Alaska Governor talks with Secretary Mineta about oil spill response

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta contacted Gov. Frank H. Murkowski on Thursday expressing his concern over the crude oil spill on the North Slope, it was reported Friday. The 267,000-gallon spill is the largest ever for the 800-mile TransAlaska Pipeline System and documents were revealed regarding BP's prior knowledge of corrosion problems in the pipeline that could have prevented it...

JUNEAU, AK, March 20, 2006 -- U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta contacted Gov. Frank H. Murkowski on Thursday expressing his concern over the crude oil spill on the North Slope, it was reported Friday.

The Governor assured the Secretary that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation continues to monitor the cleanup and work with the Environmental Protection Agency in conformance with all applicable regulations.

The Governor advised the Secretary that the Department of Environmental Conservation has an on-going oversight review process and regulatory changes have been initiated over the last 18 months.

It is now evident that the cause of the spill was attributed to corrosion of the gathering flow lines. Gathering lines are not subject to the consistent monitoring mandated on the 800-mile TransAlaska Pipeline System. As a consequence of the spill, gathering lines will be thoroughly examined for any corrosive deterioration.

Based on the preliminary findings by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a corrective action has been ordered mandating immediate corrective action as issued by Secretary Mineta.

For more information, see:
* USDOT News Briefings
* USDOT Office of Pipeline Safety
* Alaska Governor's Office

Also see:
-- "A Crude Warning: The largest oil spill in Alaska's North Slope raises sticky questions about future drilling in the Arctic" (TIME)
-- "Government steps in to prevent a worse oil spill" (Houston Chronicle)
-- "Oil spill on BP-operated pipeline in Alaska went undetected for days" (Associated Press)
-- "Company knew about corrosion in Alaska pipeline before spill" (Seattle Times)
-- "Alaska's North Slope Sees its Biggest Oil Spill" (Reuters)

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