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FISCAL YEAR: 2012
1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Criminal Case City of Pineville, Louisiana
W.D.  Louisiana  1:11-CR-00265


Following the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Gustav, the City of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station illegally discharged hydraulic fluid over the levee and into Bayou Maria, which ultimately empties into the Red River. An investigation conducted by the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, comprised of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality – Criminal Investigation Division, and the Louisiana State Police found that the source of the discharge was equipment at the City of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station, which was known by city personnel to be in disrepair and leaking hydraulic fluid.



October 13, 2011
The defendant was charged with 1 count of violating the CWA {33 U.S.C. 1319(c)(1)(A) - negligent violation}.
CITATION: 18 U.S.C. 1001
October 21, 2011
The defendant pled guilty to the charge.


Press Release

For Immediate Release
Department of Justice
United States Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana
October 21, 2011

CITY OF PINEVILLE PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL DISCHARGE

Alexandria, La. - Stephanie A. Finley, United States Attorney, announced that the City of Pineville entered a plea of guilty today in federal court stemming from an illegal discharge from a pumping station that occurred in September 2008.

Following the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Gustav, the City of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station illegally discharged hydraulic fluid over the levee and into Bayou Maria, which ultimately empties into the Red River. An investigation conducted by the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, comprised of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality – Criminal Investigation Division, and the Louisiana State Police found that the source of the discharge was equipment at the City of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station, which was known by city personnel to be in disrepair and leaking hydraulic fluid.

The minimum fine for the illegal discharge from the pumping station is $2,500 per day of violation, with a maximum fine of $25,000 per day of violation. Sentencing is set for January 4, 2012.

“We have a responsibility to protect our environment and ensure the longevity of our community’s natural resources for future generations. The prosecution of this case is a demonstration of this office’s commitment to enforce the environmental laws of the United States,” says U. S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.

“It’s unfortunate whenever there are violations of the environmental regulations,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “We at DEQ will continue to work with the federal, state and local agencies that are striving for environmental protection and encourage all to abide by environmental laws.”

“The public sector has the same obligation to obey the law as does the private sector,” said Ivan Vikin, Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement in Dallas. “Today’s guilty plea shows how EPA is working with its federal and state law enforcement partners to successfully prosecute environmental crimes.”

“Everyone must be held accountable for compliance with our environmental laws, especially municipalities and government entities, who themselves are tasked with enforcing the laws of this state and this country. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to bring to justice those who would disregard our environmental laws,” said Special Agent-in-Charge, David W. Welker.


January 4, 2012
The City of Pineville was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $15,000 federal fine.


Press Release
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2012

City of Pineville sentenced in illegal discharge case

BATON ROUGE – The city of Pineville was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana in Alexandria, stemming from an illegal discharge from a pumping station that occurred in September 2008. The city entered a guilty plea back in October 2011.

Following the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Gustav in 2008, the city of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station illegally discharged hydraulic fluid over the levee and into Bayou Maria, which ultimately empties into the Red River. An investigation conducted by the Louisiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, comprised of the U.S. EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, DEQ’s Criminal Investigation Division, Louisiana State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation found that the discharge was a result of pumps at the city of Pineville’s Huffman Creek Pumping Station, which were known by city personnel to be in disrepair and leaking diesel fuel and hydraulic fluid.

The Honorable Judge Dee Drell of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, sentenced the city of Pineville to a $15,000 fine and one year unsupervised probation. As a condition of probation the city was ordered to put in place an environmental management system to detect and prevent future violations, a complaint hotline for employees and regular employee training in federal, state and local environmental regulations. In addition, the city is required to publish an apology in The Alexandria Town Talk newspaper.

The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley and Assistant United States Attorney Joseph G. Jarzabek.

STATUTE:
  • Clean Water Act (CWA)

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