Friday, March 12, 2010

Earthquakes and Tank Farms

There was a timely subject addressed at today's City Club Friday Forum.  The speaker was Scott Burns, Professor of Geology, Portland State University, and the talk entitled: Earthquakes in Oregon: Past, Present and Future.
I encourage everyone to listen to this fascinating discussion of earthquakes in our region.  

Specifically, I want to thank NW Neighbor and City Club Member, Isabel Sheridan, for raising the important question at the forum of the safety of the petroleum tank farms in the event of a large earthquake.  You may listen on line @ or listen to the rebroadcast tonight on OPB at 7pm - 8pm.  Isabel's question comes @ minute 41:39 - 44:12, as the first members' question after the speaker has finished his presentation (follows host's question).  She asks the following:

"In Portland there are 536 petroleum tanks with a 300 million plus gallon capacity and they are situated on fault lines, in an earthquake zone, fire zones, etc.  What government agency, for example DEQ, is exercising its jurisdiction to ensure that these facilities have addressed earthquake preparedness?"

Spoiler alert: after a very interesting explanation, Mr. Burns ends his answer with "We have a lot of work to do."

Thank you to Isabel for raising this important question at the forum.

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