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3/13/2024

WT Staff


CWA CrimeBox
Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 2022; Case ID# CR_3384(Louisiana)
One of 67 Criminal Prosecutions in Louisiana under the Clean Water Act (from 1989-2021)
Bay Long oil spiller sentenced $1 million


The defendant in this case is a dredging company charged with a single count violation of the Clean Water Act for negligently discharging oil into the waters of Bay Long, east of Grand Isle in Louisiana.

The defendant, a contractor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was responsible for monitoring all pipelines located within their work area off Chenier Ronquille, a barrier island in the Gulf. Part of this responsibility is to apply and follow federal Pipeline Safety Act and follow the emergency alert "One Call” system as per Louisiana Underground Utilities and Facilities Damage Prevention Law.

Information presented to the federal district judge demonstrated that the defendant performed dredging work for months without alerting the pipeline companies before the spill.

An individual defendant, being a subcontractor of the defendant corporation, physically caused the spill. The subcontractor worked near the pipleines, digging with a "marsh buggy" under the orders and supervision of the corporate defendant's agent. According to the information presented in court documents, sometime after the corporate defendant ceased compliance with Pipeline Safety Law and One Call system, the subcontractor was directed to dig near the pipelines. This work was not called for in NOAA’s approved plans. The company had neither notified nor obtained approval from the oil companies to dig near the pipelines. The subcontractor was asked to conceal the matter of digging near the site of the spill, and did so.

In the plea documents, the corporate defendant admitted that negligent supervision of the contractor caused the spill. The corporate defendant was sentenced to a federal fine of $1 million dollars. The subcontractor was sentenced to a fine of $2500 and two years probation.

Federal fines: $1,002,500; Probation: 24 months

CWA CrimeBox briefs are compiled from EPA Criminal Enforcement records.








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