FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 17, 2016 9:52:39 AM PDT
Plains Marks One Year Since Accidental Crude Oil Release
On behalf of our more than 5,000 employees throughout North America, Plains sincerely regrets the accidental Line 901 release and the resulting impact it has had on the community, the environment and wildlife. We also want to recognize the hundreds of volunteers who worked to support the response and mitigate the effects of this accident.
Since the release, we have worked cooperatively and diligently as part of a Unified Command with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Calif. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and first responders to clean up the beaches and other affected areas. Our actions were consistent with our objective to do the right thing and do it as quickly and effectively as possible. At the height of Phase One of the response, the active clean-up, more than 1,400 personnel representing over 80 organizations including Plains were engaged in removing and remediating released oil from the affected water, soil and shoreline, and recovering and rehabilitating affected wildlife.
Following the re-opening of El Capitan State Beach on June 26, 2015 and Refugio State Beach on July 17, 2015, active clean-up efforts achieved Unified Command sign-off on August 31, 2015, 105 days following the incident. On January 22, Unified Command determined that the response met all Phase Two shoreline and beach clean-up goals and the response entered Phase Three, focused on monitoring the affected areas. To date, Plains has directly or indirectly expended more than $150 million on the response effort, cleanup and related matters.
The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process also began in the past year, guided by federal law and led by the Trustee Agencies, with cooperation from Plains. The Trustees are charged with quantifying injuries to natural resources and associated public uses resulting from the accident, and identifying and vetting possible restoration projects. The Trustees hosted a public meeting on January 20, and their efforts to quantify injuries and damages and engage the public under the NRDA process continues.
Plains has cooperated fully with governmental regulators and agencies investigating the accident, including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). We have worked to comply with PHMSA’s Corrective Action Order (CAO) and subsequent amendments, and to date, these efforts included the shutdown and purge of Line 901 and the Gaviota to Pentland portion of Line 903, as well as work to develop the Line 901 Remedial Work Plan for repairs to and additional integrity testing of that pipeline.
We are thankful for the efforts of all of the stakeholders engaged in this response during the past 12 months. Together, we have accomplished a great deal of work to clean up and restore the areas impacted by this unfortunate accidental release, and our work is not done. Unified Command will again conduct beach surveys in May to determine if Line 901 oil is present in the natural seep oils and tar balls washing up along the affected coastline. The NRDA will continue as required by law to identify and quantify injuries, identify and assess potential restoration projects, engage the public in the review process and finalize a restoration plan.
Plains will continue to complete the actions required by the CAO, including implementation of the Remedial Work Plan and development of a Restart Plan. There is currently no timeline for the restart of Line 901 or the purged portion of Line 903. The pipelines will not be restarted until Plains, PHMSA and other key stakeholders are confident that it is safe to do so.