ANCHORAGE – A Cordova corporation was sentenced today to a $450,000 fine, $550,000 in restitution, and 5 years of probation.
According to court documents, Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (“PWSAC”) illegally disposed of hazardous waste at one of its hatcheries. On June 27, 2018, the maintenance manager at the Cannery Creek Hatchery instructed an employee to burn several 50-gallon drums containing hazardous waste, causing serious injury to the employee. Cannery Creek and other hatcheries had been accumulating hazardous waste for many years without an appropriate method of storage or disposal.
As part of its probation, PWSAC will follow an environmental compliance plan requiring it to prepare an environmental compliance manual and undergo site visits by a third-party auditor, among other requirements. In handing down the sentence, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason noted it was “regrettable that it took such a serious injury to bring about this change.”
“This crime caused lifelong consequences for the victim, not to mention the harmful impact to the environment,” said S. Lane Tucker, United States Attorney for the District of Alaska. “This office will continue to investigate and prosecute crimes affecting Alaska’s people and environment.”
“The defendant ignored environmental regulations for disposing of hazardous waste, resulting in an explosion on their property and injuries to their employee,” said Scot Adair of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Alaska. “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put people’s lives and the environment in danger.”
“The health of Alaska’s National Forests depends on all of us working together to do what is right for the environment and the many who call it home,” said Alaska Region Special Agent in Charge Tim Walther of the U.S. Forest Service. “We appreciate the value our federal, state, and local partners bring to help care for the land and protect the resources our forests provide.”
The EPA Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Forest Service, and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Ivers and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwendolyn Russell prosecuted the case.