Aug 29, 2016 - Responding to pressure from CFROG and frustrated with oil industry secrecy the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District hearing board has voted unanimously to issue a subpoena to force Crimson Pipeline to explain why most of its Santa Paula area pipelines are shut down and when they will reopen.
"The APCD hearing board deserves praise for asking serious and informed questions and for the rare and important step of voting unanimously to force the pipeline company to answer questions about why the Santa Paula area pipelines are shut down," said John Brooks, President of CFROG. " Until they are operating again the pollution from up to 20 tanker trucks per day will spew into our air."
The Crimson v10 pipeline in Ventura spilled nearly 30 thousand gallons of crude oil into a barranca on June 23rd.
Photo - Hall Canyon Oil Spill from Crimson Pipeline - June 23, 2016, Ventura.
Now the company, citing only "unscheduled maintenance " has shut down its South Mountain pipelines forcing California Resources Company (CRC) to use 20 tanker trucks to move up to 2000 barrels of oil a day. Because its permit requires the use of a pipeline to protect the public from diesel particles and reactive hydrocarbons ,CRC had to go to the air board to get a short term variance. CRC told the board that Crimson had given them no notice of the shutdown and will not say when the pipelines will be fixed, if indeed they have failed. Board members were shocked at the secrecy and failure of the pipeline company to inform its major customer what is going on.
If the pipelines are not operational and the trucking has not stopped in 90 days a subpoena will be issued to force Crimson to come to the next hearing on November 21st.
The company will either chose to tell the board and the public what is taking place or exercise the right guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of refusing to answer questions in order to avoid incriminating itself.
CFROG members addressed the hearing board and made certain the variance was granted only for a short time period and warned Santa Paula residents that if the one remaining South Mountain Ojai pipeline is shut down, the 20 tanker trucks per day will be forced to leave the oil field and take city streets to Highway 126. CRC did not disclose the route those trucks would take.
If the Crimson pipelines are corroded or malfunctioning CFROG obviously supports proper maintenance, but the public should be informed of the reason why an increase of pollution is taking place due to truck and tanker emissions.
Crimson has a history of pipeline spills. Corrosion was the cause for four spills in California since 2006, Five spills — one of which involved corrosion — have occurred in Ventura County during the same period. The Ventura spill in June is unofficially blamed on a poorly installed valve. There have been no federal inspections of Crimson pipelines since at least 2006.