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EPA Fines Chevron $875,000 For Utah Spills of Oil, Diesel Fuel

PHOTO: The EPA is fining Chevron $875,000 for two spills in Utah involving diesel fuel and oil. Photo courtesy Utah State Law Library.
PHOTO: The EPA is fining Chevron $875,000 for two spills in Utah involving diesel fuel and oil. Photo courtesy Utah State Law Library.
May 13, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is levying an $875,000 penalty against Chevron Pipe Line Company, a division of Chevron Corp., for spills involving oil and diesel fuel in Utah. Cynthia Peterson, EPA community involvement coordinator, says the settlement is for the Red Butte Creek spill in 2010 in Salt Lake City, which involved 800 barrels of oil, and also for the 2013 spill of about 500 barrels of diesel fuel near Willard Bay in Box Elder County.

"Every case is different," Peterson says, "but this penalty is significant, and it reflects the seriousness of the violations. It also takes into account other factors, such as penalties paid to other entities for the spills."

Peterson says the $875,000 will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is used by federal agencies to respond to oil spills.

She adds that oil from the Red Butte Creek spill flowed into Liberty Lake, which is the centerpiece of Liberty Park in downtown Salt Lake City. The lake was closed for nearly a year during the cleanup.

The diesel spill at Willard Bay caused soil, surface water and groundwater contamination, she says, which required extensive clean-up work, adding that it also caused Willard Bay State Park to close temporarily and affected local wildlife.

"There were wildlife impacts at Willard Bay. Six beavers were soaked in diesel fuel during the spill," she says. "They were, to my understanding, taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in northern Utah."

Peterson says the Chevron settlement follows several recent penalties and compliance actions linked to the Red Butte Creek oil spill. It includes agreements between Chevron and the state of Utah, Salt Lake City and the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT