Barge owner agrees to restore Rhode Island environment after oil spill

Jul 06, 2000 02:00 AM

A barge owner and others responsible for a 1996 oil spill that killed millions of lobsters and other wildlife off the Rhode Island coast, agreed to pay about $ 16 mm to restore the Block Island Sound environment.
In a civil settlement announced by the US Department of Justice, the company, its insurer and other parties agreed to pay more than $ 8 mm to restore ponds, replenish shellfish and protect habitat for loons, sea birds and piping plovers. They also agreed to buy 1.25 mm female lobsters to restock Block Island Sound over the next three to five years, a projected expected to cost at least $ 8 mm. The agreement still must be approved by a federal judge.

The barge North Cape, owned by Eklof Marine of Staten Island, NY, ran aground during a storm Jan. 19, 1996, spilling 828,000 gallons of home heating oil in Block Island Sound. "Today's filing is the final chapter in a four-year struggle to restore the resources damaged during the North Cape oil spill," Gov. Lincoln Almond said in a statement. "It means we can finally begin to see tangible restoration projects." To date, Eklof and other responsible parties have agreed to pay more than $ 50 mm in criminal penalties and other spill-related costs.
Eklof has since been taken over by K-Sea Transportation. Deming Sherman, a lawyer representing K-Sea, said the company was pleased with the agreement. He said the company still faces a lawsuit by lobstermen and other claims it is trying to resolve privately.

Source: AP
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