Washington-Civil Penalties for Pollution

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The Washington State Department of Ecology has summarized civil penalties it assessed during the second quarter of 2006 for pollution incidents. Among others on the list were three marine-related parties. Two of the penalties indicate the possibility that the Department has become too zealous in its mission. In June, the captain of the vessel Nu C was fined $9,000 after approximately 575 gallons of diesel and hydraulic oil spilled into Grays Harbor when the vessel crashed into the North Jetty at Ocean Shores on February 12. In May, a tank barge owner was fined $1,000 after its barge spilled 109 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the Strait of Georgia when it sustained damage from a tug during docking. [Separately, the owner of the tug was fined $2,000 for the hard contact that resulted in the fuel oil spill.] Other than the two marine-related incidents cited above, the fines seem to have been assessed for acts of intentional or negligent violations. It is unclear why the agency seems to have singled out the maritime community for no-fault penalties. Source: HK Law

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