CITGO was fined $19 million for spilling 54,000 barrels of “slop oil” into the Louisiana River in 2006.
The Department of Justice said Thursday that CITGO Petroleum Corporation will pay $19.7 million for a spill in Louisiana in 2006.
The US and the state of Louisiana sued the Houston-based firm for money damages to natural resources caused by a large oil spill from its refinery in Lake Charles onto neighboring waterways.
The Justice Department said in a press release that “at least 54,000 barrels of slop oil (2,268,000 gallons) and untold millions of gallons of oily wastewater breached the faulty secondary containment berm around the tanks and flowed into the waterways, including the adjacent Indian Marais waterway, the Calcasieu River, and the Calcasieu Estuary.”
The incident polluted almost 150 miles of shoreline, including residential and marsh areas, and prompted the ship passage to close. The oil spill killed birds, fish, and other aquatic creatures.
To pay for the damages caused by the 2006 oil spill, federal and state trustees will utilize $19.18 million of the $19,688,149.83 paid out by CITGO for restoration initiatives.
The agreement, according to officials, sends a message that individuals who pollute the environment will be held accountable.
In a statement, Jean Williams, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said, “Oil companies have a responsibility to protect our waters, people, wildlife, and diverse habitats from oil spills, and those who violate that duty will be held accountable for the harms they cause.”
CITGO was contacted for comment by this website, but no response was received before publishing.
CITGO’s “gross negligence” in the management and maintenance of its Lake Charles treatment facility was found to be the cause of the 2006 spill in a previous trial brought by the US Environmental Protection Agency. During a rainfall, the refinery’s tanks overflowed due to faulty operating and insufficient storage.
According to court records, CITGO sent 1,500 people and 60 miles of boom, vacuum trucks, skimmers, and other cleanup equipment during the peak of the spill response. However, the court found that the company’s initial response was “slow and insufficient,” and that it neglected to alert the Coast Guard of the incident’s “real severity.”
For violating, the corporation was fined $81 million by the federal government. This is a condensed version of the information.