- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The criminal case of the man who told investigators he set off the 1978 explosion that damaged the trans-Alaska pipeline is in the hands of jurors.

Phillip Martin Olson, 62, is charged in federal court with making false statements to federal investigators, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/1vhWd1k) reported. He was arrested in May.

After Olson’s arrest, prosecutors said the statute of limitations in the pipeline bombing had run out.

Olson instead was charged with lying about the case to FBI investigators. Prosecutors said he told an FBI agent in November and January that an accomplice helped him set off the explosion. The false statements, according to prosecutors, cost the FBI time and resources to investigate.

Attorneys in the case finished closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.

The explosion on Feb. 15, 1978, rocked the pipeline east of Fairbanks. It was reported by a pilot who saw oil spewing from the line.

The explosion created a small hole in the 800-mile pipeline through which 12,000 and 14,000 barrels, or 588,000 gallons, of crude oil spilled. The hole was sealed the following morning.

Authorities recovered 20 feet of safety fuse used to detonate an explosive device placed inside the insulating layer of the pipeline. No one was ever charged in the incident.

An informant in November told investigators that Olson had bragged about participating in the explosion.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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