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KOCH PETROLEUM GROUP SENTENCED FOR MINNESOTA POLLUTION

Release Date: 03/09/2000
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FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2000

KOCH PETROLEUM GROUP SENTENCED
FOR MINNESOTA POLLUTION

Koch Petroleum Group (Koch), which operates a refinery in Rosemount, Minn., was sentenced on March 1 to pay a $6 million criminal fine and pay an additional $2 million in remediation costs to the Dakota County Park System in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. This is the largest federal environmental fine ever paid in Minnesota. The defendant was also ordered to serve three years probation. Koch previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Koch admitted that it negligently discharged aviation fuel into a wetland and an adjoining waterway. Even though Koch was aware of the problem, it did not develop a comprehensive plan to recover between 200,000 - 600,000 gallons of released fuel until June 1997. In addition, the establishment of the system to recover the fuel destroyed a portion of the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife habitat. In a separate offense, Koch dumped a million gallons of wastewater with high ammonia content on the ground between November 1996 and March 1997 and also increased its flow of wastewater into the Mississippi River on weekends when Koch did not monitor its discharges. These actions allowed Koch to circumvent the weekly monitoring and reporting requirements of its wastewater discharge permit. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and was prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

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