Giant tanks of explosive fuel...coming soon to a harbor near you

The photo below shows what is in store if Yukon Fuels goes ahead with its plan to site a massive tank farm in our community. The plan calls for this facility to consist of six tanks totaling 28 million gallons of aviation fuel and diesel. This fuel would be purchased on the international market and stored in Seward before being shipped out by barge, rail and possibly truck. Each tank would be 80 feet tall—twice as tall as the big Shoreside tank north of the harbor. Each tank will hold nearly 5 million gallons of fuel.

To put this in perspective, the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil and covered 1500 miles of coastline with crude oil. This tank farm will stockpile nearly three times that amount of flammable explosive refined fuel.

The tank farm would be located just north of the harbor between the airport and the Seward Highway. A pipeline would carry the fuel to the piers near where the coal terminal is to load the fuel on barges.According to Yukon, the stockpile would see a turnover about 2-2.5 times a year. Thats nearly 70 million gallons of fuel a year moving in and out of Seward by rail, barge and truck.

According to a Yukon fuels representative the city should not worry about the safety of this facility. In the event of a tsunami or earthquake. “You’ll have bigger fish to fry”, he said. Bigger than dumping 28,000,000 gallons of flammable toxic fuel into the head of the bay and the harbor?

The facility would be required by EPA and DEC to use the best technology available to maintain air quality, spill containment and other potential harmful effects to health and safety. Who will monitor this process to ensure compliance?














What can be done to stop this project? The land where the project is proposed is owned by the Alaska Railroad. The railroad would lease the land to Yukon Fuel. A representative from the railroad says it will take comments from the public and may listen if there are negative comments. Apparently as long as the project is not“unsafe, illegal or immoral” they are obligated to lease. This project is extreamly unsafe. In conversation with EPA and Corps of Engineers it seems it is entirely possible that this enormous facility may be constructed with no public input at all on the details of the design. We do have the opportunity now, while the economics for the project are not right to tell them this is not right for this town. There will be precious little payback for the massive intrusion into our quality of life. According to the city manager, this facility will employ 10-12 people. It will impact every citizen on a daily basis, often in negative ways. Why court disaster for so little return?

Call, write or e-mail theAlaska Railroad Corporation, city council, city manager and Yukon Fuels. All of these people need to know the extent of the opposition to this project. Go to the Address Book section of this site for addresses

Points to consider in your communication:

  • Locating 28 million gallons of flammable fuel in a tsunami zone is irresponsible and reckless
  • The close proximity of the facility to homes,schools the airport, cruise ship terminal and the harbor is unacceptable.
  • While not technically on wetlands the tanks are very close to salmon spawning streams at the head of the bay.
  • No matter which way the windblown we’ll all be downwind from potential releases of toxic benzene.
  • The city does not have the capability to deal with a fire, explosion, massive spill or damage from an earthquake or tsunami.
  • One disgruntled individual with a gun shut down the pipeline and caused great damage. A similar incident here could result in many causalities.
  • If the markets for fuel change, will we be left with a toxic white elephant?
  • Precaution is best the face of a known reasonable risk—this facility is best sited farther away from a city and out of the tsunami zone. Seward is not the place for this project.