Trans-Alaska Pipeline faces increasing threats from floods. Is there a long-term solution?

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company began planning for an emergency after heavy flooding in 2019, but some experts worry that it may be too little, too late.

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10/12/2021 4:15:00 PM

Trans-Alaska Pipeline faces increasing threats from floods. Is there a long-term solution? This article was published in partnership with Inside Climate News .

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company began planning for an emergency after heavy flooding in 2019, but some experts worry that it may be too little, too late.

” unleashed record temperatures into the 80s and 90s across Alaska.Then, in August, rain gauges registered 171 percent higher precipitation than the 30-year average when the downpours hit the headwaters of the Sagavanirktok. The usual rainfall total for the region is about 3 inches for the month; it more than doubled that fall in 2019.

The summer deluge fits the long-term pattern of increasing rain in the central and eastern regions of Alaska’s North Slope, which today get 15 percent to 35 percent more precipitation than they did in the early 1970s, accordingto records kept by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy

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In 9,999 of the last 10,000 surveys, 'climate change' ranked as utterly unimportant to the lives of normal people. But it's not West Virginia. Hopefully Alaskans fight harder to keep it. Thy should. They get a check every year. They will fight back the moonbats to keep that pipeline. Electric Cars cost less per per mile driven for electric fuel than OIL & Gas cars (non hybrid). With GM investing $35B between now and 2025 in Electric Cars the future of oil is not stable. BuildBackBetter If Manchin wants get in the way we run on it in 22

yes there is!!! dismantle it and switch Alaska to renewables 🤩 🌬 🌞 🌊 cleanenergy We another problem brewing south of the border with massive illegal immigration. Trans Alaskan pipeline at the beginning was only for 20 yrs. supposedly. As usual the oil companies pay off politicians.

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Netflix Suspended A Trans Employee After They Spoke Out About Dave Chappelle's Special'Some talent may ask us to remove the show which we are not going to do.' Such bait headlining. The employee was suspended for breaking into a meeting they were not allowed to be in Good suspend them

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astonishing intensity ” unleashed record temperatures into the 80s and 90s across Alaska. Then, in August, rain gauges registered 171 percent higher precipitation than the 30-year average when the downpours hit the headwaters of the Sagavanirktok. The usual rainfall total for the region is about 3 inches for the month; it more than doubled that fall in 2019. The summer deluge fits the long-term pattern of increasing rain in the central and eastern regions of Alaska’s North Slope, which today get 15 percent to 35 percent more precipitation than they did in the early 1970s, according to records kept by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Such downpours are increasingly being fueled by evaporative moisture from the warming of the Bering Sea, said Rick Thoman, an Alaska climate specialist with the climate assessment center. The added moisture in the atmosphere supercharges the traditional summer storms along the North Slope. “It’s important not just to look at how high the river got but consider the significance of the causative effect,” he said. “This was the result of approximately a single rainstorm.” In June 2020, Alyeska again found itself where it began in 2019: scrambling to protect a section of pipeline buried 10 feet deep when the Lowe River roared to life and flooded near Valdez, eroding a 100-foot buffer between the riverbank and the pipeline. The company brought in heavy machinery to place up to 2,000 cubic yards of riprap to fortify 300 feet of the eroded bank. A pipeline leading to a mooring station for oil tankers at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Marine Terminal in Valdez, Alaska, on Aug. 8, 2008. Lucas Jackson / Reuters file The fight prevented the Lowe River from washing out the pipeline, but it and other recent battles to hold back surging rivers reflect the increasing peril environmental activists say the pipeline is facing from floods. Stockpiling emergency material Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan declined to answer specific questions about floods that have threatened the pipeline or the organization’s overall flood mitigation plan. She said in a statement that the pipeline was constructed and maintained in consideration of Alaska’s “unique” environment and that Alyeska has an integrity management program that includes a team of engineers who specialize in monitoring rivers and flood plains. “The program monitors stream crossings and flood plains along the route of the pipeline,” Egan said. “Flow rates and water levels traditionally shift and vary. We collect, store and analyze data for trends to proactively protect the pipeline.” Over the years, Alyeska has taken additional measures to protect the pipeline from flooding by constructing simple earthen dams nearby or surrounding the pipe with wire cages filled with heavy rocks. But new climate threats are challenging the old design standards that have kept the pipeline safe for decades. Along with the certainty of more deluges, the floods in the last two years have led Alyeska to seek approval from the state to construct barriers to fortify vulnerable sections of the pipeline along its entire north-to-south route. Alyeska sought permission in May 2020 from the state Department of Natural Resources to stockpile 200,000 cubic yards of gravel, sand and rocks to be used to construct emergency barriers along a 67-mile section of the river above the Arctic Circle should it surge toward the pipeline again. The Brooks Range and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline as seen from Dalton Highway in Alaska. Getty Images In addition to emergency preparations, Alyeska has blueprints pending with the state to build three other large, permanent flood control measures on the Sag. Since 2019, Alyeska has sought permission to construct five flood control projects on the river. The projects in the past two years account for nearly half of all flood control projects on the Sag since 2000. In one proposal approved this year, the company sought to erect a spur dike 355 feet long by 170 feet wide, covering 1.4 acres, to deflect the river from the pipeline at a point 22 miles from its starting point in Prudhoe Bay. According to