Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline
MICHEL MARTIN – The Santa Rosa Times News Service
Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM
SANTA ROSA — Officials on Thursday signed a contract with TransCanada Corp. to repair a section of their ruptured line carrying crude oil into a residential neighborhood of Santa Rosa before oil from the cleanup may flow onto the state’s coast.
Under the agreement, TransCanada will repair a pipeline leak at a former Marine Corps base that has become the largest oil spill since the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989.
The spill, which occurred May 2, 2012, was caused by a burst pipe in a tunnel that runs between the base and a residential subdivision about 4 miles south. A local nonprofit, the Coastkeeper Alliance, had sued the base for negligence and, in 2011, filed a federal lawsuit against TransCanada for negligence, among other counts.
“After the spill, we realized that the issue was going to be in the ocean,” said Coastkeeper President Greg Zeszutek in a brief interview Thursday before the contract was signed.
The contract details how much TransCanada will pay the Coastkeeper Alliance — about $7.4 million.
Among other things, the contract contains measures in addition to the routine repairs that Coastkeeper had asked for. Among those measures are the Coastkeeper Alliance’s pledge to set aside funds to clean the pipeline and to conduct an environmental study to quantify the risks of spills and leaks, which may include using a “molecular approach” to determine how to clean the pipeline.
The Coastkeeper Alliance is also required to hire an independent consultant to calculate the costs of cleanup and the potential economic benefits, including tourism revenue, tourism-related property damage and economic impact on local residents.
“This agreement is a great first step toward cleaning up the pipeline that brought this mess to our community,” said Coastkeeper Alliance President Greg Z