October 16, 2016 at 8:48 pm #50141
Sadly, it’s information that the “bad guys” already had.October 17, 2016 at 2:56 am #50144
From the article:
“There are more than 200,000 miles (322,000 km) of oil lines and many times that of natural gas lines across the United States. Thousands of rural and often remote pumping and valve stations dot the country.
“The cost of posting armed guards at valve stations, usually found every 20 miles along the underground pipelines, would be prohibitive, said Dewar.
“For companies, there are few options to police the parts of their pipeline networks that sit above ground, such as the valve stations.
“The stations are usually protected by nothing more than the same flimsy chain link fence and padlocks elementary schools use to protect their playgrounds.”
It points out how vulnerable our pipelined supplies and utilities (water, oil, gas, sewer) are to saboteurs, domestic or foreign, political or “religious.”.
October 17, 2016 at 11:01 am #50146
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by L Tecolote.
Businesses choose to err on the side of either efficiency or control. In the case of our utility infrastructure they have chosen efficiency. Everything being interconnected is far more efficient than the days where a problem in one area can be readily contained and isolated. The downside (control) is that a problem in one area can quickly cascade into a far larger problem had the system not been so interconnected to squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of it. The article even notes that good security at the valve stations is too expensive and not practical. Terrorists thus can more readily exert control over the system at these stations where the utility doesn’t have physical control.
The other old business maxim is: Price, Quality, Service – Pick Two, meaning a successful business can be really good at any two of the the three but nobody can be the best at all three. For example quality and service cost money and so such a business would not be the low cost provider. In the case of utilities, they chose price and quality. The vast infrastructure is a wonder to behold and most of us spend a relatively small part of our income on energy. A focus on service would preclude the system being so vulnerable such as the article describes and a problem in one spot would not potentially cascade throughout the system.
Regretfully the public is not willing to pay what it would cost for the redundancy and security that would be required to make the system less vulnerable.October 17, 2016 at 6:09 pm #50148
Having actually worked extensively on Gas wells collection grids and processing plants, security is a joke no armed ones they are more interested in you not having personal safety violation than actual security. Even if you put military to cover it no way they could do more than cover one gas field and from any one you can cause a shutdown of any inter connected one, this has happened by accident before when cascading equipment failure. If you knew where and what to do you could with a few people effectively cripple whole gas grid in 10 min which would cause a shut down of the gas fired power plants which would collapse the grid wholesale. To make it worse most of the items you would need you could find on site of a pumping station. even when at the control center they would see it show up would take hour + to get an unarmed contractor to show up as you cant have a weapon while working on any gas site due to safety.
You could not cover the gas or oil collection grids as not enough people or choke points it would end up like TSA and air port security theater. You can if motivated in winter go over the swamp when frozen like the ice roads do no way to stop this on grids millions of square kmOctober 17, 2016 at 9:07 pm #50151
Regretfully the public is not willing to pay what it would cost for the redundancy and security that would be required to make the system less vulnerable.
That is also entirely applicable to the electric grid. A major EMP would be extremely expensive to protect against, particularly including acquisition and warehousing of spare transformers (the huge ones, not just the little “cans” on the sides of utility poles). It’s called “vulnerability.”October 17, 2016 at 9:42 pm #50153
No such thing as safe , and no such thing as secure . Time to get used to that .October 18, 2016 at 1:24 am #50155
No such thing as safe , and no such thing as secure . Time to get used to that .
It’s tough enough when any jerk with a bug up his attitude, can easily cause millions in damage and danger, if not death to hundreds of thousands of citizens. But we can handle and fix a few problems at a time. A well-coordinated attack could cause enough widespread havoc that permanent destruction of the electrical grid might not be necessary. Letting in unaccounted (and uncounted) strangers does bode well for our well-being or sovereignty. And a cadre of homegrown traitors could make the importation unnecessary, anyway.
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