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.
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.