Archived News Articles

The following news articles are being archived for public viewing. Most articles are concerning Alyeska, Oil Spill Prevention, Whistleblower concerns, and the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. No opinions are given on each article but you can read the opinion of the Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility by clicking here.

When possible the contact information for each author as been included,
plus related links to each story.

TANKERS' BAD PRESS ON OIL SPILLS SAID UNDESERVED-- This Reuter News article documents the bad press that oil tankers receive for water pollution. Tim Wilkins notes that 62 percent of all oil pollution at sea comes from industrial waste, and some three percent results from tanker accidents, while another seven percent arose from loading tankers and other operations. It is argued that the industry could also get more involved by adopting environmental management codes, such as certification under international standard ISO14001

A NEW FEDERAL CRACKDOWN ON PIPELINE FIRM-- This article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer documents the problems at the Olympic Pipeline Co. It is noted that the new strict requirements, by federal order, will mean shutting down and evaluating segments of the line that runs through Woodinville, Redmond, Bellevue, Renton, and other communities. The new requirements will reduce the flow of petroleum by 1 million gallons a day. The Office of Pipeline Safety has raised concerns about the defects in the pipeline and computer problems which increase pressure, in turn weaking the pipeline.

PIPELINE MANAGERS LOSE JOBS-- This article written by David Whitney of the Anchorage Daily News presents the changes being made at Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Bob Malone, Alyeska's company president, has been "re-organizing" the company infrastructure by moving management positions to other departments. The "Group of Six" who uses Charles Hamel, a former oil broker and frequest Alyeska critic, as a spokesperson remarks that Malone is only "scratching the surface"
MALONE TO ALYESKA EMPLOYEES: GET ON BOARD OR QUIT--Tony Bickert of the Valdez Vanguard documents the recent changes at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Mr Bickert notes that Bob Malone has issued an ultimatum to 2,100 people who run the Trans-Alaska Pipeline system: "Maintain an open work environment or quit" The Alaska DEC and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council are applauding the tough talks given by Malone. Little Harbor Consultants, hired by Malone, conducted a 60-day review, because of claims given by the "Group of Six" about working environments and safety concerns. These are one of the shuffles that Malone as created in order to stop the safety concerns of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.

PIPELINE PENSION SETTLED-- The pensions for 3,600 electrical workers who worked on the Trans-Alaska pipeline have been settled. Each of the electrical workersin the 1970s will split $18 million. In most cases, the Alaska pensions plans had required union members to work for at least 10 years before gaining benefits and also prohibited the transfer of pension standing to other unions in different states.

EPA TARGETS CRUISE SHIPS-- More then a dozen ships have violated air quality standards while visiting Juneau, Glacier Bay, and Seward this summer. State regulations require that the view behind the plume of smoke from a cruise ship may not be obscured by more then 20 percent. Each of the EPA's inspectors are trained to tell when ships are violating this standard. Yet the EPA dropped its cruise ship smoke monitoring program in 1996 due to budget cuts.

JUDGE REJECTS MOVE TO BLOCK POLLOCK FISHING-- A Seattle judge has denied a request by environmental groups to further curtail pollock fishing off Alaska to protect the endangered Steller sea lions. Greenpeace and other environment had asked US District Judge Thomas Zilly for an injunction to further restrict pollock trawling in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska in lieu of the Judge's July finding that federal regulators had not properly drafted protective measures for the sea lions. But the courts have ruled that it would be premature to grant such an injunction.

OIL GIANT BP TO SETTLE WASTE CASE-- To end a 5-year criminal investigation into the dumping of hazardous wastes in oil wells on Alaska's North Slope, BP-Amoco have reached a settlement with federal prosecutors. The settlements has been reached after a BP contractor, pleded guilty to 15 misdemeanor counts of violating the Oil Pollution Act by dumping hazardous wasts into oil shafts on Alaska's Endicott Island.

SAFETY OF ALASKAN OIL LINE 'IN QUESTION' REPORT FINDS-- The safety of Alaskan pipeline is now "in question", says an internal report. This report was presented to US congress and government regulations in response to the "Group of Six" Alyeska whistleblowers. A new whistleblower has wrote to the US congress and to Vice President Gore stating harassment by a senior executive of Alyeska when she raised "ethical concerns" about improper tax practices. No comment from Alyeska.

OLYMPIC PIPE LINE RECORDS SHOW VALVE SHUTDOWN WAS NOT THE FIRST-- Apparent computer problems and the evidence of nearby excavating has brought concern to the Olympic Pipe Line. The computer in the main control room crashed and closed a valve without the commands from the operators. The surge raced through the pipe until it ruptured at a weak spot. It appears that the pre-1970 pipes are beginning to experience problems.

PUNITIVE DAMAGES FOR PIPELINE DEATHS? MAYBE-- Two 10 year old boys who were killed in the June 10, Olympic Pipe line explosion and fire can't seek punitive damages under Washington law, but may be able to seek damages under Texas law. The ruling came during the first court hearing in the wrongful death lawsuits of two boys who were fatally burned after hundreds of thousand gallons of gasoline poured from a ruptured pipe.

ACTION ON OIL VAPOR URGED-- Government regulations limit how much oil can be loaded without vapor recovery. Right now, two of three loading berths in Valdez have equipment to gather the fumes. A third has no vapor recovery equipment but is seldom used, but that could change if BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield Co combines operations. (Which is predicted by BP)

ALYESKA FINDS HARASSMENT OF WHISTLE-BLOWERS PERSISTS-- It has been said that Alyeska Pipeline Service Co has found that internal problems persist despite the organizations efforts to reorganize itself. Alyeska is owned by Exxon Corp., BP Amoco, Atlantic Richfield Co. and other companies that run Alaska's North Slope field. Alyeska has been under sharp scrutiny since the Exxon-Valdez ran aground spilling millions of gallons of crude into Prince William Sound in 1989. Since then drastic management changes have occured, a government-ordered augit uncovered problems such as lax management, falasified reports and faulty leak-detection.

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