December 24, 2004

Tests said to identify source of Dalco Passage spill

Washington State Governor Gary Locke and U.S. Coast Guard RADM Jeffrey Garrett announced yesterday that tests conducted by both state and federal laboratories indicate the Polar Texas oil tanker, owned by ConocoPhillips, is the source of oil that soiled beaches around Dalco Passage in October.

State and federal investigators say oil samples connected to the Polar Texas match oil from the spill.

"We have a match, which makes us confident that we know the source of the oil spill," Locke said.

"I applaud the hard work and focus of our men and women in bringing the investigation to this point," said Garrett. "We have more work to do before determining what enforcement action, if any, to take."

The spill of about 1,000 to 1,500 gallons was first discovered in the early-morning hours of Oct. 14, but response efforts were hampered by darkness, bad weather and incomplete information. The U.S. Coast Guard and the state Department of Ecology have the lead in the continuing investigation of the spill.

"We appreciate that the company has been working with us to figure out the answers," Locke added. "We all want to figure out how to keep it from happening again."

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