A federal judge in New Orleans has ordered the operator of a cargo ship to pay a $1.2 million criminal penalty for violating pollution laws and obstruction of justice.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. also on Wednesday sentenced Athens, Greece-based Odysea Carriers to three years of probation.
Federal prosecutors say engine room crew members on the company's ship, Polyneos, used a hose to pump oil waste directly overboard in 2011. The ship's chief engineer allegedly tried to conceal the illegal discharges from the Coast Guard by falsifying the vessel's records.
ASSUMPTION PARISH — State and local officials are investigating whether an orphaned well may be the source of natural gas bubbling up from the surfaces of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in northern Assumption Parish.
Parish officials said Tuesday the well is in swampland about 1,000 feet from the main bubbling area in Bayou Corne, The Advocate (http://bit.ly/PEW2Z5) reports.
State officials want to know exactly when ExxonMobil Chemical Plant staff knew that the amount of released naphtha, which includes benzene, was much higher than originally reported in the wake of a June 14 spill at the Baton Rouge facility.
The Advocate reports the Department of Environmental Quality issued a compliance order and notice of potential penalty against plant that in part states the facility did not notify the state and other agencies when estimates of a leak amount June 14 substantially changed.
Lake Charles city officials are taking a new look at alternative fuels for public vehicles. City Councilman Rodney Geyen has been pushing Lake Charles City Hall officials to research the costs and savings of using natural gas to run vehicles.
Geyen points to the Lafayette Consolidated Government as an example of what can be done. Lafayette officials have told Geyen that a $25,000-a-month fuel bill for five city buses was reduced to $1,800 a month using compressed natural gas.
More than two years after the catastrophic BP oil spill, environmental groups say billions of dollars BP is expected to spend on restoration should go toward buying tens of thousands of acres of coastal land for conservation, rebuilding Louisiana's eroding wetlands and creating nearly 200 miles of oyster reefs.
With the Mississippi River running at low levels, salt water is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico.
The Times-Picayune reports that denser, heavier saltwater flows upriver beneath fresh water flowing downstream when the river's flow drops below normal. The Army Corps of Engineers says salt water is not yet considered a threat to water supplies in the New Orleans area.