CA Pipeline Execs Charged in Spill

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 @ 05:01 PM gHale


Crimson Pipeline Management Inc., a California pipeline company, faces 61 criminal counts for a December 2010 oil spill in the Port of Los Angeles and failing to report the accident.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office said last week the 61-count complaint accuses Long Beach-based Crimson and its operators of unlawfully causing and allowing the spill that polluted the Dominguez Channel and Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington, prosecutors said.

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Investigators said they became aware of a pipeline breach when oil seeped into a channel during a storm late last year.

Authorities said they have recovered more than 1,000 gallons of crude oil and 290,000 gallons of contaminated wastewater.

Investigators gathered oil samples and identified a hydrocarbon “fingerprint” that determined it was consistent with the product shipped trough the “Youngstown Lateral” crude oil pipeline located along the Alameda Corridor right-of-way between Leeds Avenue and Alameda Street in Wilmington, prosecutors said.

The Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Coast Guard contained the oil, investigated and did the immediate cleanup.

The California Department of Fish and Game and the Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division discovered a gash in the pipeline casing, a protective piping that surrounds the oil pipeline, said Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office spokesman Frank Mateljan.

They wrapped the gash and pulled the pipe out of the ground in October, Mateljan said.

The EPA has since installed a system designed to capture oil that reaches the storm drain system during future storms, Mateljan said.

The initial months following the spill, the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority allocated up to $1.7 million to fund the initial cleanup and other expenses.

The criminal complaint lists the defendants as Crimson Pipeline Management, Inc.; Crimson Resource Management; Crimson Pipeline Loop; Crimson Energy, LLC; Crimson Midstream, LLC; Crimson Property Management, LLC; Larry Alexander, company president; Mike Romley, Crimson Pipeline operations manager Pipeline; and Tracy Wilkinson, a field supervisor.

If convicted of the crimes, the company officials could go to prison for up to 36 years, prosecutors said.

Crimson Pipeline officials were not immediately available for comment.



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