The Testimony of
Mr. Jonathan Olcott
Attorney at Law, Olcott and Shore, on behalf of the Silver Creek Homeowners' Association
My law firm is known as Olcott & Shore, PLLC. We are located in four cities in Arizona: Tucson, Oro Valley, Phoenix and Goodyear. We represent the Silvercreek Homeowners Association ("Silvercreek"). That is the community in which the rupture of Kinder Morgan's pipeline occurred.
A contractor quickly began removing the contaminated dirt. Some of the dirt was piled on the Association's common area. Kinder Morgan is working with us to ensure the soil is remediated. Silvercreek does not own the tract in which the pipeline is located.
The reaction by the community has been surprising. I can divide the community into two classes: 1) the majority is not overly concerned about the rupture and the fact they live near a gasoline pipeline; and 2) the minority are concerned about safety, and a decline in property values.
On August 19, the Board of Directors of Silvercreek ("Board") held a Board meeting. In the notice of the meeting to the community, the Board indicated that a topic of deliberation would be the rupture. The media attended the meeting, but the only homeowners who attended did not comment on the rupture.
I met with Kinder, Morgan personnel before the meeting. The Kinder, Morgan representatives invited themselves to the impending Board meeting. We declined the invitation as premature. They were open and cooperative. They accepted full responsibility for the rupture. They did not blame any other entity for the rupture. They promised to cooperate with Silvercreek to ensure the remediation would be effective. I requested Kinder Morgan to forward to me a copy of the contamination report. I have yet to receive it. Kinder, Morgan has otherwise been cooperative in providing literature on the pipeline location, testing procedures and hazards of living near a gasoline pipeline.
Later we invited Kinder, Morgan to attend another community meeting to update the community on Kinder, Morgan's activities. It occurred in September. Invitation cards were hand-delivered to each household. Silvercreek has 288 households. Approximately 35 to 40 homeowners chose to attend. Many were husband and wife; so less than 35-40 households were represented.
Kinder, Morgan continues to stay in contact with Silvercreek.
The President of Silvercreek is Ramie Fisher. She indicated that the majority of the community appears to accept the rupture of, and proximity to, the pipeline as an acceptable hazard of modern living. Many have indicated to me that they understand that there are hazards involved with the proximity of natural gas and electrical utilities throughout the community. They have seen the signs that disclose the presence of the gasoline pipeline.
Silvercreek is a relatively new community. Most homeowners are original owners. The minority has expressed frustration with the lack of disclosure of the pipeline in the Subdivision Public Report. The second phase of Silvercreek is adjacent to the pipeline, and closer to the pipeline than Phase I. The homes in Phase II are still under construction. The Developer did disclose the pipeline in the public report for Phase II.
The committee should know that the homes that are immediately adjacent to the pipeline are in Phase II and are not occupied. Were they occupied, I suggest the homeowners would have substantial concerns about the pipeline.
It is possible that the minority are those who live closest to the pipeline in Phase I.
The minority has expressed concern about safety. Silvercreek has only one roadway access. The Board is crafting an evacuation plan in the event of a calamity. The minority has also expressed concern that their property values have declined. They are probably correct. I have not confirmed this proposition with an appraiser.
I maintain households in both Tempe and Oro Valley. I was traveling back and forth frequently after the rupture. When the shortage and gas lines occurred in Phoenix, I filled my tank in Tucson, Eloy or Casa Grande. The pipeline rupture had little effect on the public in Tucson. Because I am counsel to Silvercreek, I followed the media coverage closely. The rupture received substantially more media coverage in Phoenix than in Tucson.
Jonathan Olcott, Esq. 190 W. Magee Road, Suite 122(B) Oro Valley, Arizona 85704 520-229-9075
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