$1 Million Fine In 2016 Pipeline Accident In Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Texas company pleaded guilty to a federal Clean Water Act violation and agreed to pay a $1 million fine for damaging a pipeline that leaked more than 5,000 gallons of oil in a Louisiana bay in 2016, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans said Wednesday.

Court records show the plea agreement with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company was filed Tuesday.

Prosecutors said in a document accompanying the plea agreement that an employee of a subcontractor for the company struck a pipeline while operating a “marsh buggy” excavator vehicle. Oil spilled into Bay Long, south of New Orleans, during work on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration project to restore a barrier island.

At the time of the accident, the Coast Guard reported trying to capture and treat an estimated 200 oiled birds, while collecting 6,000 gallons of oily water.

Prosecutors said Great Lakes had failed to keep pipeline companies up to date on their work and failed to adequately supervise the employee.