Recent oil refinery owners share contamination cleanup costs

  • Sunday, August 28, 2016 9:41pm
  • News

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Supreme Court says recent owners of a North Pole oil refinery share costs of cleaning up a contamination that has reached about 7 square miles of groundwater.

The Friday ruling keeps onsite cleanup costs attached to Flint Hills while former refinery owner Williams Alaska Petroleum is responsible for the plume that spread offsite, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

“The record is pretty clear that neither company did very well in terms of looking for this problem,” Justice Daniel Winfree said, “but that’s not the issue.”

A Williams Alaska Petroleum attorney argued Flint Hills was slow to respond.

“Despite the advice to go out and find the sources, it doesn’t appear that Flint Hills has done much to find the sources,” attorney Randy Jones said in court. “So for four years of being told to look for sources, they didn’t look for sources.”

A nearby resident had sued Flint Hills over the contamination. Flint Hills then filed a claim against former refinery owner Williams Alaska Petroleum. Payments will be decided by the Superior Court. A spill of the chemical sulfolane caused the contamination.

An attorney says Flint Hills has spent “tens of millions of dollars” so far on filtered water for residents and refinery cleanup.

Offsite cleanup has not started.

“We are still studying the opinion, but overall we are pleased with the decision of the Alaska Supreme Court,” said Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook in a prepared statement. “We look forward to our day in court when these and other claims can be resolved.”

More in News

From right, Soldotna City Council members Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Dan Nelson and Jordan Chilson listen to testimony during a council meeting on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Council to mull limits on use of Soldotna ADUs as short-term rentals

Accessory dwelling units refer to subordinate, detached units

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Wildlife Troopers and CES rescue hunter missing for 12 hours

State troopers were notified around 6 p.m. Wednesday that the hunter hadn’t returned

The Alaska State Capitol awaits a legislators forming new majority coalitions and the return of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the winners of the general election were announced Wednesday. The Senate will have a 17-member bipartisan ruling coalition, while the House arrangement remains uncertain due to at least one likely recount and questions about partisan alignments. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Bipartisan majority formed for new state Senate

Eight Republicans join nine Democrats after many years of Republican rule

Dr. Michael Reyes manipulates ROSA during a demonstration at Central Peninsula Hospital on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Knee surgeries get assist from robot arms

Robotic Surgical Assistant, called ROSA, is a new addition to CPH and the first in Alaska

During a hearing at the Juneau Courthouse, 34-year-old Anthony Michael Migliaccio pleaded not guilty after he was arrested on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of a 55-year-old Juneau woman. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Man arrested in Juneau killing pleads not guilty

News follows a two-month investigation.

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank presents during a budget work session on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai tries again to fill city manager position

After 1st round of negotiations fall through, Kenai to pursue Eubank for role

Soldotna Montessori Charter School kindergartners parade with balloons around the school playground on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Balloons on parade

Montessori kids put spin on traditional Macy’s parade

Most Read