Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 10, 2012

Prior knowledge as a cause of blindness

Filed under: Catastrophes,Preparedness and Response — by Philip J. Palin on November 10, 2012

The fuel situation has improved markedly in New Jersey… as I expected, predicted in prior posts, and just about when I projected.  The fuel situation has not improved — and probably gotten worse — in New York City and Long Island.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Below is an excerpt from today’s New York Times.  It blames the difference between NJ and NY mostly on a delay in gas rationing.   This is part of the story.  I don’t think it is the main part.  Rather, I perceive — I am no longer in the region and not able to check-in-person — the key problem is a set of broken connections between the big Linden terminals with smaller terminals beyond the East River.

If this is confirmed as the problem I will have committed the same error that Karl Rove demonstrated in election projections: Mistaking a prior paradigm for current reality.   I mistook my (modest) familiarity with the fuel distribution network in the Washington DC region as functionally analogous to the NYC metro market.  I was looking for one or two really big nodes to restore.  Given the layered density and geographic challenges of the NYC metro fuel market it absolutely makes sense there would be much more inter-mediation in the marketspace.   Not looking for it was a serious mistake.

Please read the final paragraph in the excerpt.  This is why preparedness and mitigation is so very important.  What can be worked out in advance is much more difficult in the midst of a crisis.

The center of the problem was Linden, N.J., oil industry executives said, the heart of the metropolitan supply chain and a place where New York officials have no jurisdiction. It is where the Colonial pipeline ends, bringing petroleum products up from the Gulf of Mexico, and where the Buckeye pipeline begins taking petroleum products to Long Island and other areas.

Six- to eight-foot waves surged through the area, crashing into a Phillips 66 refinery and into a cluster of terminals on or close to the Arthur Kill waterway that receives refined products from the Colonial pipeline and local refineries for shipment throughout the region.

In addition, while the main pipelines have recovered power, 20 or so terminals in and around Linden will take more time to build to normal operations. Eight to 14 are in various stages of repair and limited operations, while 6 are still out of commission. Docks were flooded and damaged, along with equipment that lifts refined product to the barges from pipelines and tanks. The surge blew out control-room windows and lifted and damaged marine docks and lifting equipment essential for putting the products on the barges.

“Hurricane Sandy gave us a major shot to our distribution network,” said James Benton, the director of the New Jersey Petroleum Council, a trade organization. He said the northeaster was a blow, as well, since “it delayed damage assessments for the larger facilities and recoveries for some of the smaller facilities.”

The extent of the damage to the gas-distribution network was not fully understood by state and city officials, said Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops.

A New York State energy office created amid gas shortages in the 1970s was dissolved in the 1990s. And, Mr. Bombardier said, there was little if any coordination or monitoring of the entire distribution network before the hurricane. “There’s more damage than anybody knew,” he said. “There was no plan or diagram of how this industry worked or who you can call to find out what’s happening. ”

The full NYT story is available at “Behind New York Gas Shortage, Missed Opportunities and Miscalculations“.   I contributed my share.



Good overview in today’s NYT: Gas Crisis Abates


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Comment by William R. Cumming

November 10, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

Assuming by the end of next week all the impacted areas have all the fuel and energy needs met then how about food,water,and pharma?
Any travel curtailment, voluntary or otherwise?

FEMA SITREPS are not public! Why?

Comment by - Benghazi - Barry Obama: A Dangerous Man and A Dangerous Time In Our History........ Time

November 11, 2012 @ 7:38 am

We have spent millions and millions and billions and we have encountered Katrina and tornado after tornado and we have encountered the Great Storm of ’38 flooding Providence and 600 dead and the great Gales of the 1700’s and 1800’s and in 2012, the NJ Governor and the NY Governor and the WH are doing a great job in their incestuous ways towards one another while the politicians gloat at their less than impressive majority with so many in this nation and in NJ/NY seeing quite clearly that it is not only in “Benghazi” that our fiensst are left behind, but here along our eastern coastline as temperatures become colder by mid-week again, a stormy nor’easter pattern takes aim for Thanksgiving and thereafter and my question, ‘Where the hell are the US troops in big numbers landing goods by parachute as well as themselves if necessary – we have search dogs sent to Turkey and other, we have US officials flown at an instant overseas, however it takes three weeks and ore to get FBI into Benghazi – give us a break –

“Treason I Shout and Shame on You I Say” –

As a US citizen, I place both Barry Obama, Hillary Clinton both under – “Citizen’s arrest” for suspicision in breach of trust, treason and as far as the Givernor of NJ and NY, you have failed the constituency for this is not the first time in history that the ferocious wrath of Mother Nature has struck the area and if necessary, go to http://www.bluehill.org and also make contact w/those at the Observatory and they will research the climatological records and documented history of storms in 1821 and so on…We have No excuse not to be prepared and have US troops in big numbers here on our homefront and we have no excuse Not to arrest the Secretary of State and the “Chicago city stree slicker” who has hoodwinked so many fellow Americans in his intent to continue to weaken our global posture very much in line with his anti-colonial – anti-Judeo-Christian and anti-Constitutional perspectives….God help America!

The earthquake to strike the northeast, never mind California is near and We are so blinded by these political appointees at FEMA who are so foolhearty in their ways for this small segment of the population truly affected other than their lack of electricity should have been assisted by great numbers of US troops from set up to respond immediately for we all knew this storm would strike days – yes, days in advance….

Washington in its decitful ways all conducted in witness by the Lord, you will Not survive this ongoing determination to undermine our values and ol’ Glory and proud American people, the most charitable people ever….You have been exposed and full “Congressional Hearings” will provide the detaails to castrate your ill intentions towards our nation. This bias, this divisiveness and this reference to 47% and your empty rhetorical orations and lesss than genuine display for the tainted media, your problems are just beginning…for to be so deceitful in such ways, God wrath will be far greater than anything Mother Nature will ever throw at your scoundrels….Frank Marshall, Said, this “Rev Wright-Obama pulpit” Bill Ayers, your intent to allow these “Brutes of Tehran” their WMD with all your empty rhetoric for your hate for the “Zionists” as your Rev Wright has been so clear and you, the WH so condescending to the Israeli and tjeir astute PM…how dare you? “Benghazi” will be your demise and your head has now popped up and more and more see the worthless value you hold for America as you have managed to bring the national deficit from $10.6 trillion to $16.3 trillion and soon over $20 trillion and breaking the arsenal of strength necessary to protect Liberty and the Democarcy we offer, your incompetencies will serve us well as we bring you before the court and prosecute you Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton for your intentional travesty and you shall be held for criminal intent – enough is enough!

People are dying in their homes in the cold these past days…where is the US military and I mean in great numbers, not these few national guardsmen….

The climatological atmosphere will churn many more normal, yet significant nor;easters up the eastern seaboard this winter as we saw in the 1950’s and 1960’s as the Pacific ocean is cooler and the Atlantic is warmer, a phenomenon which is cyclical, not at all having to do with Global warming…and by the way Al Gore, while you, too have made a personal fortune off your empty talk of global warming where others before you, scientists made such claims long before you, global warming has nothing to do with the hurricane/nor’easter that struck the coast, however the tsunami from the full “Benghazi Congressional Hearing’ will finally rid us of Barry Obama-Hillary Clinton-good’ ol Leon who sat like the others and watched our Ambassador and three brave Americans die…and many more like the CIA director who as an honest man in his unform has resigned his post for he will not lie when he eventually speaks to the American people – He is far too honored as a US soldier and love for his America, despite his own weakness and dysfunction as a man and this articulate Lt. Colonel who with her seductive ways should have know better to bring such demise to this honored soldier and the four stars that represent such inetgrity, such honor in service to our beloved Republic!

To those we Respect in the highest esteem at the NSA, keep a close sounding on the -whispers – of Barry Obama to his “KGB Putinites” for many Americans consider Barry Obama and his continued displays of outright dereogatory in disrespect for our Judeo-Christian values and our now tattered Constitution, a dangerous individual and while as lawful citizens in all respects, We here on ‘main Street USA” must rely on our Judicial process, our Congressional Hearing and you at NSA to assure us that our nuclear arsenal is kept in check and our arsenal in weapons and our arsenal in sepakingthe truth is held dear to our Republic for we cannot afford to weaken our position in soace exploration, in advancements which will hold fast our nation against the many who seek our demise and those from within such as Barry Obama nd his pledge to Hussein Obama and these Marxists and socialist mentors such as the Rev Wright and this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington Expresss” who watch in real time our soldier die and an Ambassador sodomized and dragged in the streets…

Through our judicial system, Barry and Hillary who I place under “Citizen’s Arrest” for suspicion of breach in trust, treason in their intentionally turning down request after request in Benghazi to protect this lock and key US Embassy….the real truth of how you compromised our national security will become so evident and you shall be punished accordingly by the law as you so easily dismissed your pledge in oath to our nation and people!

God Bless the Ambassador and these three brave Patriots! Let us assure all other US soldiers and US interests that You will be protected for as Citizens of the US, We, too have pledge to the Constitution and in our love for our Republic to stand and assure you that you will have whatever you men and women who serve us proudly have to protect yourselves and our Judeo-Christian values –

God Bless ol’ Glory! Far too many have given their Life or limb to assure our Liberty and We will No longer permit this pledge by Barry Obama and Hillary Clinto so willing to – prostitute – herself in willing compromise of her own integrity towards this administration which is so contrary to the values of America!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

Comment by Philip J. Palin

November 11, 2012 @ 7:51 am

Bill, Most of the supply chain is back up and food, water, pharma are accessible. There will be pockets of inconvenient access (e.g. a big grocery store in Queens has been washed out), but supply itself is not a problem and distribution of food, water, pharma can resume largely status-quo-ante if electricity is available. It seems to me that in most places the VOADs, other community-based organizations and individual initiative are filling most food, water, pharma gaps.

There is a subscription service for SITREPS. It can be accessed at: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSFEMA/subscriber/new?topic_id=USDHSFEMA_432

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 11, 2012 @ 9:12 am

Thanks Phil and hoping you are correct!

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 12, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

I subscribed to your link Phil but apparently just some kind of periodic news releases not a SITRERP and certainly not daily.

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 14, 2012 @ 9:56 am

Resignation of head of LIPA indicates that entity sorely prepared for even this CAT I storm.

But since I believe that LIPA is a regulated PUBLIC UTILITY perhaps LIPA sought preparedness funding and were turned down by the State Public Utility Commission or whatever or whomever their regulator. Of course I would blame all Governors of NY STATE that failed to ensure public utilities as critical infrastructure were well prepared for Mother Nature and of course even terrorist attack.
So Governor Cuomo start by looking in the mirror for accountability.

And of course the federal regulatory entity known as FERC not know for its preparedness leadership.

As to off-site safety at nuclear power plants regulated since 1980 by joint FEMA-NRC NUREG 0654 and its supplements since then should be noted that regulation now under public comment for its comprehensive revision. Look to FEMA Docket 2012-2006
if memory serves. Disclosure I have submitted several comments on that revision.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

November 14, 2012 @ 10:42 am

Bill, Good related piece in today’s NYT. That LIPA is a government owned utility taken over when a private sector utility failed in response to another storm adds several dimensions to the issue. See:

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November 29, 2012 @ 5:54 am

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