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Agency orders corrective measures for Tesoro in wake of oil spill

WASHINGTON – A federal agency ordered Tesoro High Plains Pipeline Co. on Thursday to take corrective action in the wake of a recent oil spill near Tioga, N.D.

The U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ordered the company to complete several short- and long-term improvements to protect people and the surrounding environment, according to a news release from the agency.

The order is the result of an investigation of the company’s High Plains Pipeline System, which leaked an estimated 20,600 barrels of crude oil in Williams County. The spill was discovered Sept 29.

“Safety is our highest priority,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the release. “Today’s Safety Order is an important step to protect the people and environment in this area and to strengthen the integrity of the pipeline so that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

PHMSA won’t allow Tesoro to restart the pipeline unless the operator accepts the corrective measures, the release said. The order requires the company to perform aerial and ground inspections and install additional leak detection equipment.

Tesoro also must update maps of the roughly 700-mile pipeline system and evaluate the pipeline to identify further measures to protect water sources.

The company is required to submit a restart plan to the agency for approval.

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