Alyeska promises to do better job of keeping state informed

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. officials this week promised to do a better job of keeping state environmental officials informed about their efforts to improve on pipeline leak responses.

The promise was made to Department of Environmental Conservation officials at a meeting between the two organizations.

DEC officials had complained that in the past year Alyeska had been slow in responding to previously agreed upon concerns about pipeline leaks. Alyeska said the problem was one of miscommunication.

The meeting appears to have warmed relations, with Alyeska promising to send an internal, upper-management report to DEC by next week.

''This was a fairly major thing for a company to do,'' said Ed Meggert, DEC spill response manager. ''That made me think they were serious.''

Concerns rose after an incident in October 2001 when a Livengood man allegedly shot the trans-Alaska pipeline, causing a 235,000-gallon crude oil spill before the hole was plugged.

It took Alyeska 36 hours to plug the hole and stop the crude spill.

Alyeska, federal and state officials met to compile a list of things to improve on, including using new clamps, and better leak detection and firefighting methods, among other things.

Meggert and another DEC official, Bonnie Friedman, wanted to see a schedule with dates of completion from Alyeska. Meggert was ready to force Alyeska to sign on to a schedule of DEC's making.

If not, Alyeska would face a compliance order, a judge-signed document compelling the company to agree to the DEC schedule.

Alyeska officials told Meggert they had their own schedule and would pass that along with the report.

Meggert said he will reserve judgment on Alyeska's progress until he reviews the promised report.

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