That incident is, quite simply, unacceptable.
That's how a representative from Tesoro described the spill of 20-thousand barrels of crude oil from one of its pipelines north of Tioga this fall.
John Berger of Tesoro was addressing a state legislative field hearing in Stanley this afternoon.
He minced no words in accepting blame for the state's largest oil spill.
(John Berger, Tesoro) "In this instance we fell short of, not only our own expectations, but more importantly those of the impacted landowner and of the public. We regret the impact that this has had on them. We take full responsibility and are working to make the situation right.We are committed to leaving the land in the same or better condition than it was before the incident and are taking steps to prevent recurrence of such an incident in the future."
Berger's words came in front of three state legislators and a crowd of people, including the farmer whose land was soiled by the spill in late September.
Berger told the group that the company has implemented changes to offer better monitoring of its gas pipelines and has made other upgrades in safety as ordered by the federal agency that regulates pipelines.
State Representative Marvin Nelson asked the Tesoro official why it took a spill to get those changes.
(John Berger, Tesoro)"We did not wait for this order to move forward with the installation of that equipment. We were doing so and what this order has done is accelerated the pace of implementation."
Representative Kenton Onstad organized today's hearing as a way to get information for the next legislative session to consider for possible new regulations on oil and gas pipelines in the state.