The reports with regard to Chevron's Drift River Terminal are conflicting.
On one hand, Chevron's press releases assure us that everything is safe. On the other hand, many agencies, like the watershed watch organization Cook Inletkeeper, have requested that Governor Palin declare an emergency at the Drift River Terminal, and that the oil be drawn-down. Homeland Security has also been petitioned to have the oil at the facilities drawn-down (see "Mt. ReDoubt Update: 3/28 @ 12:30 p.m).
What is one to believe?
These photos of the Drift River Oil Terminal were taken on March 23...nearly a week ago. They speak volumes. It should be noted that there have been at least thirteen significant eruptions since these photos were taken.
The first photo shows clearly that lahar deposits have topped the west dike in several locations, and water has entered the compound via an existing roadway. The second and third photos show the runway, the helipad, and adjacent service buildings. The entire area is covered by lahar deposits of at least one to two ft. The portent of the Drift River can be seen in the background.
Remember, there have been over thirteen significant eruptions since these photos were taken.
As an aside - one thing that weighs on many people's minds, which is talked of only in hushed tones, is the disposition for major disasters in Alaska to occur on Good Friday. The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on Good Friday in 1989, and the Anchorage earthquake happened on Good Friday in 1964. Good Friday is April 10th this year...just twelve days from now.
One need not be superstitious to conclude that something needs to be done.
(click on photos to enlarge)
- photos 1 & 2 by Game McGimsey courtesy AVO/USGS
- photo 3 by Cyrus Read, courtesy AVO/USGS