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The Grove/Hall Canyon Oil Spill: Unanswered Questions

Community questions for the "Unified Command"

in charge of June 23 Crimson Pipeline Leak of 1075 Barrels of Light Crude Oil

in Prince Barranca behind Foothill/ Poli Street Homes

from Prince Barranca Neighbors

Robert and Paula Chianese

Mary Haffner

We are neighbors near to and far from the actual leak and spill who need more thorough answers to our questions about our safety, the extent of the cleanup, the restoration of Prince Barranca in Hall Canyon, and the rationale for keeping oil flowing in the seventy-five year old pipeline at all.

1. Where does this old pipeline originate? Is it local oil? What is the actual cause of the leak?

2. How extensive is the cleanup? We've heard that you are not planning to remove soil as deep as it is contaminated and would like to know why and what are the short term and long-term consequences for the health of this natural watercourse?

3. How much progress in terms of yards or feet along the channel have you made in cleaning it up?

4. Why can't neighbors see the cleanup? Why is it so secret? off limits? unphotographed?

5. We are told that the State Fire Marshal certified that the pipeline was safe, apparently in less than 24 hours after the spill. Was there an actual person on site to inspect the pipeline? How soon did that person arrive? What inspection protocols were followed? Will you release the details of the inspection to the public and to our City Manager Mark Watkins, who has requested them in a subpoena to you?

6. Is there third-party oversight of the Fire Marshal’s determination about the safety of the pipe and about Crimson's eagerness to get it flowing again?

7. We were additionally told that the pipeline’s flow of oil was required either as a “strategic” requirement or as a contractual one. Who required this start up, even as we were meeting with you Thursday evening June 30 (or early Friday July 1) with no idea the pipeline would open immediately?

8. Has the 1941 pipeline been grandfathered in under different, less stringent safety requirements than those in effect now?

9. We understand that Crimson has had a checkered record in the past 10 years of many spills, ten to be exact. We hope that the frequent cleanups that you oversee have not made your restoration work routine and ordinary. We understand that you have not been fined for any one of the spills.

10. Finally, the most key question is why we need this oil flowing in our city’s backyards at all. We as a society are moving away from fossil fuel use and need to take measures now to curtail use of oil and gas and the dangerous systems of transport required to move it around and under our streets, roads, and houses. This old, very small ten-inch oil pipe, which is underground and then slung high over the barranca, is too dangerous to use and likely unnecessary.

(Here’s a report from 1995 about a spill of oil in the same Prince Barranca, which got mixed with water:

(See Spill Watch at :

We encourage you to shut the pipeline down now, permanently,

before even a more disastrous spill visits our city.

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