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In brief: State penalizes BP for safety violations

Fri., Aug. 31, 2012

SEATTLE – Washington state has fined BP more than $80,000 for safety violations at the oil giant’s Cherry Point refinery in Whatcom County.

The Department of Labor & Industries announced Thursday that it fined BP for six violations, including a “willful violation,” of workplace safety.

The department began its investigation in February following a fire that caused enough damage to close the refinery for three months. No one was hurt in the fire.

Investigators found that the fire occurred when a corroded “deadleg” pipe ruptured.

The department says deadlegs are pipes that aren’t often used but still must be monitored.

The company has until Sept. 13 to appeal the citation.

BP Cherry Point is the third-largest refinery on the West Coast. It produces 20 percent of Washington’s gasoline needs.

Facebook sting turns into arrest

SEDRO-WOOLEY, Wash. – A 19-year-old registered sex offender has been arrested in Skagit County after the mother of the girl he was dating set up a Facebook sting.

The Skagit Valley Herald reported William Elms was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Skagit County Superior Court on two counts of immoral communication with a minor.

Police were tipped off by a woman who caught her teenage daughter’s boyfriend sending lewd photos and messages to someone he believed was a 15-year-old girl. But the mom had fabricated the Facebook profile because she wasn’t happy that her 17-year-old daughter was dating Elms and wanted to get law enforcement involved.

State may sue Feds over Hanford delays

YAKIMA – Washington state is threatening legal action if the federal government doesn’t respond to questions about cleanup delays at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

The biggest questions center on a massive waste treatment plant under construction at the highly contaminated Hanford nuclear reservation. The U.S. Department of Energy has said it may not be able to meet the 2022 operating deadline for the plant established under a court-ordered consent decree when Washington last sued over missed deadlines.

In a letter to Energy Secretary Stephen Chu released Thursday, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Attorney General Rob McKenna gave the agency until Sept. 26 to respond to their questions about the delays or face returning to court.

The plant will convert highly radioactive waste into a stable, glass form for disposal.


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