Environmental brief ~ Shipping company pays $25M for illegal ocean dumping

[JURIST] In Tuesday's environmental law news, as part of a plea bargain with the US Department of Justice [official website], the Taiwanese container shipping company Evergreen International S.A. [company website] has agreed to a $25 million fine and pleaded guilty [DOJ press release] to 24 felony charges for concealing the deliberate, illegal discharge of waste oil into the ocean. In May 2001, the US Coast Guard discovered Evergreen was using bypass pipes aboard their ships to illegally discharge waste oil into the ocean without treating it in an oil-water separator. The Coast Guard investigation showed that at least seven Evergreen ships regularly discharged oil waste and sludge oil and concealed the discharges in fictitious logs. The Seattle Times has more.

In other news,

  • The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau has announced that the municipal government will adopt 22 tough new measures to control air pollution this year, including stricter controls on industrial smoke, automobile exhaust fumes and construction dust. It will also relocate some heavy polluters, such as coking plants, out of the city area. The China Daily has more.

  • The British House of Commons' Environment, food and rural affairs committee [official website] released a report [text, PDF] yesterday criticising government delays in bringing forward its national pesticides strategy. The report argues that the current voluntary pesticide controls are having less efficient effects than would a compulsary regulation program. The Edinburgh Scotsman has more.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection [official website] yesterday approved a new coke plant near Ebensburg, PA that is allowed to emit 47 pounds of mercury into the air each year and enough soot and smog that managers of national forests and wilderness areas in nearby states have expressed concern. The Cambria Coke Co. [company website], a subsidiary of Sunoco, received its permits just before today's federal designation of Cambria County as a non-attainment area for soot. Under the new EPA [official website]designation, the coking plant would have had to offset its emissions of soot- and smog-producing particles and compounds by paying thousands of dollars to existing pollution sources, most likely coal-fired power plants, to reduce their emissions. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has more.

 

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