- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
As part of the agreement, Plains, based in Houston, must take steps to replace or install corrosion control equipment, perform pipeline inspections, assess the integrity of newly acquired pipelines, improve leak detection practices and capabilities, and provide proper training for personnel. In addition, the company must ensure that all breakout tanks used to replace or substitute existing tanks that relieve pipeline surges have adequate capacity to contain such surges and are properly located within secondary containment.
"In the last year alone, transportation pipelines released more than two million gallons of oil into the environment, posing a serious threat to human health and natural habitats," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These spills - and the recent pipeline spill in the Kalamazoo River - remind us that we must be diligent in our enforcement efforts and work to ensure that companies are meeting their environmental obligations."
Between June 2004 and September 2007, more than 273,000 barrels of crude oil were discharged from various pipelines and one tank owned and operated by the company, some of which entered navigable waters or adjoining shorelines, according to DOJ documents. The 10 spills ranged in size from 2.5 barrels to 4,500 barrels and most were caused by pipeline corrosion.
According to recent pipeline spill reports, in the last year, more than 50,000 barrels (2.1 million gallons) of oil spilled from transportation pipelines across the nation.
The consent decree, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
More information on the settlement is available at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/plainspipeline.html.
SOURCE: EPA Press Release, DOJ online court documents