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Utah, Chevron Reach Settlement on Willard Bay Oil Spill

Dan Bammes

Chevron Pipeline Company has agreed to pay the state of Utah $5.35 million in the form of civil penalties, mitigation and lost use damages at the Willard Bay State Park following the oil giant’s pipeline failure last spring. 

Following months of negotiations with the Utah Division of Water Quality and the Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation, a draft settlement has been reached.

John Whitehead, Assistant Director of the Division of Water Quality says Chevron has already spent $21.5 million on clean up and mitigation efforts.

“They’ve installed some trails; they’ve done some monitoring and mitigation work that really is fairly extensive in terms of the site,” Whitehead says. “So if you were a visitor at the park before the event happened and then go back today, I think you’d see a cleaner and nicer version of what was there before.” 

Last March, Chevron’s 760-mile-long pipeline broke, releasing more than 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the soil and marshes at Willard Bay. The rupture was the result of a split in the lengthwise seam of the 60-year-old pipeline.

Whitehead says the public is invited to review and comment on the draft settlement agreement now through January 16th, 2014

“We will take those comments and review them for whether we’ve missed the boat or whether we’ve done something wrong,” Whitehead says. “We’ll give them careful consideration and then we can choose to either, execute the agreement as it is proposed now, revise it or even abandon it if we felt it was completely wrong.”

In a statement, Chevron officials said the company is committed to meeting its obligations under the agreement and will continue to work with state authorities on any required remediation and monitoring programs.

The incident in Willard Bay was the company’s third petroleum spill in Utah, in less than three years.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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