Alyeska settles with state over 1996 oil leak

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2000

ANCHORAGE - Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. has reached a settlement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation over a 1996 oil leak along the trans-Alaska pipeline, Alyeska officials announced Wednesday.

The settlement, reached late Wednesday afternoon, calls for Alyeska to pay out $138,000 to the state's oil and hazardous substance release prevention fund within the next month, according to company spokesman Tim Woolston.

``This is not a fine but a negotiated settlement,'' he said.

Alyeska also agreed to pay for spill response training in 10 rural villages to be selected by DEC and Alyeska. The agency will have the final say on which villages are chosen, Woolston said.

Alyeska also will pay for three response caches containing spill equipment that will be available for spills on state highways, Woolston said.

DEC officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

The settlement comes nearly four years after a leak of 38,750 gallons of crude oil about 90 miles north of Glennallen. On April 20, 1996, an Alyeska crew discovered that a check valve in a buried section of the pipeline was discharging the oil.

The leak was traced to a faulty plug in a bypass line, Woolston said, adding that Alyeska subsequently examined all the other check valves. He said none were found to be leaking.

``This as an unfortunate incident and we're sorry that it happened, but we are confident it was an isolated event,'' Alyeska President Bob Malone said in a prepared statement.

The company was never formally cited, although the state notified Alyeska that the leak violated state statutes, Woolston said. ``The parties concluded it was in the public interest to resolve the matter in an amicable manner.''

Woolston said he didn't know why the parties took so long in negotiations.



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