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California oil company under scrutiny in Alaska

January 15, 2010 | 12:02 pm

Cook Inlet

The Alaska Daily News reports that federal prosecutors this week executed search warrants at two oil facilities operated by California-based Unocal in Cook Inlet.

Chevron Corp., which owns Unocal, has reported to environmental authorities that it may have exceeded emissions limits at the Trading Bay production plant and Granite Peak tank farm.

The paper writes:

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says it also has investigated air emissions at Trading Bay, after Unocal reported possible air emission violations. The DEC and the EPA received a letter from Unocal about the potential violations in 2008.

In the letter, Unocal said it believed "an increase in emissions" from two 45,000-barrel oil storage tanks at Trading Bay had been occurring since June 2006, probably violating the Clean Air Act. Previously, vapor from the tanks had been recovered and used as fuel.

The paper notes, however, that such warrants generally are granted for criminal investigations.

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: Dip-net fishermen at the mouth of the Kenai River where it flows into Cook Inlet. Credit: M. Scoot Moon / For the Times