Minor oil spills at Bellingham have plagued construction of an oil spill containment barge needed for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska.
The Washington Ecology Department says hydraulic systems leaked on July 24, Aug. 4 and Aug. 6, each releasing about a quart of oil into Whatcom Waterway. The department sent a notice of violation to Superior Energy Services, which is building the Arctic Challenger.
Ecology spokeswoman Katie Skipper told The Bellingham Herald the spills could be the result of crews working in haste.
Shell is waiting on the barge to start drilling. The barge will carry a dome-shape containment system that could be lowered onto a leaking well to funnel oil and gas to a barge.
- The Juneau Assembly declined to pass a broaden sales tax exemption for seniors. Opposition from businesses prodded elected officials to refer the initiative back to committee.
- Fines for pet owners whose for critters scooped up by animal control officers have gone up. The fees hadn't been adjusted for nearly 17 years.
- Local education officials are applying for state money to replace and repair leaky roofs at several Juneau schools. About $5 million is coming in over the next five years earmarked for school maintenance from sales tax money that voters approved in the Oct. 3 election.
- "They’re calling it GTA, grand theft Anchorage, right now," said Rep. Lora Reinbold, who says she wants to repeal Senate Bill 91. "It’s outrageous, what’s going on in the city that I love.”