Oil sheen contained in Talbert Channel near site of last year’s major O.C. pipeline spill (credit: Eric Holmquist/NOAA)
With the state of Washington set to release its latest clean up assessment later this month, it’s the latest example of how the government’s cleanup plan is inadequate and is costing lives.
An alarming new report this week revealed one of the largest pipeline spills in U.S. history may be linked to a toxic spill in 2017. The state of Washington has yet to conclude its review of damage done by the massive blowout last year at the O.C. pipeline spill site in Oregon.
In May, the federal government found that a leak of some 2 million gallons of toxic wastewater into Talbert Channel, a mile-long stretch of wetlands, killed and sickened thousands of fish and other wildlife.
This year, the Department of Ecology released a nearly 600-page assessment that blames pipeline operator Transnet and Talbert Channel authorities for not fully cleaning up the site, as required by the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean up plan. The assessment is scheduled to be delivered at meetings with state and federal regulators on Nov. 12.
The report also blames Transnet, in part, because of its reluctance to hire private contractors for the cleanup rather than continue to contract with a company it had used before.
Transnet spokeswoman Amanda Deisher acknowledged in an email to National Observer that it took longer than usual to secure other contractors and that Transnet was “a little slow in bringing them in right to the wire.”
“A lot of that was due to the project timeline, but the report from the EPA is being released on Tuesday Dec. 1. I don’t have a timeframe for when those contractors will actually be out in the field, and that’s the reason we delayed them,” she said.
One of the other reasons Transnet was slow in securing contractors was “the project timeline,” spokeswoman Deisher told the Washington Times.
The assessment by the Department of Ecology focuses on the actions Transnet took in order to clean up the Talbert Channel site at the direction of the EPA and state regulators.
It faults Transnet for neglecting to make the land more accessible, which had allowed more invasive plant growth and has resulted in increased algae growth on the site. The assessment also found that Transnet failed