The US is Vulnerable

But, this time to the weather. Or natural disaster. Maybe even terrorism.

Anything that takes out the US highway LA1 for 90 days or more will do tremendous damage to the energy infrastructure of the US.

Yes, you might argue that there is very little that could take out that highway, or the port that it feeds – but that’s not the point. The point is that there are vital choke points in America’s infrastructure that are vulnerable to natural disaster and man-made disaster. And, we aren’t doing anything about them.

Once upon a time, in our grandparent’s day, we prepared for such disasters. Well, it seems that it is time to do so again.

If something takes out Port Fourchon in Louisiana, you are in for a world of hurt. Maybe a really good hurricane? An earthquake? Worse?

That highway has already been taken out for a month at a time.

I think that it’s time to do some disaster prep, don’t you?

Here’s the article from WND, that got me interested in this.

Oh, and here is the report that they are citing: Louisiana Highway 1/Port Fourchon Study, July 15, 2011


WND EXCLUSIVE

U.S. is 1 storm away from energy crisis

American power supply faces stunning weakness

By Steve Elwart

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security study has found that the temporary disruption of Louisiana Highway LA-1 in southern Lafourche Parish, near the energy hub of Port Fourchon, potentially could cripple the nation’s energy supply and cause major damage to the economy.

The DHS report titled “Louisiana Highway 1/Port Fourchon Study,” concludes that a 90-day closure of Port Fourchon due to the closing of LA-1 could result in a reduction of up to $7.8 billion in the American gross domestic product, significantly impacting domestic oil and gas production for at least a decade.

Located in southern Lafourche Parish, Port Fourchon is Louisiana’s southernmost port on the Gulf of Mexico. It is centrally located in a large area of the gulf that is rich in oil and natural gas drilling fields. The port has become a hub for the United States’ critical energy infrastructure. It is a primary supply base for oil rigs and production platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico with approximately 270 large supply ships moving through the port each day.

Crew and supply boats work out of the port because of its physical proximity to the facilities. Its location also makes it a prime site for the oil service industry in the gulf. The port currently services half of the drilling rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico, accounting for 75 percent of the gulf’s deepwater oil production. Oil production supplies and materials sent to rigs and platforms from Port Fourchon are brought into the port by more than 600 18-wheel trucks that travel on Louisiana Highway 1 each day.

The infrastructure of South Louisiana and LA-1, in particular, has come under increasing scrutiny since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the area in August and September 2005. According to the National Hurricane Center, the two storms caused a combined damage of $90 billion and left a trail of destruction from which the area has yet to recover.

The DHS study was conducted to provide an assessment of the national consequences of disruptions to this lifeline to the gulf. The study evaluates the reduced ability of the nation to deliver two critical commodities, crude oil and natural gas, to the American public as a result of the loss of access to Port Fourchon via LA-1. The study also addresses local, regional and national economic impacts due to a disruption of LA-1 for an extended period of time.

Since 2005, a nine-mile stretch of the two-lane highway that runs from Golden Meadow to Leeville has been closed to traffic due to storm surge a total of 23 days. The road, which sits at sea level, provides the only land access to Port Fourchon, which supports 16 percent of the nation’s energy supply. The study found that, based on predicted weather patterns, the highway could be closed due to flooding for more than three months by no later than the late 2030s.

Read the rest of the article here.

Finally, I get to say something good about the Department of Homeland Security.

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