(KCPW News) Salt Lake City residents got the chance to follow up on what has happened since the 2010 Chevron oil spill that sent more than 30,000 gallons of crude oil flowing into Salt Lake City waterways. On Friday, the city hosted a pipeline safety conference at The Leonardo, where representatives from local and federal government, the pipeline industry and regulators discussed operations, regulations, prevention, safety preparedness and initiatives. Carl Weimer, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, says there are federal regulations set by Congress that the city and state can’t sidestep.
“But there are things that the city can do as far as using their zoning and permitting authority to keep houses and churches and hospitals and schools away from pipelines,” he says. “Or at least make sure people know when they’re buying property if there is a pipeline nearby. They certainly can make sure that their emergency response people are trained.”
Salt Lake City resident Patricia Callahan attended the conference to see how she could get more involved and to gauge the accuracy of the information being presented. She says some of it was not, including the fire department claiming it had contacted all the residents who lived on Red Butte Creek immediately after the spill.
“That did not happen. I wasn’t contacted and most of the residents I know were not contacted personally. We were not encouraged to evacuate. We were not told what the danger was of what had happened. It was left up to us to make our own decision without any information,” she tells KCPW.
Callahan says either those plans and guidelines weren’t being followed, or they weren’t really there. But she adds if this were to happen again, she trusts the city’s response would be better.