“The Navy proposes to relocate portions of the 60-year-old pipeline along the Rosecrans traffic corridor in Point Loma,” said Gilhooly. “This does not make economic or operational sense. It will cause gridlock and catastrophic risks … all against a background of constructing in earthquake country.”
In May, Capt. Howard Warner, who assumed command of Naval Base Point Loma in August of 2014, spoke at a Point Loma Association (PLA) dinner of “inheriting” the Miramar Pipeline project. He noted the project calls for relocating an approximately 4.5-mile section of pipeline in Point Loma away from the coast and into the right-of-way on Rosecrans Street.
The original 17.3-mile pipeline, built in 1954 with a 30-year designed life, provides fuel for Navy ships and aircraft.
The base commander said the Navy is signing off on a final environmental assessment for the pipeline project after determining it would have no significant environmental impacts. He added the City Council is expected to decide on pipeline relocation before year’s end, with construction expected to start in January of 2016.
“It’s the right thing to do to guarantee the long-term safety of the pipeline,” Warner said.
The project is anticipated to have a two-year timeline, finishing sometime during 2016-17, Warner said.
It is the contention of Gilhooly, who said he is an engineer with 40 years’ experience with pipelines, that the Navy is “applying a Band-Aid fix” while “cherry-picking” areas of the pipeline to repair.
Gilhooly said he would handle the situation differently arguing that “the construction will cause nothing but traffic gridlock and won’t solve the problem.”
Gilhooly claims there are numerous sections of the pipeline where its walls are too thin and may not be able to withstand the 800 pounds per square inch of pressure forcing fuel through the line.
“I’ve asked them (Navy) repeatedly for a map of the 17 miles showing where the defects are,” he said. “They refuse.”
If the decision were up to him, Gilhooly said he wouldn’t “piecemeal” the pipeline project.
“I’d (replace) the whole 17 miles,” he said, adding, that in his view, the weakness in the Navy’s argument is that they “only require an inspection of the pipeline every five years.”
Gilhooly added, “That’s ridiculous on a 60-year-old pipeline when the standard is, on a national basis, that you do an inspection annually.”
Gilhooly added he’d also like to see a full-blown EIR done on the project. He insists the scope of the project — and the magnitude of disruption relocating the pipeline will cause to traffic in Point Loma — warrants a deeper look into its conceivable environmental consequences.