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Crimson Pipeline defends track record after Ventura release

Company tied to the release of about 700 barrels of oil from a California pump station.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Crimson Pipeline defends track record after Ventura release
About 700 barrels of oil spilled in California. A review of federal records finds Crimson Pipeline, the company behind the spill, has a 10-year track record of releases. Photo courtesy of Ventura County Fire Capt. Mike Lindbery ‏@VCFD_PIO

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 1 (UPI) -- The company behind an oil release in California defended its public record, saying its reputation was the target of a smear campaign.

About 700 barrels of oil was released last week from a pump station in Ventura, Calif., operated by Crimson Pipeline. The release migrated about a half mile through an area canyon and associated waters before it was stopped at an area catch basin. Flow outside the immediate area was residual.

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A review of federal records published by the Los Angeles Times at the time of the spill found Crimson reported 10 spills resulting in more than $5.8 million in damage in the past 10 years. Since 2006, the company was tied to the release of about 7,500 barrels of hazardous liquids, the report said.

The company said the $5.8 million figure cited references everything from food for the response teams involved to the actual recovery efforts. Of the estimated 7,500 barrels reported, the company said about 90 percent of that was contained to the immediate area of release.

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"Crimson's impeccable safety record is something to be praised -- any other characterization of Crimson's successful history is simply fiction," the company said in an emailed statement.

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Some media outlets report spill volumes in gallons, which may be more alarming to the public given the conversion factors. The Times reported the spill volume as both barrels, around 700, and in gallons, about 29,400, which is equivalent to an average residential below-ground swimming pool.

In terms of the response, Crimson said it was working alongside federal, state and local authorities on cleanup and monitoring operations following the June 23 release. At the time of the release, city authorities said the impact to the surrounding environment was minimized.

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An area creek was soiled by the release from residual migration from the pump station.

The release in Ventura came roughly one year after 3,000 barrels of oil were released on Refugio State Beach and along the California coast in one of the worst spills of its kind for the state in decades.

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