Valdez trucking firm fined for three diesel spills

In a settlement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Big State Logistics Inc. will pay a total of $43,000 in penalties for three 2016 spills on the Richardson Highway, between Fairbanks and Valdez, ranging from 339 gallons to 3,571 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

One spill was the result of equipment failure and the other two spills involved ice and snow packed road conditions, the EPA said Oct. 3.

In each incident, the Valdez based fuel hauler and trucking firm, with its contractors, responded quickly and conducted fuel recovery and clean-up actions, the EPA said.

Following these events, the company also halted transportation of double trailers during the harshest weather months and gave their drivers discretion to not haul double trailers if roads were judged to be in poor condition.

Since 2015, the EPA, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and U.S. Coast Guard have hosted workshops in Anchorage and Fairbanks for agencies, insurers and trucking firms who transport fuel and bulk chemicals in Alaska to troubleshoot logistical weak spots and brainstorm solutions to persistent problems involving fuel transport crashes, especially during winter months.

Participating agencies have underscored the importance of timely reporting of spills and releases to the National Response Center 24-hour hotline, 1-800-424-8802.