Global Processing

ConocoPhillips to pay $540,000 in spill

October 16, 2006
ConocoPhillips will pay $540,000 to the State of Washington for spilling more than 1,000 gallons of crude oil and marring 21 miles of Puget Sound shorelines in 2004, the Associated Press reports. The state Department of Ecology said the Houston-based company agreed to pay the entire fine by the end of next week. The fine is the largest the state agency has ever issued for a spill in marine waters, and the maximum allowed under state law. Still under negotiation is a separate state, federal and tribal assessment of environmental damage from the spill. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being sought to compensate for the spill''s effects on environmental resources. The Oct. 13, 2004, spill—never reported by the company—was first reported by a tugboat operator in Dalco Passage before dawn the next morning. The sheen spread as 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. Investigators determined the oil matched Alaska crude that the tanker Polar Texas had delivered to a refinery at Tacoma. The tanker, owned by Long Beach, Calif.-based Polar Tankers, Inc., a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips Co., has since been decommissioned. Cleanup costs exceeded $2.2 million in federal funds, including $483,000 spent by state agencies that were later reimbursed by a federal oil-spill contingency fund. State officials said the federal government is seeking reimbursement from the company for the total amount. Federal lawyers announced last month there would be no criminal charges and that officials with ConocoPhillips were negotiating a civil penalty