Pipeline runs into opposition
by Barbara Sullivan
Although a representative from Olympic Pipe Line Company told the Carnation City Council recently that the proposed pipeline would be "the most cost-effective, reliable, and safest method" to transport fuel supplies, the mayor and some community members disagreed.
Bill Mulkey, a top executive and manager of regulatory and environmental affairs with Olympic Pipe Line, presented information to the City Council supporting the building of the Cross-Cascades Pipeline.
Olympic is a "common carrier" serving Washington and Oregon, transporting gasoline and diesel fuel for over 30 companies by way of underground pipelines.
Because of declining refined fuel supplies from pipelines originating in Montana and Utah, and to meet the increased Central and Eastern Washington demand, oil suppliers are currently relying heavily on tanker trucks as well as barges, according to Olympic officials.
The pipeline from Northwest Washington to Portland is already at capacity, and the alternative to a new pipeline is increased trucking and hauling by barge over open water, Mulkey said.
"The estimate is that it would require 1,800 trucks per day to carry what the pipeline would carry," he said. "The benefits to the public would be reduced operating risk, reduced over-water product transfers, lower cost of service, and improved reliability of supply."
Carnation esident Wes Larson agreed with Mulkey, saying he was in favor of the pipeline.
"We've enjoyed having the fuel here for years, and that fuel had to come past somebody else--now it's our turn--it's probably the safest way."
However, the company has experienced two recently publicized leaks in its pipeline, one that occurred on June 17.
Resident Mary Osterday asked Mulkey why it took a city official to notice the (June 17) leak.
"A city worker did call in after noticing a sheen on the water--three barrels of product had gone out," Mulkey answered. "We fly the pipeline weekly (by helicopter) but can't see a pinhole leak from the air. We find it quickly because it surfaces."
The strongest reaction came from Carnation Mayor Jack Stein, who read a prepared statement regarding the proposed pipeline. An excerpt follows:
"For the record, as mayor of the City of Carnation, I am very alarmed about the disastrous effects that could occur if we let this petroleum pipeline proceed.
"After studying the pros and cons of this operation, it is very obvious to me that this pipeline is nothing but a liability for the entire Valley.
"According to a report, over the past four months, we have already seen two diesel spills of significant proportion. Small leaks cannot be detected and would have a devastating effect on our ground water supply, our rivers, and our environment as a whole.
"I have yet to see any benefit at all to supporting this project. I have talked to many members of the community, and so far, support has been less than positive.
"I hope the citizens of Carnation and the Valley as a whole join me in an effort to block this entire project from becoming a reality."