The Alaska salmon hatchery Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. (PWSAC) will pay a total of $1 million and plead guilty to illegally burning waste oil and jet fuel in a 2018 incident that severely burned an employee, the local Anchorage Daily News reported.
The private, not-for-profit company will pay a fine of US$450,000 and an additional US$550,000 in compensation to the injured employee. In addition, the agreement also requires the company to follow an environmental compliance plan for a five-year probationary period.
PWSAC manages five hatcheries in the Prince William Sound region, in Alaska, including three state-owned hatcheries. According to information from the article by Alex DeMarban for Anchorage Daily News, the illegal burning occurred on July 27, 2018, at the state-owned Cannery Creek Hatchery located in Unakwik Inlet, about 40 miles east of Whittier in the Chugach National Forest.
The agreement also notes that this is not the first time the company has had such an incident at this location. In 2017 the company agreed to a civil settlement and a $55,000 fine with the state to resolve a 400-gallon diesel fuel spill from a heating oil tank.
The case is still ongoing as the agreement was signed on October 17 between Geoff Clark, the hatchery’s CEO, on behalf of the hatchery, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Ivers, but the terms of the agreement will not be filed until next November 9, when Magistrate Judge Kyle F. Reardon has set a hearing in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.