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BP firm to pay $25m for Alaska spill

Associated Press / May 4, 2011

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ANCHORAGE — BP’s subsidiary in Alaska will pay a $25 million civil penalty under a settlement announced yesterday, five years after more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from company pipelines on the North Slope.

The penalty is the most ever levied per barrel by national regulators, and Karen Loeffler, the US attorney for Alaska, said it underlines the seriousness of BP’s conduct.

“This penalty should serve as a wake-up call to all pipeline operators that they will be held accountable for the safety of their operations and their compliance with the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the pipeline safety laws,’’ said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant US attorney, in a conference call with reporters.

Loeffler said from her office in Anchorage that BP Alaska admitted that it cut corners and failed to do what was required to adequately maintain its pipelines.

Steve Rinehart, BP Alaska spokesman, acknowledged in an e-mail the settlement terms, including an independent contractor to monitor operations at the vast Prudhoe Bay field.

A 2006 leak in a transit line, also called a feeder line, between a gathering center and a pump station for the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in March accounted for most of the oil spilled, about 212,000 gallons.

The settlement requires BP Alaska to develop a systemwide program to manage pipeline integrity for the company’s 1,600 miles of pipeline on the North Slope based on a government safety program.

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