Feds sue former Temple-inland
Justice Department files charges alleging wastewater spill violated pollution laws.
Federal officials have filed criminal charges against the former Temple-Inland Inc. over an August 2011 spill of pollutants from the thenAustin-based company’s Bogalusa, La., paper mill.
The U.S. Justice Department filed two misdemeanor charges against TempleInland, alleging a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and a violation of the federal Refuge Act, according to documents filed in U.S. district court in Louisiana.
The charges stem from an incident from Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, 2011, when TempleInland’s plant released wastewater into the Pearl River near Bogalusa, a city of about 13,000 on the Louisiana-Mis- sissippi border, about 70 miles north of New Orleans. The discharge exceeded the maximum allowable pollutant levels for the plant, creating a “liquor” that “robs the water of oxygen,” according to the Justice Department’s court filing.
The discharge resulted in “a minimum of a thousand dead fish” being found, the filing said. In news reports at the time of the spill, portions of the Pearl River were described as being filled with black, oily water, with dead fish floating on the surface. The discharge was reported as far south as 50 miles and reportedly entered Lake Pontchartrain, which is just north of New Orleans.
The second of the two charges, the alleged violation of the federal Refuge Act, claims that Temple-Inland from Aug. 12-17, 2011, “did negligently take without authorization” about 1,000 dead fish from the Bogue Chitto