Maine to seek permit to restore safety of nation’s most contaminated oil pipeline

Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline in N.C.

AUGUSTA, Maine — In a case that could have made headlines nationwide, the state of Maine will seek court approval to put the safety of the nation’s most contaminated oil pipeline, the O.C. Line, back into operation.

On Thursday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will grant a five-year permit to TransCanada Corp. to resume crude oil deliveries from the Maine portion of the line to Portland and Boston’s port. The line’s closure last month due to a corroding section at a high-pressure valve resulted in massive ruptures of the pipeline’s more than 90-year-old tanks, which caused an estimated $750 million in damages.

The company responsible for the line, Marathon Oil, has said it would pay for the repairs, which are estimated to cost nearly $2 billion.

TransCanada said in a statement following the ruling, “This decision is a victory for the energy future of our country and all Americans.”

TransCanada Corp. said it would apply for a five-year permit for all repairs related to the closure of the O.C. Line in Maine that occurred on Dec. 30, stating the company’s legal department believes it may have “arguable” standing to do so.

“We would have no trouble under Maine law seeking a permit for any future repairs,” TransCanada said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection received the company’s application on Wednesday, state officials said.

Department spokeswoman Jessica McKinnon said the case is scheduled for a formal hearing as early as next week. She declined further comment on the case when asked Thursday afternoon.

The permit will allow the company to operate for 120 days as it repairs two sections of the line that ruptured nearly simultaneously last month. The pipeline originally was designed to transport 500

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