The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) issued an ocean shore alteration permit to Edge Cable Holdings, Inc. on March 26, 2019. The permit expires on March 26, 2021 and allows the company to install a telecommunications cable beneath the ocean shore. The company intended to bore a hole beneath the shore, starting on a private parcel in the unincorporated community of Tierra del Mar and drilling under the ocean shore to a point offshore where it will emerge from the seafloor. The operation involved using a steel drill, a clay-based lubricating fluid, and associated underground equipment to guide the drill bit along a set course.
In addition to an ocean shore alteration permit, the project required permission from other public agencies, including the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL). DSL has jurisdiction over a portion of the Oregon seabed below low tide.
On April 28, 2020, the drill pipe broke and drilling operations stopped. OPRD was informed of the malfunction on June 17. This material is still under the seabed, and some portion is under the ocean shore:
- ~1,100 feet of 5-7/8-inch (outer dimension) drill pipe.
- 10-5/8-inch diameter carbide drill tip.
- ParaTrack Gyro Module.
- ParaTrack Steering Tool.
- 6,500 to 6,700 gallons of drilling fluid containing Super Gel-X®, Platinum D-D, and Wyo-Vis DP among otehr substances (note: this was originally reported as possibly some combination of Bore-Gel, Quick-Bore and Pac-LE; the description has been updated following receipt of a hazard assessment report).
According to DSL, when the drill equipment was removed from the bore hole without notice or discussion, the opportunity to fully evaluate recovery options was lost.
The ocean shore alteration permit requires the permittee to contact OPRD if any drilling lubricating fluid is released to the ocean shore. Based on the information currently available, no fluid was released on or under the ocean shore, and it doesn't appear the permittee was required to contact OPRD when the equipment malfunctioned.
OPRD sent the permittee a letter July 16, 2020 explaining the steps they must take before being allowed to resume operations under their ocean shore permit. The letter is linked in full below, but in part it requires Edge to:
- Verify the permits and agreements with other government agencies, including DSL, are still valid.
- Submit an independent hazard analysis evaluating the possible economic, scenic, and recreational effects of leaving this equipment under the ocean shore.
These requirements enforce the original permit conditions and are designed to protect the ocean shore. Facebook provided an independent hazard analysis, which OPRD has reviewed and commented on, requesting additional information. OPRD has not yet accepted the report as final.
As we learn more and decide on next steps, we will update this web page.
DSL is also in contact with the permittee separately to enforce their requirements. To be placed on a mailing list to receive an email when this page is updated with important information related just to the ocean shore part of this issue,
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