• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 36s

Fairbanks man indicted in connection with 1978 pipeline bombing

By Hope Miller 6:29 PM May 23, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A 61-year-old Fairbanks man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for making false statements to the FBI.

Phillip Martin Olson was indicted following a renewed investigation of a bombing attack on the trans-Alaska pipeline from mid-February of 1978, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.

An indictment alleges that Olson told the FBI last year and earlier this year of his personal involvement in the pipeline attack. He also “falsely implicated another individual in carrying out the bombing with him,” prosecutors said.

Although assistant U.S. attorney Joe Bottini said prosecutors do believe Olson is responsible for the pipeline attack — and that he acted alone — they can’t charge him with that crime because of the statute of limitations.

On Feb. 15, 1978, a pilot flying over the pipeline, located north of Fairbanks, “spotted what appeared to be a large plume of crude oil jetting from the pipeline,” near Nordale Road and Chena Hot Springs Road, the statement said.

An investigation found that an explosive device had been put on the pipeline and detonated. Around 12,000 to 14,000 barrels of crude oil spewed from the pipeline and onto nearby terrain before the spill was stopped, the indictment says. Despite an investigation by state and federal law enforcement, no one was charged with the bombing.

In November 2013 — more than 35 years later — the FBI was told that Olson had been saying he was responsible for the bombing. At that point, a joint investigation between Alaska State Troopers and the FBI was renewed and involved interviews with Olson and others.

When interviewed three different times, Olson said he carried out the attack and implicated another person, the district attorney’s office said.

Olson’s accusations caused the FBI to waste time and resources looking into the claim, the indictment says.

Olson was arrested in Fairbanks Friday morning and arraigned in the afternoon. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Native art fair draws crowds to Dena’ina Center

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 22:27

    The Alaska Federation of Natives convention brings Alaska Native leaders from around the state, but it also brings crafters and artisans. For many people, the Alaska Native Customary Art Fair is one of their favorite parts of the AFN convention. This year, the selection is better than ever. Hundreds of booths line the first floor […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 23

    by Carlos Faura on Oct 23, 22:22

    Kenai Peninsula – There will be isolated rain and snow on the Kenai with scattered showers from Anchorage north. Southeast - Expect rain to the south and a shower or two for the northern areas, with snow at pass levels. Interior & North Slope – It will be mostly dry with a flurry or two, […]

  • News

    Totem pole artist carves out a piece of history

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 23, 21:28

    A totem pole isn’t just a work of art for Tommy Joseph; it’s carving out a little piece of history. “That’s what a totem pole is all about is I’m telling someone’s story,” he said. “Everyone has a story.” On a warm morning in Sitka, he methodically chips away at a 10-foot cedar pole. He […]

  • Politics

    Show Me the Money: Marijuana Legalization

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 21:00

      Show Me the Money: Alaska’s Fiscal Future Four issues that could change the fortunes of Alaska… Four issues that have divided us… Four issues that will unite us as we go to the polls Nov. 4th… How can you prosper in the ever-changing landscape of living life in the 49th state?   Oct. 9 @ 9 […]

  • News

    Investigators focus on pilot error in deadly 2013 plane crash

    by Dave Leval on Oct 23, 20:22

    It’s been more than a year since two people died in a plane crash at Merrill Field. Rob Lilly and his girlfriend, Jessi Nelsen, died when they tried to land after taking off from Wasilla Aug. 24, 2013. The second phase of a federal investigation into the crash found no mechanical errors with the plane. […]

  • News

    Feds to bring indoor plumbing to Alaska village

    by Associated Press on Oct 23, 15:49

    A remote Alaska village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide to receive a share of more than $352 million in grants and loans for upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Alaska’s $12.6 million share of the funding from the U.S. Department of […]

  • News

    Governor signs bill to recognize Native languages

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 15:39

    The number of official languages in the State of Alaska has gone from one to 21 with a single stroke of a pen. Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB216 in front of a cheering crowd at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Thursday morning. The bill recognizes 20 Native languages, and adds them to English as […]

  • Crime

    Police: Pit bull death ‘extreme’ animal cruelty

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 15:17

    Police are asking for help investigating the death of a dog found hanging from a tree near the University of Alaska Anchorage earlier this month. A man walking in the woods near East 20th Avenue and Rosemary Street made the gruesome discovery Oct. 10, according to a Thursday afternoon statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]