Below is a letter I sent to my representatives and to the Governor to propose a change to the Whittier tunnel regulations. Please feel free to plagiarize my letter and send your own letter and/or email. I think if we get enough folks to write, we can change this ridiculous regulation.
December 31, 2008
Senator Charlie Huggins
State Capital Building
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
The reason for this letter is to bring to your attention an issue concerning the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (Whittier Tunnel) regulations. Specifically:
17 AAC 38.035. Prohibitions: (Chapter 38, Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel), Section 35(b)(5):
(5) a vehicle transporting gasoline in a portable container not marked as approved for that purpose by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or in one or more UL-approved portable containers having a total combined capacity greater than 12 gallons;
I am proposing placing a period after “(UL)” and deleting the rest of the paragraph to read as such:
(5) a vehicle transporting gasoline in a portable container not marked as approved for that purpose by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Purpose for Change:
Many of us that use North West Prince William Sound for both recreation and commercial charter business feel that the 12 gallon restriction is unwarranted, promotes unsafe transportation of fuel in un-approved containers and creates a monopoly for Whittier base fuel by Shoreside Petroleum Inc. They charge as much as $1.25 a gallon more for fuel than what I can get in Anchorage or as close as Bird Creek. The restriction makes no sense.
Safety: There will be some that will argue that the restriction is due to safety reasons. This is an invalid argument. I store over 80 gallons of fuel in my riverboat tank. I have transverse to tunnel many times safely and without incident. As my fuel tank is part of the boat it is allowed. When I go to PWS if I need additional fuel I have to either load my boat and go to Bird Creek (with additional costs for tunnel fees) or I am forced to buy from the only fuel source in Whittier, which is at a substantial higher cost.
If I have approved UL containers then they should be considered safe for transport through the tunnel. They are considered safe any where else in the country.
Threat of Terrorism:
This is also an invalid argument. If I am allowed to legally take a boat loaded with 80 gallons of gasoline pulled by a truck with 42 gallons of diesel fuel through the tunnel, how is restricting the amount of containers to 12 gallons going to stop a terrorist attack? Could I not just blow-up my truck and/or my boat load with fuel while in the tunnel? Common sense would dictate that restricting the containers to just 12 gallons has in no way any relationship with terrorism or safety.
I am proposing changing this regulation eliminating the 12 gallon restriction to be effective spring of 2009. It will allow competition because there will no longer be a monopoly hold by Shoreside Petroleum Inc in Whittier. Plus it just makes common sense.
Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, please contact me.
CC: Governor Sara Palin
Representative Mark Neuman