Following is a condensed summary of talking points prepared for Plains representative Pat Hodgins in connection with the news conference held on June 24, 2015 at 11 a.m. PDT:
As the responsible party, we realize the disruption this unfortunate incident has caused to this community, to the environment and to the wildlife, and we deeply regret the accidental release of crude oil from Line 901. All of the various agencies that make up the Unified Command and Plains have worked very hard to restore the area and we believe this collective effort has produced meaningful results so far. While we are pleased with the progress that has been made and the tireless efforts of everyone involved in this response, we will not be satisfied until the job is done. Plains’ objective from the very beginning has been simple – Do the right thing and do it quickly.
While our focus remains on mitigating the incident, we recognize the need to report costs. From a cost standpoint, through June 23rd, we estimate that we have spent a total of approximately $92 million on the clean-up and response effort. This is only an estimate of spill response and clean-up costs and does not include other potential costs, including all third-party claims, fines, penalties or regulatory or court proceedings or lost revenues.
Plains remains committed to staying actively engaged in this response effort until the job is done.
Recovery Effort Updates and Excavation
Progress continues in each of the five of the work zones in the recovery area: the water zone, the beach zone, the bluffs zone, the culvert zone and the release site. We continue to clean the tidal areas, rocks and cliff faces on the beaches. This is a more complex type of work and we are exploring options for cleaning hard-to-access areas. This work will likely require different techniques, different equipment and different manpower. We will continue to have responders focused on impacted areas and conducting more detailed work. During this process, we will be utilizing different types of equipment as well. However, our commitment to this effort is unwavering.
On the water, all visible released oil was collected some time ago. As previously reported, the released oil from Line 901 was no longer visible on the water by Day 4, but Clean Seas continued to collect natural seep oil after that. This is why recovery vessels have been recently decommissioned from the response effort.
On the shoreline, SCAT teams report that 93 percent of the shoreline has met the cleanup goals for this phase of the recovery. El Capitan State Beach will reopen on Friday, June 26, and work continues at Refugio State Beach to prepare it for reopening in the near future. These were the only two beaches that were closed as a result of the release, and their respective re-openings will be a significant milestone in our recovery progress.
On the beaches, workers continue to manually clean oil from the cliff face and large stationary rocks as well as to collect oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline.
The area from the culvert outfall on the beach side of the railroad tracks to the cliff has been excavated. This is a culturally sensitive area and we have worked side by side with cultural specialists and archaeologists to ensure excavation work was done carefully and respectfully. This work has been completed and as with the release site, we will restore this area with compatible backfill soil and replant the area with native plant species.
Release Site and Culvert Zone
Cleanup crews have completed the cleaning of the release site to the end of the culvert. The area of oiled impacted soils from the release site to the entrance of the culvert has been excavated. We will use a compatible source material for backfill and are awaiting soil sample results before we restore the excavated area.
Ongoing Updates to the Public
In addition to updates provided by the Unified Command, since very early in this effort, Plains also provided routine updates on its activities and overall progress, as well as additional information with respect to questions raised by the public. These information updates were provided on a daily basis for about the first three weeks and then transitioned to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday basis for a few weeks. These updates are now provided on a weekly basis. This information is available at www.Line901response.com.
For those who feel they have been impacted by this unfortunate accidental release, they should call 866-753-3619 to file a claim.