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Thread: Cheney Orders Rural Electric Crews To Work On Oil Pipeline From Texas

  1. #1
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    Cheney Orders Rural Electric Crews To Work On Oil Pipeline From Texas

    Cheney orders rural electric crews to work on oil pipeline from Texas

    http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_articl...?storyid=40633

    Created: 9/10/2005 12:00:00 AM
    Updated:9/11/2005 11:36:12 AM

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

    That order -- to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. -- delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.

    "I considered it a presidential directive to get those pipelines operating," said Jim Compton, general manager of the South Mississippi Electric Power Association _ which distributes power that rural electric cooperatives sell to consumers and businesses.

    "I reluctantly agreed to pull half our transmission line crews off other projects and made getting the transmission lines to the Collins substations a priority," Compton said. "Our people were told to work until it was done.

    "They did it in 16 hours, and I consider the effort unprecedented."

    Katrina slammed into South Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29, causing widespread devastation and plunging most of the area -- including regional medical centers and rural hospitals -- into darkness.

    The storm also knocked out two power substations in Collins, just north of Hattiesburg. The substations were crucial to Atlanta-based Colonial Pipeline, which moves gasoline and diesel fuel from Texas, through Louisiana and Mississippi and up to the Northeast.

    "We were led to believe a national emergency was created when the pipelines were shut down," Compton said.

    White House call
    Southern Pines Manager Dan Jordan said Vice President Dick Cheney's office called and left voice mails twice shortly after the storm struck, saying the Collins substations needed power restored immediately.

    Jordan dated the first call the night of Aug. 30 and the second call the morning of Aug. 31.

    Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Mike Callahan said the U.S. Department of Energy called him on Aug. 31. Callahan said department officials said opening the fuel line was a national priority.

    Cheney's office referred calls about the pipeline to the Department of Homeland Security. Calls there were referred to Kirk Whitworth, who would not take a telephone message and required questions in the form of an e-mail.

    Susan Castiglione, senior manager of corporate and public affairs with Colonial Pipeline, did not return phone calls.

    Compton said workers who were trying to restore substations that power two rural hospitals -- Stone County Hospital in Wiggins and George County Hospital in Lucedale -- worked instead on the Colonial Pipeline project.

    The move caused power to be restored at least 24 hours later than planned.

    Mindy Osborn, emergency room coordinator at Stone County Hospital, said the power was not restored until six days after the storm on Sept. 4. She didn't have the number of patients who were hospitalized during the week after the storm.

    "Oh, yes, 24 hours earlier would have been a help," said Osborn, who declined to comment on the work to restore the pipeline.

    Compton said workers who were trying to restore power to some rural water systems also were taken off their jobs and placed on the Colonial Pipeline project. Compton did not name specific water systems affected.

    Callahan's visit
    Callahan is one of three elected public service commissioners who oversee most public utilities in the state. Commissioners, however, have no authority over rural electric power cooperatives.

    Nevertheless, Callahan said he drove to Compton's office on U.S. 49 North in Hattiesburg to tell him about the call from the Department of Energy. Callahan said he would support whatever decision Compton made.

    Callahan said energy officials told him gasoline and diesel fuel needed to flow through the pipeline to avert a national crisis from the inability to meet fuel needs in the Northeast.

    Callahan said he feared supplying power to the Colonial Pipeline could have endangered the entire rural electric system that had been repaired so far -- including power to Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg.

    With Forrest General Hospital operating on generators, Wesley was the only hospital operating with full electric power in the Pine Belt in the days following Katrina.

    "Our concern was that if Wesley went down, it would be a national crisis for Mississippi," Callahan said. "We knew it would take three to four days to get Forrest General Hospital's power restored and we did not want to lose Wesley."

    Compton, though, followed the White House's directive.

    Nathan Brown, manager of power supply for the electric association, was responsible for overseeing the delicate operation of starting the 5,000 horse power pumps at the pipeline.

    Engineers with Southern Co., the parent company of Mississippi Power Co., did a dual analysis of what it would take to restore power and Brown worked with Southern Co. engineers on the best and quickest way to restore power.

    Work began at 10 a.m. Sept. 1 and power was restored at 2 a.m. Sept. 2 _ a 16-hour job.

    Night work
    A good bit of the work took place at night.

    Line foreman Matt Ready was in charge of one of the teams that worked to power the substations and the pipeline. Ready's shift started at 6 a.m. Sept. 1; he received word about the job four hours later and saw it to completion.

    "We were told to stay with it until we got power restored," Ready said. "We had real safety issues because there were fires in the trees on the lines and broken power poles."

    Ready described working on the lines in the dark like attempting to clear fallen trees out of a yard with a flashlight and a chain saw.

    "Everything was dangerous," he said.

    Ready said the crew members did not learn they were restoring power to pipelines until after the job was done.

    How did they feel about that?

    "Is this on the record?" Ready asked. "Well, then, we are all glad we were able to help out."

    Compton said he was happy to support the national effort. But he said it was a difficult decision to make because of the potential impact in the region had the plan not worked and the area's power restoration was set back days.

    "It was my decision to balance what was most important to people in South Mississippi with this all-of-a-sudden national crisis of not enough gas or diesel fuel," Compton said.

    "In the future, the federal government needs to give us guidelines if this is such a national emergency so that I can work that in my plans."

    By NIKKI DAVIS MAUTE, Hattiesburg (Miss.) American
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    nothing wrong with that

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilosophyGenius
    nothing wrong with that
    Nothing wrong with diverting crews from restoring power to two hospitals to fix an oilline? Remind you of securing the oil fields in Iraq before anything else?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    People need there power Mr. Gold

  5. #5
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    people need there oil Mr. Gold

  6. #6
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    people won't die from not getting their oil. I can't think of anything that would kill us by not getting our oil... For 24 hours.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #7
    princesskittypoo Guest
    from what i heard forrest general's generators failed at one time. i'm wondering if any patients were on ventilators or those blood machines that needed to have that power first before the oil companies got saved.
    for some reason i knew the oil would be more a priority than human life.

  8. #8
    princesskittypoo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilosophyGenius
    people need there oil Mr. Gold
    there is something wrong with that. i know people in hattiesburg.

  9. #9
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    there's water everywhere

  10. #10
    princesskittypoo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilosophyGenius
    there's water everywhere
    what does that mean?

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