Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline
The company responsible for an oil spill that polluted an Olympic beach for months has received approval to repair a line that may have been responsible for the mess.
Agency officials gave the go-ahead over the weekend to the company to attempt to repair a pipeline that leaked crude oil from a leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials said Friday that it would take about 90 days to determine whether the fix would work.
Workers from the pipeline’s repair contractor would be working on the line on the Louisiana shore, which has been closed since it was discovered Jan. 16. Officials have estimated that the spill has likely cost the local economy about $50 million and left hundreds of thousands of residents exposed to oil and other toxins.
“It’s still going to be a hard fight, but we are back from the dark,” Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who chairs a Senate committee that oversees oil and gas regulation, said in a Jan. 21 interview.
The state’s Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement Friday that it “is pleased to announce that Gulf Refining has received a permit for the replacement of the pipeline which has been damaged by Hurricane Ivan.”
Gulf Refining is a subsidiary of Houston-based Transocean Group, which is working with a contractor to restore the damaged oil pipeline. Vitter said the permit to do maintenance work on the line does not mean that the spill is being cleaned up or that it will not cause contamination in other places.
“This is just to fix the issue in that location,” he said.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a New Orleans Democrat and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the federal government should intervene.
“The Gulf Coast needs the most help at this point,” she said. “There are already reports that the U.S. is doing very little. We need to take action.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement Friday that the Justice Department is reviewing a request for a federal civil penalty from BP and that “we will review the decision to determine whether to seek enforcement action.”
In a separate statement, BP said the company is cooperating with officials at the federal