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Press Release

Marietta Industrial Enterprises, Inc. Pleads Guilty to Causing Oil Spill On Ohio River

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Marietta Industrial Enterprises, Inc. (MIE) pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Columbus to charges related to an oil spill on the Ohio River caused by MIE on October 2, 2013.

Carter Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Jason D. Wimer, Special Agent in Charge, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Justin A. Oesterreich, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) announced the guilty plea today by MIE in front of U.S. District Chief Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

According to court documents, MIE owned and operated a barge which was located on the Ohio River, near the MIE facility in Marietta, Ohio.  On October 1, 2013, an MIE employee pumped out the ballast tanks of the barge which contained a significant amount of oil, without first checking the tanks.  By 11:00 a.m. on the day of the spill, an oil sheen could be seen on the Ohio River approximately 75 feet downstream of the barge.

In the first count of the information, MIE is charged with violating the Oil Pollution Act for negligently causing an oil spill on the Ohio River.  Also related to the oil spill, in the second count, MIE is charged with violating the Refuse Act, which prohibits the discharge of oil or oily wastewater from a barge into navigable waters of the United States.

A plea agreement, which has been submitted for the Court’s approval, provides that MIE will be fined $35,000, implement a compliance program, and be placed on probation for one year.  In addition, the plea agreement provides that $7,500 of the fine will be paid to the individual who reported the spill to the Coast Guard, and that MIE will make a community service payment of $1,000 to an organization to be named at the time of sentencing.

This case was jointly investigated by the Coast Guard and the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, all members of the Central Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Christopher J. Costantini, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous.

Updated August 28, 2015