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EPA presents $500,000 to Louisiana environmental agency related to 2011 Temple-Inland spill

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EPA presents $500,000 to Louisiana environmental agency related to 2011 Temple-Inland spill

June 19, 2013 - 10:03
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BATON ROUGE, LA, June 18, 2013 (Press Release) -Today, the U S Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 Criminal Investigation Division, Special Agent in Charge, Ivan J. Vikin presented a check to DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch for $500,000. This check represents the community service payment to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Trust fund pursuant to Temple Inland's sentencing on May 29 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, for violating one misdemeanor count of the Clean Water Act.

This $500,000 payment to DEQ is to defray the costs of equipment and emergency vehicles to be used in connection with, or in support of, the detection, monitoring, testing, response and/or investigation of dumping, emissions, discharges, spills, or leaks involving violations of environmental regulations and laws. It is a result of DEQ's participation in the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force comprised of EPA-CID, DEQ-CID and LSP. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy Taylor.

The violation was due to the August 15, 2011, release by Temple Inland of approximately700,000 gallons of black water into the Pearl River causing a fish kill of more than one million fish, including the federally protected sturgeon. Members of the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force conducted numerous interviews of current employees and affected citizens. DEQ investigators spent more than 166 hours on the case.

On Feb. 6, Temple Inland made its initial appearance in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, and pled guilty to violating one misdemeanor count of the Clean Water Act, Negligent Discharge of a Pollutant into a Water of the United States and violating one misdemeanor count of the National Wildlife Refuge System Act, Negligent Taking of Fish. The total criminal penalty was 1.5 million dollars.