Litigation and Legal Issues at Phillips 66

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Logo of Phillips 66. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland. “People like E. W. Marland, who started Marland Oil in 1911, and Frank and L. E. Phillips that started Phillips Petroleum in 1917. I could go on and on and list the giants that have come before us that have so well positioned this company for the success that we enjoy today.”[1] Photo: ConocoPhillips
The 587 foot tall Mammoet PTC 140 crane, seen here from North First Street, towers over the refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma built by E. W. Marland. The crane was used to move two new coker reactor units within the refinery in September, 2013. The photograph was taken from almost two miles away from the crane. Photo: Hugh Pickens All Rights Reserved.

Litigation and Legal Issues with Phillips

April 16, 2014: Health and Safety Specialists at Santa Maria Refinery Claim They Were Punished for Unionizing

Colin Rigley reported at the New Times on April 16, 2014 that health and safety specialists at Phillips' Santa Maria Refinery allege Phillips officials warned them in January, 2012 that if they joined the United Steelworkers Union they would lose hours, be stripped of managerial powers, and as many as three of them could lose their jobs. “The insinuation here was that, ‘We may not need all of you,’” one of the specialists said in a written statement submitted to the labor board.[2]

When the newly unionized group went to the bargaining table in December, 2012, the specialists say in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board that Phillips management carried out its threats. Phillips' proposed contract on December 10, 2012 allegedly included the threatened reductions of hours and responsibilities. The refinery’s health and safety specialists serve as organizers of the plant’s emergency response crew. Though none of the health and safety specialists was fired, three of them were transferred from their primary roles into regular plant operations, according to the complaint. The union is seeking to recover lost wages for the health and safety specialists, and to have their original job functions restored. Those lost wages totaled as much as $17,000 per year for some employees. In its complaint, the union further alleges that Phillips 66 bargained in bad faith when it imposed the 2012 contract.[3]

Phillips 66, in its responses to the union’s complaint, said the company reduced the five health and safety specialists to two as part of regular staffing changes, and the job functions were distributed across other personnel. “There is no value more important in our company than ensuring the safety of everyone who works at our sites as well as the safety of our neighboring communities,” Phillips spokesman Dennis Nuss said in a written statement to New Times. “In 2012, Phillips 66 redistributed certain safety-related functions and responsibilities among personnel at the Santa Maria Refinery, and there were no staff reductions. These changes have helped maintain and improve the refinery’s high standards for safety performance.”[4]

In addition to the reduced contract for health and safety specialists, the union alleges that the company violated federal labor laws when it implemented “news media guidelines” in October 2012. Those guidelines instructed employees not to speak to news media and, “It is against company policy for anyone but an authorized company spokespersons [sic] to speak to the news media.” The company defends its policy as a routine business practice that violated no labor laws.[5]

March 26, 2014: Phillips Pays $500,000 Fine for Clean Air Violations at Five Refineries

CSP Daily News reported on March 26, 2014 that Phillips will pay a $500,000 penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act at the Sweeny Refinery in Old Ocean, Texas, the Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse, La., the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill., the Lake Charles Refinery in Westlake, La., the Borger Refinery in Borger, Texas, and several terminals across the country. Phillips also agreed to retire more than 21 billion sulfur credits that could have been used in the production of gasoline, which could potentially lead to significantly less pollution from vehicles. In a administrative settlement agreement, the EPA alleged that the company generated invalid sulfur credits between 2006 and 2012 and that Phillips failed to comply with recordkeeping, reporting, sampling and testing requirements at the five refineries. EPA discovered these violations during facility inspections and through a review of company records, which included the results of third-party company audits required by the Clean Air Act.[6]

March 10, 2014: Phillips Fined $239k for Air Quality Violations at Rodeo Refinery in 2008 and 2009

Denis Cuff reported in the Contra Costa Times that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced on March 10, 2014 that it had reached a civil settlement with Phillips for the payment of $230,900 in air pollution penalties for 19 air quality violations at their Rodeo Refinery in 2008 and 2009 that included late or missed flare gas samples, failure to install and inspect required emission controls on the wastewater system, and operating a storage tank while control valves were open.The refinery also exceeded hydrogen sulfide limits in fuel gas. "The air district has the responsibility to ensure that refineries operate their facilities in full compliance of air quality regulations to protect the health of local residents," said Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer. "Any violation of these regulations, no matter how minor, will not be tolerated."[7] Officials at Phillips said the company had disclosed most of the violations to the air district and fixed the problems quickly. "We continue to make improvements in our procedures, training and monitoring to minimize if not eliminate the likelihood of recurrence," said Janet Grothe, a spokeswoman for Phillips.[8]

February 28, 2014: Phillips Faces Compliance Hearing for Pollution Monitoring System at Rodeo Refinery

The Contra Costa Times reported on February 28, 2014 that the Contra Costa County Zoning Administrator will hold a compliance meeting on March 3, 2014 on the land use permit of the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery to determine if the fence line pollution monitoring system, deemed deficient in October, has been fixed. The system is supposed to function 95 percent of the time, according to an agreement between the refinery and an environmental working group that is a condition of a Clean Fuels Expansion Project. According to the staff report, a contractor found the monitoring system exceeded the 95 percent standard during four months of a 10-month period, and failed to meet the standard during six of those months.[9]

January 29, 2014: Phillips Settles Claim for Water Pollution Violations from Rodeo Refinery

The Contra Costa Times reported on January 29, 2014 that Phillips has agreed to pay $6,000 in fines to the state for exceeding discharge limits for selenium on two different occasions at its Rodeo refinery along San Pablo Bay that occurred on July 2, 2012 and September 5, 2012. Phillips agreed to waive its right to a hearing and to settle the matter under the board's Expedited Payment Program. The settlement is pending acceptance by the board's executive officer following a public comment period that runs until 5 p.m. on February 28, 2014.[10]

January 14, 2014: Phillips Settle Claims of Defrauding Utah State Fund of $25 Million for Cleanups of Leaking Underground Tanks

The Insurance Journal reported on January 14, 2014 that Phillips has paid $2 million to settle allegations it helped itself to Utah’s Petroleum Storage Tank Fund for cleaning up damage from leaking fuel storage tanks even though it had insurance to cover the cleanups. Phillips was said to have relied on the fund for cleanups at 82 service stations. Consistently, these guys were saying, ‘No, we don’t have any insurance,” said Therron Blatter, a branch manager for underground storage tanks at the Utah Division of Environmental Response and Remediation. “Clearly, they did have the insurance.”[11]

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune Phillips was accused of defrauding the Utah’s Petroleum Storage Tank Fund to the tune of $25 million for cleanups associated with leaking underground tanks. In its lawsuit filed in 2012, the division alleged ConocoPhillips collected $25 million in payouts to cover cleanups at 82 service stations by falsely reporting that these sites were not covered by independent insurance. The suit sought to recover this money, plus punitive damages and fines totalling $10,000 for every day ConocoPhillips violated the law. But as lawyers gathered evidence it became apparent some of the claims were not that strong, said Brent Everett, director of the state Division of Environmental Response and Remediation. Officials said they are satisfied with the $2 million settlement, which amounts to less than 10 percent of what they originally claimed was misappropriated.[12][13]

May 31, 2013: Phillips Continues Tax Protest of Billings Refinery

Clair Johnson reported in the Billings Gazette on May 31, 2013 that Phillips paid its second-half 2012 Yellowstone County property taxes of $3.9 million with $1.3 million protested while its long-running tax dispute with the state of Montana continues. Taxes paid under protest are held in an escrow account pending resolution of the dispute. Taxing jurisdictions can demand distribution of the protested taxes but may have to repay the money depending on how the issues are resolved. Phillips 66 appealed its tax assessment to the Yellowstone County Tax Appeals Board, which sided with the company. The Revenue Department then appealed that decision to the Montana State Tax Appeals Board, which has not yet ruled. Another oil refiner, CHS refinery in Laurel, paid $4.08 million, with $1.6 million paid under protest.[14]

April 19, 2013: DCP Pipeline Awaits Approval in Colorado

Steve Block reported in the Trinidad Times on April 19, 2013 that a proposed 13.75-mile pipeline section planned to go through northeast Las Animas County, Colorado is awaiting approval from the county planning commission and then the county board. As designed, the pipeline has a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, which could be readily expanded to approximately 230,000 barrels per day and could begin service in the fourth quarter of 2013. Permit land agent Mike Rutherford said the company thought it only needed a special-use permit from the county for the project, which it had in hand before the state gave its final approval. It later turned out that it also needed a 1041 permit under county regulations. “We thought it was just going to be an SUP only and we already had that,” Rutherford said. “I guess if we’d known it was going to be a full-blown 1041, we could have gotten that four or five months ago, and been through this temporary approval process months ago.” The permitting process requires public notice of the application, followed by a 30-day period for comment from interested parties to the county board. Meanwhile, the application must work its way through the planning department approval process. Fourteen days after that, the planning commission and county board can approve the application at the same time, thus speeding up the process. Dixie Newnam, county attorney, said the entire process could take 45 – 60 days from the time the application was submitted.[15]

April 2, 2013: DCP Midstream Withdraws Plan to Build Megatank in Searsport

Abigal Curtis reported in the Bangor Daily News on April 2, 2013 that DCP Midstream is withdrawing thire application to build a controversial liquid propane gas terminal and storage tank project at Mack Point in Searsport. “We really, really wanted to do business in Maine,” said Roz Elliott, spokesperson for Denver-based DCP Midstream, citing the Searsport Planning Board’s initial meetings last week to review the $40 million project before issuing a final decision later this spring. “It’s unfortunate, but with these local circumstances, we don’t forsee doing future capital development in Maine.” The board members found that certain elements of the project did not meet the town’s ordinances. “Very extensive time, resources, passion — we really believed in this,” Elliott said, adding that the company decided to withdraw the application “as a courtesy” to the Searsport Planning Board.[16]

January 2, 2013: California Sues Phillips for Environmental Violations at Gas Stations

Bloomberg reported on January 2, 2013 that California Attorney General Kamala Harris and and seven county district attorneys filed a complaint on January 2, 2013 in state court seeking an order to force ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 to comply with California’s laws for underground gasoline storage tanks as well as unspecified civil penalties for violating the state’s health and safety code. “The state’s hazardous waste laws help protect our residents from contaminated groundwater,” Harris said in a statement. “This lawsuit safeguards public health by ensuring proper maintenance of the tanks that store fuel beneath many California communities.” The People v. Phillips 66, RG13661894, Superior Court of California, Alameda County (Oakland) accuses the two companies of improperly monitoring, inspecting and maintaining underground storage tanks.[17]

November 12, 2012: Proposed Consent Decree Reached over Contamination at Cahokia Site

The Madison Record reported on November 12, 2012 that the federal government last week sued and reached a proposed settlement with thePhillips 66 Pipeline LLC in St. Clair County seeking to recover some of the money it spent on cleaning up the Rogers Cartage Site in Cahokia after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an enforcement action memorandum in 2011 noting the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the site and directing Phillips 66 to excavate and remove about 16,575 tons of soil. Rogers Cartage Co. and its corporate parent, Tankstar Inc., were listed as potentially responsible parties to the contamination in a 2009 EPA liability notice. Phillips 66 received the notice as the current owner of the site. In 2011, Phillips 66 sued Rogers Cartage for cost recovery and injunctive relief. Phillips 66 will amend its complaint to pursue a claim for contribution if the proposed decree is approved.[18]

October 24, 2012: Louisiana Supreme Court Asked to Review Phillips 66 I-10 Bridge Case

KPLC reported on October 24, 2012 that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD ) hopes the Louisiana Supreme Court will reverse the decision by Judge Clayton Davis to postpone the trial against Phillips 66 on a lawsuit for spilling an estimated 1.7 million pounds of ethylene dichloride (EDC). Judge Clayton Davis continued the lawsuit until a three-year environmental impact study is done. DOTD officials have said when a new bridge is built, they must avoid hitting the underground plume of chemical contamination to avoid spreading it and estimates the state's damages from the spill are $235-million, including the increased cost of a bridge with spans long enough to bypass the spill. "DOTD would like to move forward with the case and get a trial date," said DOTD Attorney Patrick McIntire. "Phillips 66 believes the trial court's [original] ruling was well-reasoned and fair," said a spokesman for Phillips 66.[19]

October 6, 2012: Roxana School District Receives $10 million More in Property Tax Revenue from Reassessment of the Wood River Refinery

The Telegraph reported on October 6, 2012 that for the 2012 fiscal year, the Roxana School District received $10 million more in property tax revenue from the reassessment of the Wood River Refinery, operated by Phillips 66, with about $9.5 million of the increase attributable to the district's operating funds. The district still is working toward securing a long-term agreement with the refinery, said Superintendent Deb Kreutztrager.[20]

On March 31, 2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that at issue is the completion of a $3.8 billion expansion at the Wood River Refinery in 2011. Phillips 66 sought to blunt an expected increase in its assessed valuation — on which property taxes are based — by claiming that the vast majority of its operation is dedicated to pollution control. A pollution control facility designation means significantly smaller assessment increases, which mean that school districts and other taxing bodies get smaller increases in revenue. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the village of Roxana and the school districts in Roxana, Wood River and East Alton. They say they were not initially aware of the move because the Pollution Control Board and Illinois EPA did not provide proper information and public access to meetings, in violation of the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act. As a result, the suit claims, the local governments have not been able to formally dispute what they say is an obviously suspect claim: that $3 billion of the project's $3.8 billion expansion was dedicated to pollution control rather than the business of refining fuel.[21]

The refinery and a larger group of affected taxing bodies negotiated an agreement in 2005 that established tax valuation through 2010. That agreement set the value at about $265 million — an increase of about $85 million — and provided for annual increases at a rate 1 percentage point below any increase of the Consumer Price Index. The refinery also agreed to supplemental payments of more than $3 million for previous tax years. In March 2012, the Madison County Board of Review set the 2011 assessed value at $402.2 million, reflecting a market value of $1.2 billion. It would affect taxes payable this year. That is up sharply from the 2010 valuation of $93.4 million, based on a market value of $280 million.[22][23]

The huge expansion increased the refinery's oil-processing capacity by about a third, to 356,000 barrels per day, and enabled it to process heavy crude from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. The oil arrives via the 2,100-mile-long Keystone Pipeline, which opened last year. Melissa Erker, a spokeswoman for the refinery, would not comment on litigation specifics but said the pollution control exceptions are part of the state's tax code and "allow us to remain competitive relative to property taxes as compared to other refineries in the Midwest."[24]

September 19, 2012: Phillips Sues Yellowstone County over Property Taxes on Billing Refinery

Equities.com reported on September 19 that Phillips 66 has taken its property tax protest involving its Billings refinery to court in Yellowstone County filing a complaint that the Montana Department of Revenue illegally or improperly raised the refinery's market value for 2010, resulting in a tax bill that was $623,715 higher. Phillips asked Yellowstone District Judge Ingrid Gustafson to block its revised tax assessment, saying it will "suffer irreparable injury absent the issuance of a preliminary injunction." The complaint also said Montana is improperly trying to retroactively raise the refinery's tax assessment from 2003 through 2010 in order to collect more taxes. The refinery's market value in 2010 should be $379,718,534, said Phillips, not the department's retroactive change to $508,333,155. Revenue Department officials in Helena says they conducted a routine audit in July and found that Phillips 66 refinery property that had “either escaped assessment, been erroneously assessed or omitted from taxation” from 2003 to 2010, said department spokeswoman Mary Ann Dunwell. Revenue Department officials in Helena said that they are reviewing the complaint and plan to file a response by the end of next week.[25]

September 7, 2012: Maine Fuel Board Approves Permit for DCP Midstream's Searsport Megatank

The Free Press reported on September 7, 2012 that the Maine Fuel Board has issued a permit to DCP Midstream to build a 22.7 million gallon propane storage tank in Searsport, the final permitting hurdle at the state and federal levels. The next step is for the company to submit the complete site application, including all state and federal permits, to the Searsport planning board for review.[26]

July 14, 2012: Phillips Protests Property Tax for Billings Refinery

The Missoulian reported on July 14 that Phillips is one of seven refinery, utility and communications companies in Yellowstone County that is protesting their property tax bill for the 2011 tax year. When a company protests its tax bill, the money is placed in an escrow account, earning interest, until the argument is settled. Schools and other taxing entities who were counting on the funds can tap into these “frozen” taxes, but must repay some or all of the money with interest if the taxpayer wins the protest.[27]

June 26, 2012: Court Hearing held on I-10 Bridge contamination from Chemical Spill that Caused $235 million Damage twenty years ago

KPIC.TV reported on June 272, 2012 that there's been almost no progress on a new I-10 calcasieu river bridge because state highway officials say they need to avoid hitting the underground plume of chemical contamination from a chemical spill nearly twenty years ago for which Conoco Phillips and Sasol are responsible and the State Department of Transportation and Development estimates the state's damages from the spill are $235 million including the increased cost of a bridge with spans long enough to bypass the spill. They don't want to drive pilings through the plume for fear of spreading the contamination. The state has filed suit to get that added cost and the jury trial is set for October. "There's contamination in the ground and the groundwater where we need to build the bridge. It's going to cost extra to stay out of the contamination when the bridge is built and that's the damages that the state is requesting that be awarded in the lawsuit. The state would like to stay out of the contamination and span the contamination and that's what drives up the extra cost," says Attorney Patrick McIntire representing the state of Lousiana.[28]

Conoco Phillips and Sasol say it's uncertain what kind of bridge should be built--and that the trial on that part of damages should be delayed until an environmental impact study which will take at least three years. "We are a valued member of this community, and are committed to being a part of the solution for this project in a manner that is consistent with the on-going federal environmental review process. The resolution of the motion presented today will not delay this project in any way," says Phillips 66 in an official statement.[29]

June 1, 2012: Plan for DCP Midstream's Giant Propane Gas Tank in Maine Generates Opposition

The Maine Public Broadcasting Company reported on June 1, 2012 that DCP Midstream's plan to build a 137-foot high, 23-million gallon liquid propane gas tank next to the Mack Point industrial area has generated heated opposition in communities along the midcoast as selectmen on the island community of Islesboro added their names to the list of people raising concerns about the tank. "Concerns about the project on the mainland have fallen into several categories," writes Jay Field. "There are those who say the tank is simply an eyesore that dwarfs all other industrial facilities in the area and threatens the sense of place on the midcoast. Others dread the large increase in truck traffic on Route 1 that will come if the project moves forward. Still others worry about the safety hazards of storing so much highly-flammable, liquid petroleum gas in one place." Even if it's approved, the project is all but certain to be challenged in court by opponents for years to come.[30]

May 29, 2012: Illinois’ Attorney General Sues Owners of Wood River Refinery for Ground Water Pollution

Saint Louis Today reported on May 29, 2012 that Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the current and past owners of the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois claiming they're responsible for polluted groundwater around the refinery. The suit comes just months after the Village of Roxana filed a similar lawsuit alleging contamination from the plant. The lawsuit claims the companies have allowed oil, gasoline and other toxins to permeate the groundwater and spread beyond the plant’s property line. "These companies must be held accountable for the environmental and public health damage caused by this contamination,” said the attorney general in a statement. The refinery is jointly owned by Cenovus Energy and Phillips 66, which operates the plant. Melissa Erker, a Phillips 66 spokeswoman, said the company has been working with Shell and state environmental regulators to allow access for remediation of historical contamination. "It is our belief that we are named because of our direct relationship with the former owner," Erker said.[31][32][33]

May 26, 2012: Oklahoma Property Owners Fight DCP's Gas Pipeline

The Daily Oklahoman reported on June 18, 2012 that DCP Midstream has filed lawsuits in district court that seek eminent domain judgments against 14 property owners in Oklahoma County as landowners have rejected DCP offers to pay for a portion of their land and say they will fight to keep the company off their land. “It’s not a matter of money for most of us, it’s a matter of principle,” says Joe Freund, a retired physician who lives on 40 acres of forestland about a mile east of Arcadia who is concerned that clearing a 75-foot wide strip of forest that runs the length of his property would tarnish the aesthetics that attracted him to this plot in the first place. “They claim that it’s for the public good and perhaps it is, but they won’t even move their pipeline one inch to avoid taking down trees a hundred years old.” DCP Midstream says the pipeline would tie gathering and processing systems across central and western Oklahoma to their existing line and is part of $2 billion in capital investments currently under development by DCP. “It’s about de-bottlenecking for the producers and finally giving them an opportunity to get their product to market," says Roz Elliott, vice president at DCP Midstream, adding that DCP hopes to run 250 million cubic feet of liquid natural gas to coastal markets every day by the middle of 2013.[34]

Master Index for Phillips 66 Articles

References

  1. Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. "Phillips 66 CEO praises city" by Kelcey King. August 28, 2008.
  2. New Times. "Organized opposition: Phillips 66 health and safety specialists allege they were punished for unionizing" by Colin Rigley. April 14, 2014.
  3. New Times. "Organized opposition: Phillips 66 health and safety specialists allege they were punished for unionizing" by Colin Rigley. April 14, 2014.
  4. New Times. "Organized opposition: Phillips 66 health and safety specialists allege they were punished for unionizing" by Colin Rigley. April 14, 2014.
  5. New Times. "Organized opposition: Phillips 66 health and safety specialists allege they were punished for unionizing" by Colin Rigley. April 14, 2014.
  6. CSP Daily News. "Phillips 66 to Pay $500,000 Over Clean Air Act Violations" March 26, 2014.
  7. Contra Costa Times. "Phillips 66 oil refinery in Rodeo to pay $230,900 for air pollution violations" by Denis Cuff. March 10, 2014.
  8. San Fransisco Chronicle. "Phillips 66 fined for air-quality violations at Rodeo refinery" by Victoria Colliver. March 10, 2014.
  9. Contra Costa Times. "Compliance hearing Monday for Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery" by Tom Lochner. February 28, 2014.
  10. Contra Costa Times. "Rodeo: Phillips 66 agrees to pay $6,000 in state fines for water pollution violations" by Tom Lochner. January 29, 2014.
  11. Insurance Journal. "Utah Claims Settled by Phillips 66 for $2 Million" by Paul Foy. January 14, 2014.
  12. Salt Lake City Tribune. "Accused of bilking cleanup fund, Phillips 66 pays Utah $2 million" by Brian Maffly. January 9, 2014.
  13. Salt Lake City Tribune. "Utah suing ConocoPhillips for fraud over cleanup funds" by Judy Fahys. July 11, 2012.
  14. Billings Gazette. "CHS, Phillips 66 refineries continue tax protests" by Clair Johnson. May 31, 2013.
  15. The Trinidad Times. "Pipeline permit delays project; Company would like to start June 1" by Steve Block. April 19, 2013.
  16. Bangor Daily News. "Developer withdraws proposed Searsport tank application" by Abigail Curtis. April 2, 2013.
  17. Bloomberg. "Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips Sued by California Over Tanks" by Edvard Pettersson. January 2, 2013.
  18. Madison Record. "Proposed consent decree reached over contamination at Cahokia site" by Bethany Krajelis. November 12, 2012.
  19. KPLC. "La. Supreme Court asked to review I-10 Bridge case" by Theresa Schmidt. October 24, 2012.
  20. The Telegraph. "Contract talks snarled in Roxana district" by Kathie Bassett. October 6, 2012.
  21. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Tax break frozen as judge hears dispute on assessment of Wood River Refinery" by Kevin McDermott. March 31, 2012.
  22. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Tax break frozen as judge hears dispute on assessment of Wood River Refinery" by Kevin McDermott. March 31, 2012.
  23. The Telegraph. "Roxana teachers send message" by Kathie Bassett. October 11, 2012.
  24. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Tax break frozen as judge hears dispute on assessment of Wood River Refinery" by Kevin McDermott. March 31, 2012.
  25. Equities.com "Phillips 66 Billings refinery sues over property taxes" September 19, 2012.
  26. The Free Press. "Maine Fuel Board Approves Permit for Searsport Megatank" by Christine Parrish. September 7, 2012.
  27. The Missoulian. "Corporate tax protests a concern in Yellowstone County" July 14, 2012.
  28. KIPT TV. "Court hearing held on I-10 Bridge contamination" by Theresa Schmidt. June 26, 2012.
  29. KIPT TV. "Court hearing held on I-10 Bridge contamination" by Theresa Schmidt. June 26, 2012.
  30. Maine Public Broadcasting Company. "Plan for Giant Propane Gas Tank in Searsport Generates Opposition" by Jay Field. June 1, 2012.
  31. St. Louis Today. "Illinois AG sues refinery over groundwater pollution" by Jeffrey Tomich. May 29, 2012.
  32. Reuters. "Illinois sues Wood River, alleging water pollution" May 29, 2012.
  33. Illinois Attorney General. "MADIGAN FILES LAWSUIT ALLEGING POLLUTED GROUNDWATER AT WOOD RIVER REFINERY IN ROXANA" May 29, 2012.
  34. NewOK.com "Oklahoma County property owners fight against gas pipeline" by Zeke Campfield. May 26, 2012.

About the Author

Hugh Pickens

Hugh Pickens (Po-Hi '67) is a physicist who has explored for oil in the Amazon jungle, crossed the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia, and built satellite control stations for Goddard Space Flight Center all over the world. Retired in 1999, Pickens and his wife moved from Baltimore back to his hometown of Ponca City, Oklahoma in 2005 where he cultivates his square foot garden, mows nine acres of lawn, writes about local history and photographs events at the Poncan Theatre and Ponca Playhouse.

Since 2001 Pickens has edited and published “Peace Corps Online,” serving over one million monthly pageviews. His other writing includes contributing over 1,500 stories to “Slashdot: News for Nerds,” and articles for Wikipedia, “Ponca City, We Love You”, and Peace Corps Worldwide.

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