TEMPLE INLAND SENTENCED IN FEDERAL COURT TO PAY $3.3 MILLION IN FINE AND RESTITUTION
TIN, INC. , d/b/a/ TEMPLE INLAND, a Delaware Corporation located in Austin, Texas, was sentenced today by U. S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle to two years probation and ordered to pay a total criminal penalty of $3.3 million, for negligently causing the discharge of a pollutant from its Bogalusa Facility into the Pearl River and the taking of fish from the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
TEMPLE INLAND was ordered to $1.2 million in restitution and fined $1.5 million for the harm caused by the negligent discharge to the Pearl River and its tributaries; the loss of Gulf sturgeon (a protected species); and the loss of other aquatic life. One million dollars in restitution will be paid as follows: $900,000 to the Trust for Public Land, a non-profit non-governmental organization, and $100,000 to The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, also a non profit non-governmental organization, to be utilized for the acquisition, protection and management of lands and waters within the Pearl River Basin south of the Temple Inland wastewater release site. The properties acquired by both non profits will subsequently be conveyed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), primarily for the application and administration of Federal perpetual management and protections for endangered species, native wildlife, and their habitats within the Pearl River drainage system. The remaining $200,000 in restitution will be paid for a research study to evaluate the river features of the Pearl River and Bogue Chitto in order to determine the potential benefit for Gulf sturgeon recovery, as well as to forecast potential hydrodynamic and geomorpohlogical changes that will be of interest to the local communities and the state. The research study will provide to USFWS a complete assessment of river morphology, habitat composition, and hydrology. The assessment will include acoustic determination of benthic substrate, bathymetric surveys above and below the structures, hydrodynamic assessments to outline current conditions and to forecast future conditions, and biological monitoring.
From the fine amount of $ 1.5 million, Temple Inland will pay community service payments of $500,000 to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to defray the costs of equipment and emergency vehicles to be used in connection with, or in support of, the detection, monitoring, testing, response and/or investigation of dumping, emissions, discharges, spills, or leaks involving violations of environmental regulations and laws; $50,000 to the Louisiana State Police Emergency Services Unit; and $50,000 to the Southern Environmental Enforcement Network for training. Because the community service payment is designated as community service by an organization, Temple Inland cannot seek any reduction in its tax obligations as a result of these payments. In addition, since the payment constitutes community service, Temple Inland cannot characterize, publicize, or refer to the payment as a voluntary donation or contribution.
In addition to the restitution, fine and community service payments, Temple Inland must implement an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) approved by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and remain in compliance with all permit requirements, rules and regulations of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
This case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency- Criminal Investigative Division, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality-Criminal Investigative Division, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dorothy Manning Taylor and Spiro Latsis.
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