Barge Company To Pay $6.6 M in Penalties for 2008 Oil Spill


  • An Indiana-based barge company has agreed to pay more than $6.6 million in penalties for causing a July 2008 oil spill in the Mississippi River.
  • It has spread more than 100 miles downriver to foul New Orleans’ shorelines and over 5,000 acres of shoreline habitat.

A recent news article published in the Wafb9 states that Barge company agrees to more than $6.6 million in penalties for 2008 oil spill that fouled New Orleans shoreline.

Agreement from American Commercial Barge Line LLC

The agreement from American Commercial Barge Line LLC was announced Monday (Oct. 4) by the U.S. Department of Justice and still requires the approval of a federal judge. If approved, it would be part of a federal Consent Decree that would settle civil lawsuits brought by the DOJ and the state of Louisiana over the incident that caused a six-day closure to river traffic from July 23-29, 2008.

Under terms of the agreement, American Commercial would purchase and preserve 649 acres of woodland wildlife habitat in upper Plaquemines Parish at an estimated cost of $3.25 million.

The title for the property, known as the Woodlands Parcel, would be held by The Woodlands Conservancy, a local nonprofit that currently manages the property for recreational and educational use.

A conservation servitude would forever limit the use of the Woodlands Parcel to passive recreation, protecting the ecological benefits of the property.

American Commercial also would cough up $2.07 million

American Commercial also would cough up $2.07 million in additional damages, on top of $1.32 million in damages already paid.

“This settlement secures full compensation for the damaged resources, including the permanent preservation of 649 acres of critical wildlife habitat along the Mississippi River just a few miles from downtown New Orleans,” said Todd Kim, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The restoration projects funded by this settlement will restore wildlife and wetlands, and enhance recreational opportunities for Louisiana’s residents and visitors.”

Duane A. Evans, the acting U.S. Attorney for the New Orleans-based Eastern District of Louisiana, said the case demonstrates the DOJ’s commitment “to utilize the full panoply of legal remedies available to protect and remediate vital water resources and the diverse ecosystems found in southeastern Louisiana.”

American Commercial tugboat Mel Oliver

Authorities said the spill of approximately 6,734 barrels (282,828 gallons) of No. 6 fuel oil was caused when the American Commercial tugboat Mel Oliver, which was pushing a barge upriver, veered into the path of the MV Tintomara, an ocean-going tanker ship sailing downriver.

The resulting oil spill spread more than 100 miles downriver toward New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish and fouled more than 5,000 acres of shoreline habitat, forcing an extensive and expensive cleanup effort.

The federal and state trustees said they would jointly use funds from the cash damages payments on projects to restore or ameliorate impacts to aquatic life, birds, wetlands and marshes along the river.

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Source: Wafb


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