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Facebook Plans To Be Back Drilling On Oregon Coast In Tillamook County In January To Finish Undersea Cable Project

Tillamook County, Ore. – Fm News 101 KXL is following this developing story and bringing you the latest updates. We have a new statement from Facebook this afternoon clarifying their side of this story.  In a statement to KXL Facebook says during construction of the Jupiter Submarine Cable at Tierra Del Mar back in April, a drill broke. The drilling was performed by a company they hired with experience drilling along the Oregon coast, using proven techniques. They  did an environmental assessment and concluded that instead of trying to get 1,100 feet of pipe out, that was stuck 50 feet below the seafloor, it was better to leave things in place and no negative environment impact would result – according to Facebook. They added in order to respect Tillamook county’s desire for a short construction window, they intend to complete the project next year between January and April 2021. They are also following Oregon state’s guidance on rules and regulations.

Here is the full statement from Facebook:

I understand that you had a question in regard to our Oregon efforts, please feel free to use the following statement on the matter, apologies we do not have anyone at this time to speak on the air or record the statement:

“During the construction of the 6 inch cable bore pipe for the Jupiter submarine cable at Tierra Del Mar in April, a horizontal drill broke. The drilling was performed by Subcom, a company with experience drilling along the Oregon coast, using proven techniques. An environmental assessment determined that – instead of attempting to retrieve 1100 feet of 6 inch bore pipe resting 50 feet under the seafloor – it was better to leave things in place and no negative environmental impact would result. To respect Tillamook County’s desire for a short construction window, we intend to complete the work between January and April, 2021. We are in communication with all the relevant government agencies and will continue to follow their guidance.” – a Facebook Company spokesperson

When KXL’s Jacob Dean interviewed Ali Hansen with the Oregon Department of State Lands, they said they were still waiting on a decision from Facebook, whether they were going to apply for a new permit to leave the abandoned equipment on the seafloor or not. Here is the full interview you can listen to:

Here is the latest information Ali shared with KXL:

Update on Edge Cable Holdings Fiber-optic Cable Project 

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) has notified Edge Cable Holdings of actions required to comply with the terms of their communications cable easement agreement. Edge Cable must:

Within 30 days from August 13, 2020:

  • Reach an agreement with the state regarding damages to be paid
  • Propose amendments to the easement agreement to address any current and future risks and liabilities that may arise from the abandoned equipment
  • Ensure the removal-fill permit for the project is in compliance with local, state, and federal laws

Within 180 days from August 13, 2020:

  • Either remove the abandoned equipment, in consultation with DSL and without damaging the environment in and around the easement area, or apply for and obtain an encroachment easement from the state

Under the terms of the existing easement agreement, Edge Cable must be provided with the opportunity to come into compliance. Should Edge Cable fail to comply with the terms of the easement agreement, the state may seek remedies as allowed under the agreement. These remedies include terminating the easement agreement.

A copy of the notice of default and opportunity to cure and the easement agreement are available here.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What did DSL’s initial assessment of impacts include?

As an initial step, DSL staff evaluated whether the abandoned equipment presented immediate safety or health risks to people and the environment. As part of this initial assessment, DSL staff gathered information about the location of the equipment, the equipment itself, the general geologic setting, and industry standards and practices for drill pipe breakages. This work included DSL staff reviewing the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheets for all abandoned equipment and DSL staff speaking informally with Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries staff on certain aspects.

What additional assessment will be performed?

DSL has requested that Edge Cable provide an analysis of potential health, safety, and environmental impacts due to the presence of the equipment, as well as a geotechnical survey. Additionally, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is requiring Edge Cable to provide an independent hazard analysis evaluating potential impacts to the economic, scenic, and recreational values of the ocean shore. DSL will also review the results of that analysis.

When was DSL notified of the break?

On May 6, DSL received a copy of a May 5 project update letter to Tillamook County, which noted a drill pipe break had occurred on April 28. The letter did not state equipment had been left behind.

When was DSL notified that equipment had been left behind?

Edge Cable representatives notified DSL of the abandoned equipment during a meeting on June 17, 2020.

What is the process for applying for an encroachment easement?

An application for an easement is submitted and reviewed for completeness.  When the application is determined to be complete, it is circulated for review and comment.  The Department, after reviewing comments and requesting additional information as necessary, either approves or denies the application.

How can people stay informed about the status of this project?

DSL will continue to provide email updates, as well as posting information at www.oregon.gov/DSL. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has also established a web page with information about the Edge Cable Ocean Shore Permit.

date from the company this afternoon.

 

Click here to read our original story

 

Some residents who live near the construction site have opposed the project from day one and testified before the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners before the project was approved. You can listen to that audio here.


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