BP To Settle Federal Lawsuit Over 2006 Spills for $25M

cross posted from KTUU.com

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that BP’s Alaska unit

A worker uses a rope mop to clean up oil in tundra grass from a leak from an oil transit line at the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska's North Slope on Aug. 10, 2006.

will pay $25 million in civil penalties to settle a federal lawsuit over 2006 crude oil spills from its North Slope pipelines.

Under the settlement, which also involves the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. also agreed to implement a pipeline integrity management program throughout its system.

The penalty for the March and August 2006 spills, estimated at more than 5,000 barrels, is the largest to date for a spill on a per-barrel basis.

“Today’s settlement with BP Alaska imposes a tough penalty and requires the company to take action to prevent future pipeline oil spills on the Alaska North Slope,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

BP Alaska’s March 2006 spill was estimated at about 5,054 barrels, while the August spill was about 24 barrels. Federal investigators determined that BP Alaska failed to properly inspect and maintain the pipeline to prevent corrosion, and violated the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos along the pipeline in the wake of the spill.

The pipeline management program required in the settlement will cost BP Alaska an estimated $60 million over three years, in addition to about $200 million the company has spent replacing the leaking North Slope pipelines.

Some $20.05 million of the penalty funds will be deposited in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund established under the Clean Water Act, which will be used to cover federal response to and pay compensation for future oil spills. The remaining $4.95 million will be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

In 2007, BP Alaska plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for the March 2006 spill, for which it was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $20 million criminal penalty.

Tuesday’s consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Posted in News.

One Comment

  1. My Comments regarding BP’s negligence in operating the Alaska Pipeline
    May 4th 2011
    I personally designed the Leak Prevention System used on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, if the system were hooked up, and it was operating, the Line Balance System, would have automatically detected the leak, and shutdown that portion of the pipeline that was leaking automatically?

    I have a second concern,, even greater then the leak BP had in the recent settlement reached with EPA for 25 million dollars! This is a very bad time to even consider what my next concern is all about, and how to remedy it. America needs all the oil we can produce on our soil at this time. There is a dire need that needs to be addressed immediately “the entire pipeline” needs to be shut down, and new pipe must be laid on the entire 800 miles of pipeline route. Because of the friction and abrasives flowing through the line with the oil, the existing line cannot be run safely under any circumstances, because the pipeline is wore out. The existing line was purchase from Japan, I had my doubts about the quality of the line in the first instance, and so did some of the Oil Companies who had it built. The present owners, and I assume BP is a large stock holder, knows the pipeline is worn out!

    To continue to operate such a line, and have the knowledge that the pipeline could burst at any time, is pure negligence, just like the recent incidence in the Gulf with the BP off shore oil well. It looks like BP is so irresponsible that they would take the gamble again, and think nothing of it! A good example is the settlement they just reached with EPA to pay 25 million dollars for their accident they had in Alaska on 6, 2006, spilling 212,000 gallons of oil in a lake in Alaska!

    Can you imagine if the 129 mile section of 48″inch pipe in the downhill segment of pipeline off the Brooks Range which runs in a packed line condition at all times, suddenly bursting, and dumping 1-1/2 million barrels of oil down and all over the brooks range!!! Clearly, this is an accident waiting to happen, and it will happen unless BP takes immediate action to correct the situation by replacing the 800 miles of pipe!

    If it does, can you imagine what effects this would have on all future development of oil or gas in Alaska? Tree huggers would have a field day, with this spill, and America will go down the drain with it.

    I would urge anyone in the regulatory authority and capacity, to officially give notice to BP, to shut down the line, immediately and make all the necessary repairs before all the other oil other producers, get a very bad rap, because of an off shore producer BP,! running their business in such a haphazardly manner! Who’s on third?

    You may contact me by phone at 570-971-2250, or by email rspmith662@verizon.net

    Sincerely, Ray Smith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.