U.S.: Chevron must keep pipeline closed

Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:57 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Oil giant Chevron Corp. may not reopen its troubled east-bench pipeline in Utah because it is unfit for life, property and the environment, a U.S. agency said.

"Other areas of this pipeline could experience" a leak similar to the Dec. 1 spill that spewed 500 barrels of crude oil at Red Butte Garden and Arboretum in the foothills of the Wasatch Range in Salt Lake City, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said.

During the past six months, 1,300 barrels have leaked from the same pipeline 100 yards apart.

After a June 11-12 spill, it took five months for Chevron to receive a violation notice, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The latest corrective action took a week.

"I appreciate the quick response of PHMSA," Mayor Ralph Becker said after returning from a three-day trip to Washington to meet with regulators.

"The corrective order shows they understand and acknowledge our public-safety concerns," the Tribune quoted him as saying.

Chevron of San Ramon, Calif., said it would not comment at this time on the order.

"We'd like to have the appropriate amount of time to review it," company spokesman Mickey Driver told the newspaper. "We want to be very thoughtful in how we respond."

The 182-mile pipeline runs from Rangely, a small town in northwest Colorado, to a Chevron refinery in northern Salt Lake City.

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