Energy company sentenced for violating US ocean dumping laws Kiely Lewandowski at 8:50 AM ET
[JURIST] Energy company Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals (KMBT) [corporate website] was sentenced Wednesday for its improper disposal of potash (potassium chloride) in violation of the Ocean Dumping Act [text]. In 2003, a KMBT employee dumped 160 metric tons of potash into the ocean after the substance came into contact with water and was therefore unsaleable. KMBT will pay a $156,000 fine and make an $84,000 community service payment to the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment. Calling KMBT's actions a "costly" violation of federal law, an EPA agent who investigated the incident said [DOJ press release]:
It is hard to imagine a clearer violation of the Ocean Dumping Act...Intentionally using the ocean as a garbage can for off spec potash is not only morally wrong, it's a crime. [KMBT] has paid a serious price for not taking care of this properly at the dock.
KMBT said [corporate press release] that as part of the settlement:
The government and the company acknowledge in a joint factual statement filed with the court that no harm was done to the environment; the former employee's actions constituted a violation of company policy; the company did not benefit financially from the incident; and no [KMBT] personnel outside of the [incident] either approved or had any knowledge of the former employee's arrangements.
In 2006, KMBT settled [JURIST report] with the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [official website] for damage caused by its Pacific network of petroleum pipelines. Problems with the company's pipelines in the region have led to over 40 spills and ruptures, including a 2004 explosion in California that killed five construction workers. KMBT agreed to spend $90 million over five years to improve its oil pipelines in the region.
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