by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Southern California is in no wise prepared for a major earthquake. We should be, however. Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach, California, that the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded, and ready to roll.” He added, “a massive earthquake could strike anytime.” Thomas's comments were quoted in the Inquisitor. Strike One.
Southern Californa is also unprepared for the perfect storm of brush fires which the long drought, die off of trees and vegetation, and high temperatures have delivered. Notice the news today. If you live in several parts of the southland just open your window and sniff the air. Strike Two.
These are problems caused by nature. We should have been prepared for these – but we weren't. Since we pay a lot for governmental agencies at the local, county, and state levels who claim they are in charge of ensuring we are safe it is fair to say they 'did not do their job.'
It is also fair to say they should held accountable for their failure to do so. If we survive we should ask this question loudly and accept no excuses. Strike Three.
The third danger hanging over our heads makes these first two impinging hazards far more serious. This involves a significant lack of oversight by those same agencies and the corporations they were supposed to be watching. The corporations, the utilities and oil companies who expect prompt payment from us, had all the control necessary to prevent the present situation.
Quoted in the Times they said, ““Southern California’s smaller cities and large businesses must take the threat of a crippling earthquake far more seriously than they have been, a committee of business, public policy and utility leaders said Thursday, saying action is needed to “prevent the inevitable disaster from becoming a catastrophe.””
We thought the enormously expensive infrastructure of government and the utility companies were handling our safety and their own business. We were wrong.
The most revolting and telling sign is the number of utilities and government agencies lining up, joined by Disney, to recommend (Your not going to believe this) another organization be formed to look at the problem. This is like starting a committee while the ocean is coming over the deck of the Titanic. Notice the attempt to slide out of the line of fire from the public outrage which should engulf them.
Among these pampered individuals are, according to the Times article cited above, “executives for Southern California Edison, the Southern California Gas Co., the Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo, along with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, USC, the Port of Los Angeles and the Southern California Assn. of Governments.”
Mickey Mouse can be overlooked. The rest cannot. They had well paid and qualified experts on tap but nothing happened – unless you look at their end of the year bonuses and raises.
These folks want to, “create a Southern California Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative, intended to highlight the unresolved earthquake risks and convince decision makers to fix them. The group issued a report with recommendations on Thursday.”
“Convince decision makers?” How stupid are these people? Send them to Kern County to fight the fires there, then they will not need to be convinced.
This is a CYA moment if I have ever seen one. You have the same players who have never maintained their infrastructure lining up to justify, in advance, what is now poised to happen to people and property for which they are, by government, not held responsible when they cause a disaster. As you may know, their 'natural monopolies' are treated as an extension of government which also holds itself as not responsible for what happens to us, the people who are being squeezed to pay the bills, which includes their salaries and bonuses.
These hazards include the potential for disaster in the Cajon Pass. This is where the San Andreas fault cuts through California, and where the full force of an earthquake is most likely to be felt.
Consider for a moment this looming threat on the edge of Southern California’s sprawling metropolis. The Cajon Pass is a narrow mountain pass where the San Andreas fault, which travels down the length of California and then, “intersects with combustible natural gas and petroleum pipelines, electrical transmission lines, train tracks and Interstate 15 north of San Bernardino. Did it, along with the petroleum infrastructure suddenly appear, perhaps caused by Harry Potter? No, it did not.
A huge earthquake on the San Andreas could move one side of the fault as much as 30 feet from the other. Such an earthquake would rupture flammable pipelines and lead to a catastrophic explosion so powerful it leaves behind a crater.” Read that again.
This is a time to remember Porter Ranch clearly and distinctly.
Governor Brown just declared Kern County a Disaster, which is certainly true as the wild fire there is continuing its merry course and has already burned more than 46 square miles, destroyed over 100 buildings and killed at least two people, maybe more. Do you want to bet more is not coming?
Edison and other utilities have, historically, resisted vigorously any attempt to enforce readiness for disaster and with maintaining their facilities. But now they are faced with the meltdown of the petroleum industry and realize their very existence is now in question. Therefore, instead of admitting their culpability, they are attempting to create a false record showing concern for the dangers they knew all along existed for us for which they could not be held accountable. They sat there, like steaming dog turds until the fires had started and the media was trumpeting the imminent threat of a major quake.
It is also likely these unnatural monopolies will be seeking subsidies to upgrade. They must realize the public remembers all too well the wrongs done by the petroleum industry within the last 18 months.
This comes at a time when ExxonMobil is still facing the possibility of impacting more than a quarter million people living within three miles of the Torrance Refinery. Pause to consider the impact of an earthquake, and fire on that facility.
The problems Edison now admits must be handled, itemized in the Times article, include:
- “Reduce the risk of catastrophe at the Cajon Pass would be to put shutoff valves on both sides of the San Andreas fault on petroleum and natural gas pipelines. If the pipelines are automatically turned off during the earthquake, it could prevent huge amounts of fuel from being ignited if the pipelines break.”
What an interesting idea. Now ask yourself why they did not take these steps 20 years ago.
- “In cities, water pipes and natural gas lines will burst during shaking.
The reality is disturbing — burst water pipes could leave parts of Southern California without running water for six months. Natural gas pipelines can fuel dangerous city fires.”
3. “Large businesses and local politicians may be underestimating the worst-case scenario.
This 'advice' from the petroleum industry is truly ironic as it is their irresponsibility and the lack of awareness of existing building technologies which would have largely reduced these hazards, along with the failure of government to carry out the duties they are paid to perform.
4. “Many Southern Californians don’t know their neighbors, and that’s going to hurt neighborhoods’ ability to recover.”
And whatever happens it is someone else's fault, not theirs because you don't have time to socialize when you and your wife are each working three jobs to make ends meet.
5. “Many cities do not require collapse-prone buildings to be retrofitted.”
And yet fees are extracted from those building structures using the justification this money is paid to ensure the structures are safe. But most are not safe, and the affordable sustainable technologies are very slow to be approved by these same agencies.
Cities and towns refuse to allow the use of proven technologies exist which can provide safety from earthquakes, fires and flooding. While others around the world are already using these in America they remain largely unknown because of the collusion between government and existing construction interests.
The first reconstruction which Californians should demand is of government and the corporations who run government. Visit Agents Green to contact us and get information on sustainable materials what else should be done.