Saturday, May 11, 2013

Perhaps TransCanada Would Have Been Better Off To Call Their Pipeline By Another Name, Any Name Other Than "XL"

Earlier a reader sent me a link to a great pipeline story: "Little Inch" and "Big Inch."

I will post a permanent link to this story somewhere on the sidebar at the right. Easily searchable using search engines.

According to the Texas State Historical Association:
The Big Inch and Little Big Inch were two pipelines laid during World War II from East Texas to the northeast states.

Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes realized as early as 1940 that shipment of petroleum to the northeast by tanker ships would be impossible in time of war because of German submarines.

In 1941, at Ickes's urging, oil industry executives began to plan the building of two pipelines–one, twenty-four inches in diameter, called the Big Inch, to transport crude oil, and another, twenty inches in diameter, called the Little Big Inch, to transport refined products. ....

....On June 10, 1942, the WPB gave approval for the first section of the Big Inch.....

A ditch four feet deep, three feet wide and 1,254 miles long was to be dug from Longview across the Mississippi River to Southern Illinois and then east to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, with twenty-inch lines from there to New York City and Philadelphia. Crude oil was delivered to the end of the first leg, Norris City, Illinois, on February 13, 1943.

By August 14, 1943, the Big Inch had been completed. In January 1943 approval was given for the first half of the Little Big Inch; approval for the entire line was given on April 2. This line, beginning in the refinery complex between Houston and Port Arthur and ending in Linden, New Jersey, was completed on March 2, 1944. Cost of the two lines was $146 million, financed entirely by the RFC. Together the pipelines carried over 350 million barrels of crude oil and refined products to the East Coast before the war in Europe ended in August 1945.
And that's why President Obama will never go down in history as an extraordinary president. His chapter on how he facilitated America's energy independence will consist of a title, one line, and a footnote.
The title: Energy Independence.

The one line: America became energy independent during the president's second term in office.

The footnote: According to the president's memoirs, this success story was entirely due to his efforts and those of Michelle's. The facts remain that the entire energy story was one of private enterprise during that time period. The only government involvement in energy resulted in the failure of no less than twenty solar energy companies through grants provided by the Department of Energy. After eight years, the president left office still studying the pros and cons of a Canadian pipeline, whose name is long lost in the coal bin of history.
What an incredible missed opportunity.

So, two things:

These two transcontinental pipelines were approved in June, 1942, and completed the next year, August, 1943.

A Note To The Granddaughters

I have three coming of age stories, none of which you will read here, but can find elsewhere.

The Summer of '42, when the pipeline above was being built, and ...

Music by Michael Legrand

Cruiser1834, in the comments, says it better than I could:
"There is a profound sadness when I listen to this piece of music. It reminds me of my youth, lots of carelessness, in taking things for granted, of loves lost, and an endless rush to do things...none of which, when I think of it, really the end.

I am leaving the 50s behind this year and am the sadder for it. But, the music also hints at hope...and, as Frost said it best, "I have miles to go before I sleep...".

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