SALT LAKE CITY -- It's not quite the Gulf Coast, but Salt Lake City has developed a persistent problem with oil spills. This week the federal Department of Transportation ordered Chevron to temporarily close a pipeline running through Salt Lake City after the second spill there in six months.
The first incident happened in June, while Deepwater Horizon was sending thousands of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline, which carries oil from a western Colorado terminal to a Utah refinery, leaked, sending 800 gallons into the Jordan River. That river, which runs through the city, empties into Great Salt Lake, a major bird refuge. Federal regulators recently fined Chevron almost $424,000 for that spill.
Then, on the evening of Dec. 1, the pipeline leaked again as temperatures plunged below freezing and a valve cracked. This time, 500 gallons of oil spilled toward a local creek, though only trace amounts have been found in the water.