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Dredging firm to pay $1M for restoration work oil spill

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NEW ORLEANS — A Houston dredging firm has been ordered to pay a $1 million superb for an oil spill that occurred when a subcontractor reduce by means of an oil pipeline throughout barrier island restoration work off Louisiana in 2016.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, which describes itself because the nation’s largest dredging firm, was sentenced final Thursday for violating the Clean Water Act, in response to a information launch from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans.

Great Lakes “recklessly violated regulations designed to protect the environment and then tried to hide their actions,” Kimberly Bahney, particular agent answerable for the Environmental Protection Agency’s felony enforcement program in Louisiana, mentioned Friday in that information launch.

The spill occurred when a marsh buggy hit a pipeline whereas digging and transferring sediment to create a part of the island’s new define, releasing an estimated 5,300 gallons (20,000 liters) of crude oil and oiling about 200 birds.

The restoration at Chenier Ronquille, a barrier island east of Grand Isle, was paid for by cash from the 2010 BP oil spill.

Great Lakes, which was headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, in 2016 however has since moved to Houston, pleaded responsible in June 2021. As a part of the plea, it mentioned it violated state and federal legal guidelines by failing to inform firms about persevering with work close to their pipelines. A press release filed with the responsible plea additionally mentioned Great Lakes’ failure to correctly supervise James Tassin, whose marsh buggy punctured the pipeline on Sept. 5, 2016, was a reason for the spill.

Tassin, a Shallow Water Equipment LLC worker, pleaded responsible in March 2021 to violating the Clean Water Act. His sentencing is scheduled Aug. 16, in response to on-line court docket paperwork.

A Great Lakes worker advised him to dig close to pipelines although that space wasn’t within the plan accepted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in response to the information launch.

It mentioned Great Lakes had not gotten pipeline firms’ phrase that it was protected to dig, and Tassin mentioned a Great Lakes worker advised him “not to tell anyone that Tassin had been digging near the site of the spill.” The two Houston companies that owned the pipeline, Harvest Pipeline Company and Arrowhead Gulf Coast Pipeline, LLC, sued for damages including cleanup costs. Prosecutors said Great Lakes agreed to pay nearly $3.2 million and Tassin’s employer agreed to pay it nearly $1.7 million.

U.S. District Judge Greg Guidry last week rejected prosecutors’ request to make Great Lakes pay a total of at least $6 million in restitution for the spill, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The investigation would be too unwieldly, “while unnecessarily stalling an end to the Chenier Ronquille incident,” he wrote. Besides, he said, the figure probably wouldn’t be far from the figure settled on for the damage suit.

Money to pay the superb is already in a court docket account. Great Lakes deposited $2 million for potential restitution when it pleaded responsible, and can get the remainder again, in response to court docket paperwork.


Dredging firm to pay $1M for restoration work oil spill.
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