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PA OIL SPILL LEADS TO $1.5 MILLION IN FINES

Release Date: 09/08/96
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PA OIL SPILL LEADS TO $1.5 MILLION IN FINES

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1996

OIL SPILL LEADS TO $1.5 MILLION IN FINES, RESTITUTION COSTS AND FIVE YEARS PROBATION FOR TWO ALASKA CORPORATION

On Aug. 27, two Alaska corporations, Pacific and Arctic Pipelines Inc. (PAPI) and Pacific and Arctic Railway and Navigation Co. (PARN), were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska, to pay $1.5 million in fines, restitution costs and were placed on five years probation for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. The violations occurred when the companies caused a break in an oil pipeline and a subsequent discharge of oil into the Skagway River. The companies pleaded guilty on May 23, agreeing to five years probation and to clean up several contaminated sites along the historic White Pass Alaska railroad route. PARN owns the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad that originally ran from Skagway to Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada. PAPI owns a petroleum pipeline that parallels the railroad right of way. The spill occurred as a result of PARN's illegal removal of rock from U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the pipeline six miles from Skagway. On Oct. 1, 1994, a piece of construction equipment struck the pipeline, causing a 14-inch crack. The high pressure pipeline immediately began spewing oil which ran down an embankment into the Skagway River. PAPI was convicted and sentenced for negligently discharging oil into the Skagway River, failing to report the discharge in violation of the Clean Water Act and making false statements to U. S. Coast Guard investigators about the spill. PARN was convicted and sentenced for theft of rock from U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the railroad in 1994 and for the illegal transportation of hazardous waste into Canada in 1995. PARN paid $146,280 in fines and restitution for the rock and for illegally using the railroad to transport the hazardous waste which was dumped and burned in Canada in 1995. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigations Division, the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI.

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