Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline
An oil company responsible for the disastrous 2010 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska has been given permission to repair the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
The U.S. Department of Interior granted ExxonMobil Alaska LLC permission to work on the pipeline in the North Slope in a decision Monday. The company plans to make repairs for a distance of about 20 miles.
Oil from the damaged Trans-Alaska Pipeline began flowing through the damaged section Monday night, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. It’s not clear if the spill is small or if Exxon was able to plug the leak.
The massive oil spill in 2010 was the worst U.S. offshore oil spill to date, and a disaster that’s had a devastating effect on the local economy and environment. The U.S. and Canadian governments began cleaning up the oil on the Alaskan Peninsula, which is now the site of an archaeological park.
“It was a very dark morning on Dec. 4, 2010. We never expected to see this many ships, this many oil vessels in the [Alaskan] Basin,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “The clean-up of this spill should not be viewed as a simple oil spill, it should be viewed as an archeological and environmental treasure of the state of Alaska. That is our motivation.”
An estimated 1 million gallons of crude oil leaked out of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, or about half of Exxon’s capacity, according to government estimates.
“I cannot believe that we were just given permission to work and have the ability to come in and fix this,” said Exxon spokesman Steve Rinehart in a statement. “It is unfortunate that they have to wait until the oil from the pipeline is actually flowing out of the pipe system before they can work with a few small repairs.”
The oil spilled from the pipeline, a pipeline that for the past 22 years has transported natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska to Valdez, which is the capital of Alaska.
In a decision issued Monday, the Department of the Interior granted ExxonMobil Alaska LLC permission to begin repairing the oil spill, which was reported in July 2010.
The decision was made by the Interior’s Office