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“A 66-foot drop?”

Jordan Cove booster Keith Comstock keeps spreading cheer about his favorite hazardous industry. Now he tells us to quit fretting because when the offshore earthquake hits we’ll all be toast anyway, but not Jordan Cove, because its “LNG storage tank ... is engineered to withstand such an earthquake and will be at least of 2 miles and more away.” True, since he lives in Myrtle Point!

He also claims that major earthquakes have hit here “on average about every 500 years,” and the last one, in 1700, “... with land dropping an estimated 66 feet.”

But in 2012 OSU scientists documented that the past 10,000 years have seen 41 major offshore earthquakes. If Comstock had calculated their intervals, he would know the next one is overdue. 10,000 years divided by 41 quakes = one quake every 244 years, on average.

Frankly, I was unaware of Comstock’s claim that the 1700 quake saw land dropping 66 feet. But he himself seems unaware that IF the land drops 66 feet again, Jordan Cove will be in serious trouble. They plan to raise the ground under their LNG production equipment to +46 feet, and also to build a dike +60 feet high around its twin LNG storage tanks. (I assume the “+” signs indicate “above mean high water”.) So when the tide comes in and the land is suddenly 66 feet lower, only the tops of the LNG storage tanks and some of the equipment will be above water. But they will be covered soon enough, by the tsunami’s arrival 10 minutes after the earthquake ends.

Jordan Cove also has a unique, untried plan for an LNG tanker that’s being loaded when the earthquake strikes. They will quickly unmoor the ship, and when the tsunami arrives, 3 or 4 tugboats will control it. But if the land has dropped 66 feet, the moorage bollards will have dropped with it, so it’s hard to see how anybody could unmoor that LNG carrier without dying – if they are not dead already. That leaves 3 possibilities:

#1: The ship will pull the bollards out of the dock;

#2: The moorage lines will break; or

#3: The ship will be pulled over and capsize.

None of these scenarios sound prudent or safe, nor does the notion of a few tugboats controlling a 950-foot ship during a tsunami.

Is this really what Keith meant?

Wim de Vriend

Coos Bay

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