Houston-area and Gulf Coast oil refineries and pipelines have heightened their security this week in response to an FBI warning that al-Qaida may be planning terrorist activities here in a bid to influence the presidential election.
Plant officials in the Houston region, home to four of the nation's 10 largest refining facilities, said Thursday they are taking appropriate measures in response to the FBI advisory that oil refineries in Texas may be targeted for terrorist attacks, the Associated Press reported.
Government officials are meeting with industry representatives in Washington today to discuss tighter security precautions
"The FBI has received uncorroborated information that al-Qaida plans to blow up oil pipelines and refineries in Texas in an effort to affect the outcome of the presidential election," Rick Hagar, a spokesman for the East Harris County Manufacturers Association, a group that represents 125 area petrochemical facilities near the Houston Ship Channel, told the AP.
Bob Doguim, an FBI Houston office spokesman, told The Baytown Sun that the alleged threat came from a single source and it could take place sometime between now and the election.
Doguim said the agency's Houston office has been meeting with local law enforcement agencies and oil refineries.
But Bill Carter, FBI spokesman in Washington, emphasized that the information on Texas is in the same category as an estimated 7,000 alerts sent from the FBI to state and local authorities in the past year, according to AP.
"We are giving out information that there is a potential threat to oil and gas and pipelines," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, chief of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council. [...]
TEXAS CITY â€” A furnace at the BP Refinery in Texas City burst into flames Tuesday night. No injuries or deaths were reported in the blaze that lit up the Gulf Coast sky.
Bruce Clawson, the cityâ€™s emergency management director, said the furnace exploded around 6:30 p.m. He said the fire was fueled by Naptha, a petroleum feed stock used at the refinery. He said that after two head counts, BP had accounted for all its personnel.
The city was placed under Level 4 alert and a shelter in place warning and roads leading to the plant were blocked. The shelter in place warning and roadblocks were lifted by 9 p.m.
The Industrial Mutual Aid System was implemented around 7 p.m. Under that system industrial and public firefighters are called upon for assistance.
"Every piece of fire fighting equipment in the area is here right now," Clawson said at around 8:45 p.m.
BP spokesman Annie Smith confirmed that all workers had been accounted for and that no injuries were reported.
Marti Snyder, another BP spokesman said that as of 10:30 p.m. the fire was "pretty much under control" and close to out. She said an investigation team will begin its work today to find the cause of the blast and fire.
Regulatory agencies will also conduct investigations.
The situation was downgraded to a Level 1 around 10:45 p.m.
After recent reports that refineries in this area might be targeted by terrorists, Clawson said there was some concern. However, he said that at this time there is no evidence of that.
"That was one of our first concerns," Clawson said. "But there is no indication of that, none at all."
Residents in the city were a bit on edge when the incident first took place. [...]
Of course, there's no necessity for there to be a connection, it could very well be a coincidence, but the timing seems suspicious.
The problem is, if the FBI or Homeland Security was to find out that the explosion was a terrorist attack, would the Bush administration allow them to tell the public? All in all, wouldn't it be best for Bush to keep our fear of attack very high, while suppressing reports of any actual attacks whenever possible, because a successful attack would look very bad for their efforts at preventing terrorism, while continuing fear of attack encourages people not to make any change in the government.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.