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Kinder Morgan agrees to buy emergency response equipment for Truckee River Corridor area

Release Date: 5/12/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano 415-947- 4307

SAN FRANCISCO Recently Kinder Morgan agreed to purchase emergency response equipment for the Truckee Fire Protection District to partially resolve federal Clean Water Act violations discovered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last July.

The company will also pay the EPA a $26,630 penalty to resolve violations discovered during an unannounced inspection last July at the company’s Sparks, Nev. facility, located at 301 Nugget Ave. The inspection required the facility to respond to a mock oil spill in the Truckee River.

Last December, t he EPA cited the company for failing to conduct at least 10 emergency notification drills – required quarterly – over the past five years. Kinder Morgan also failed to conduct two oil spill response drills requiring the use of emergency equipment. These drills must be conducted annually.

The facility, which is located about one mile from the Truckee River, has a storage capacity of more than one million gallons of oil. Kinder Morgan is the largest transporter of gasoline and petroleum products in the nation.

“With this settlement, Kinder Morgan is recognizing the importance of properly exercising its oil spill response procedures,” said Keith Takata, director of the EPA’s superfund program for the Pacific Southwest Region. “ The specialized equipment for the Truckee Fire Protection District adds real value to the local emergency response capability. ”

Kinder Morgan’s equipment will allow emergency personnel to respond quickly to any spills of potentially hazardous chemicals that may occur on the area’s highways, rivers and streams. Since Truckee is located near three major transportation lines – Kinder Morgan pipeline, a Union Pacific railway and Interstate 80 – and since water in the Truckee River quickly reaches Sparks and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe from anywhere along the corridor, the area needs to be prepared in the event of a spill of oil or hazardous substances.

The company is expected to pay the penalty and provide the emergency response equipment by early this summer, after the agreement has been finalized. The emergency response equipment is a “supplemental environmental project” under the agency’s enforcement program. T he agency can offer reduced penalties to violators that voluntarily undertake specific projects that will directly benefit the environment and go beyond what is required of a violator to return to compliance with regulations.

The EPA also emphasizes the importance of spill response training, noting that over the past two years several oil spills have occurred at Kinder Morgan’s facilities in Arizona and California. Last November , a pipeline near Baker, Calif. was shutdown after the discovery of a gasoline leak. Last April, more than 100,000 gallons of oil spilled into a marsh near Suisun, Calif. from a ruptured pipeline. In 2003, roughly 32,000 gallons of oil was released near Tucson, Ariz. from a corroded pipeline.

Kinder Morgan and its subsidiaries operate more than 25,000 miles of oil pipelines nationwide. The company transports more than two million barrels of gasoline and petroleum products per day.