Aleut Enterprise will pay more than $1 million to settle criminal charges and cover damages from a fuel spill on Adak.
The spill took place back in January 2010. A tanker was unloading fuel at a facility operated by Adak Petroleum – a subsidiary of Aleut Enterprise, which is owned by the Aleut Corporation.
The receiving tank and a secondary containment system overflowed, spilling 70,000 gallons of diesel fuel into nearby Helmet Creek. From there, it flowed into Sweeper Cove – and into Adak’s small boat harbor.
The spill took almost a year to clean up. Just about 5,000 gallons of fuel were recovered. After an investigation by state and federal authorities, Alaska’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals filed a criminal case in 2013.
Prosecutor Carole Holley says that Aleut Enterprise has been fully cooperative. That’s why the state agreed to drop criminal charges and pursue a $500,000 civil penalty instead – the maximum allowable under state law.
“Our goal is to make sure that the environment is protected, that we conserve our resources, and that companies really take their obligations and their responsibilities to the state seriously,” Holley said. “And Aleut [Enterprise] did so, in this case.”
In addition to their civil penalty, Aleut Enterprise will pay another $200,000 to improve their environmental compliance programs around the state. Besides Adak, the company also has a fuel facility in Cold Bay.
Aleut Enterprise has already agreed to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars to cover environmental assessments and monitoring at the spill site.
Holley says state prosecutors have also reached a settlement with the former fuel facility manager in Adak. Michael Baker was present the day of the spill.
He’s pleaded guilty to violating his company’s oil discharge plans and failing to test overflow detection equipment. Baker will pay a $2,000 fine and serve 40 hours of community service.
Holley says that Baker will do that work at an environmental organization near his new home in Florida.
Neither Baker nor Aleut Enterprise could be reached for comment.