the film
Economic and dam related articles

Penalty Imposed on Company for Oil Spill in Columbia

by CBB Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin - March 7, 2003

The Washington Department of Ecology on Thursday issued a penalty of $67,500 to Evergreen Marine Corp. for spilling 500 gallons of oily waste from the company's container ship Ever Group into the Columbia River two years ago.

A fisherman setting his nets near the Port of Kalama on the Columbia River reported the spill on March 4, 2001. Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard investigators observed an oily sheen about 400 yards wide by a half-mile long flowing toward Longview. Ultimately, oil drifted almost 38 miles down river.

Lab analysis of oil and fuel samples taken from several ships and facilities in the Kalama area confirmed that the oil had come from the Ever Group, which was docked in the area at the time of the spill.

The Evergreen Marine Corp. denied responsibility for the spill and made no attempt to report or clean up the discharged oily waste. Ecology and the Coast Guard managed the response and cleanup. Costs were paid out of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and can be recouped through legal actions.

"We are disappointed that Evergreen did not step up to take responsibility for the spill," said Dale Jensen, who manages the state agency's spills program. "The sooner a spill is reported, the quicker we can respond and limit the damage done to our environment."

At the time of the spill, chinook salmon and wild steelhead were running up river. Some oiled birds were spotted, although they could not be captured for cleaning and rehabilitation. Jensen said that river habitat in the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills because it is largely undeveloped.

Ecology also assessed Evergreen a natural-resource damage claim in the amount of $10,078 in October 2001. The assessment is intended to pay for restoring environmental damaged caused by the spill. Evergreen is disputing that claim.

In addition to the monetary penalty, there is an ongoing criminal investigation of the spill by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Evergreen may file an application for relief from the penalty within 15 days, or may contest the penalty by filing an appeal with the state

Related Sites:

CBB Staff
Penalty Imposed on Company for Oil Spill in Columbia
Columbia Basin Bulletin, March 7, 2003

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation