Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, October 13, 2006

State fines ConocoPhillips for oil spill

Big oil companies have a habit of reaping mass profits and gouging American consumers while refusing to make amends for their messes. Fortunately, Washington State is forcing ConocoPhillips to pay for some of the environmental damage it caused:
ConocoPhillips will pay $540,000 to the state for a 1,000-gallon oil spill that marred 21 miles of Puget Sound shorelines in 2004, state officials announced Friday.

The fine is the largest the state Department of Ecology has ever issued for a spill in marine waters, and the maximum allowed under state law.

The Oct. 13, 2004, spill was first reported by a tugboat operator in Dalco Passage early the next morning. The oil sheen spread far south as the Tacoma Narrows and as far north as Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island. Much of the residue was at the south ends of Vashon and Maury islands.

Cleanup costs exceeded $2.2 million in federal funds.

Investigators determined the oil matched Alaska crude that the tanker "Polar Texas" had delivered to a refinery at Tacoma.
Federal prosecutors are considering filing charges against ConocoPhillips to force it to pay for the entire cost of the cleanup - which it should. This irresponsible oil company needs to be held accountable for not taking ownership of a giant mess that it created. Why should taxpayers pay for Conoco's mistakes? They shouldn't.

Puget Sound is a fragile ecosystem that is in need of an immediate, wide-ranging cleanup. Conoco's mess certainly didn't help that effort. The longer we wait, the more it will cost later to get rid of the garbage which is polluting our waters.

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