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Arrest made in 1978 Alaska pipeline bombing

By Dan Joling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Federal prosecutors on Friday announced the arrest of a man suspected of bombing the trans-Alaska pipeline in 1978, less than a year after it began moving crude oil 800 miles from the Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

Phillip Martin Olson, 61, of Fairbanks was indicted on charges of making false statements to the FBI regarding the bombing. He was arrested Friday morning in Fairbanks and held pending a detention hearing Thursday.

Olson acknowledged carrying out the bombing and falsely implicated another person by saying the other person assisted him, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said in the announcement.

On March 9th Work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Starts

Olson was jailed at Fairbanks Correctional Center. Directory assistance did not list a telephone number for him.

Olson cannot be charged with the actual bombing, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini, because the statute of limitations has run out more than 35 years after the incident north of Fairbanks.

"The statute of limitations has expired on any statutes that were in effect or have been enacted since then," he said.

The case that has long been a mystery to Alaskans. No one previously had been charged in the incident.

A pilot flying over the pipeline on Feb. 15, 1978, spotted crude oil spurting from pipeline.

By the time the workers had shut down the flow, about 12,000 to 14,000 barrels, or up 588,000 gallons of crude, had hit the ground.

Investigators determined that the breach was caused by a bomb placed on the 48-inch pipe.

According to the indictment, the FBI in November was informed that Olson had made statements admitting he carried out the bombing.

That spurred an investigation by the agency and Alaska State Troopers and interviews with Olson and others. Prosecutors said that on three occasions, Olson acknowledged carrying out the bombing but said another person also took part.

Prosecutors did not say who Olson implicated.

Conviction for making false statements could result in a prison sentence of up to five years and fine of up to $350,000, Bottini said.

The bombing was not the last time the pipeline was breached.

Daniel Lewis was convicted of oil pollution, criminal mischief and other charges for firing a powerful hunting rifle into the pipeline on Oct. 4, 2001. The hole allowed 285,000 gallons of oil to leak near Livengood. Cleanup costs exceeded $13 million.

Lewis in June 2003 was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

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henchaser61 May 24 2014 at 8:24 AM

you cant lie to the gov, they can lie to you

Flag Reply +63 rate up
5 replies
buckeye3118 May 24 2014 at 4:43 AM

Proof that Eco-Marxists have been around for years, making sure Al-Jazeera Gore's bank account keeps growing.

Flag Reply +53 rate up
6 replies
mseeney328 May 23 2014 at 11:12 PM

So Daniel Lewis gets convicted for oil pollution.Shouldn't BP be convicted for oil pollution?I think so.

Flag Reply +40 rate up
18 replies
mkraven77 May 24 2014 at 7:55 AM

Since when is there a statute of limitations on terrorist activity

Flag Reply +38 rate up
5 replies
Marissa May 24 2014 at 5:39 AM

If this guy get prison time, then CEO's of oil companies like BP should as well.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
3 replies
msggov May 23 2014 at 11:13 PM

Environmental Terrorism, can't win on logical arguments then use territorial tactics, American is to dumb to know the difference between fact and fantasy.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
6 replies
Denise Heron May 23 2014 at 10:50 PM

Amazing no right wings commenting on this? We wonder why our country is in deep it for oil spills.....

Flag Reply +12 rate up
26 replies
alspoolhall May 24 2014 at 3:30 AM

Thank goodness that pilot saw the oil leak on the pipeline or goodness knows how much oil would have spewn out. Isn't there a way to tell about a section of the pipeline being bombed or a hole opening up without an airplane happening to fly overhead? Daahhhh!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
8 replies
Rick May 24 2014 at 12:30 AM

I think someone should help him not wake up one day.... this guy deserves to die.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
4 replies
Rick Brueckner May 24 2014 at 9:38 AM

What a bunch of depressing stupid comments. The guy is a criminal. He tried to destroy a pipe line and cause a disaster. Still, you lefty freaks think BP should be in jail!?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
quixoticjak Rick Brueckner May 24 2014 at 3:35 PM

British Petroleum, yes, should be in prison, and shouldn't be polluting America

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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