This week, along with presumably everyone in Santa Barbara, I received a glossy postcard-letter from Greg Armstrong, the CEO of Plains All American Pipeline. In it, he expressed his “deepest apologies” for his company’s recent oil spill.
I would be willing to accept the apology if this were a rare incident by a company that has a good track record. However, this company has accidentally spilled nearly 2 million gallons of this hazardous liquid over the last 11 years in the U.S. and Canada, fouling rivers, wetlands, and oceans.
The letter of apology for this most recent “accidental release” must come from the company’s $75 million reserve for “environmental liabilities,” a small part of the cost of business for a company that claimed almost $900 million in profit last year.
Richard B. Kuprewicz, a pipeline consultant in Richmond, Washington, was recently quoted as saying, “In 40 years of investigating pipeline incidents, I haven’t seen one that wasn’t preventable. There are no such things as accidents.” Mr. Armstrong, I do not accept your apology.