This week, the Bureau of Land Management released a final report on an oil spill that occurred near Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
The oil spill was first spotted and reported by hikers back in March. It’s located in the Little Valley Wash, more than 50 miles upstream of Escalante River. The report filed by the BLM says that three separate events have contributed to evidence of oil in the area. The most recent is traced to a small pipeline leak that occurred in December last year and was less than 10 barrels of a salt water and oil mixture. Two other spills estimated to be more than forty years old may have deposited roughly 550 barrels of oil into the wash. Larry Crutchfield is the public information officer for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. He says currently there is no threat to wildlife in the spill area.
"Primary at this stage is to allow the material that is there to do a biodegradation and have a robust monitoring program to keep an eye on it so that if there is any storm activities or anything that might free it or move it along in the valley that we’ll be able to track and take additional action if need be,” says Crutchfield.
Crutchfield says an aggressive cleanup effort could cause more harm to the plant life in the wash. The investigation was conducted by officials from the Dixie National Forest, the BLM and representatives from Citation Oil and Gas Company.