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Corroded Pipeline

Anchorage, AK: (Nov-29-07) Federal agencies brought an environmental damage lawsuit against BP Exploration Alaska Inc., the Alaska subsidiary of oil company BP PLC, alleging that the company failed to prevent a crude spill across a swath of delicate tundra in America's largest oil field. Sources confirmed that the company pleaded guilty to the allegations, as part of a settlement with the government. The dispute was over a 200,000 gallon spill at the Prudhoe Bay field in March 2006. It was the largest spill ever in the vast, oil-rich region of Arctic Alaska known as the North Slope.

Under the agreement, BP pleaded guilty to one violation of the Clean Water Act, a misdemeanor, and will pay $20 million in fines for allowing the pipeline to corrode. The company will also be under probation for a maximum of three years. Officials claimed that the problems in Alaska came to light after the March 2006 spill prompted the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency to open an investigation into maintenance practices at the 30-year-old field. The probe revealed that thick, black sludge caked along the bottom of the leaky pipe was protecting colonies of bacteria that produce a corrosive acid. The acid had eaten an almond-sized hole in the steel over the course of several years. [PROVIDENCE JOURNAL: CORRODED PIPELINE]

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Published on Nov-30-07


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