???

i'd be instantly more conflicted.
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:04 PM on October 5, 2001

actually this statement is a little scary:

9/26/1: One block in New York City returns to the Earth.
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:10 PM on October 5, 2001

:: raising eyebrows :: EarthFirst statement's pretty heartless.

Oh, and Pipeline Guy had been drinking when he shot the thing up...

[insert comments here]
posted by metrocake at 9:10 AM on October 6, 2001

This is Alaska we're talking about here, metrocake. Woulda been noteworthy if he hadn't been drinking.

This is the bit I like : "His brother, Randolph Lewis, remained at the scene and explained to pipeline security officers what had happened. "

I so want to know the backstory here. Coen Brothers movie style...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:27 AM on October 6, 2001

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