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January 26, 2005

Energy Security

The little-noted vulnerability to terrorism of Cascadia’s energy systems—and solutions to this problem—is a theme of Cascadia Scorecard 2005, which we’ll release in a month.

We can't yet reveal what we say in the book, but this week has brought three news items that provide hints:

1. The FBI reports that “jihadists” trained in Afghan terrorist training camps are living in Oregon, according to the Seattle Times.

2. California’s attorney general has petitioned the US government to tighten security at nuclear power plants, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Cascadia’s sole operating power reactor is on the Hanford Reservation in Washington.)

3. Proposals to build liquefied natural gas terminals on Cascadia’s coast, as on other North American coasts, are raising fierce opposition because of their vulnerability to attack. Rare LNG leaks are potentially explosive on a massive scale, as the San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer report. (On the other hand, natural gas is a better alternative than coal or oil, and North American supplies are waning. So importing the fuel from abroad, on LNG tankers, has some tremendous up sides.)

Fortunately, the region's energy vulnerability is a problem whose solution unleashes a torrent of benefits.

Posted by Alan Durning | Permalink

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