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Government Seeks Hefty Sentence for Concealment of Damaged PipelineJune 2, 2015

The United States Government sought jail time as well as recovery of more than $19 Million in damages for a 2011 oil spill in Wisconsin. Randy Jones, an Onshore Corrosion Coordinator for Shell Pipeline Company L.P. (“Shell”), was responsible for the operation of a pipeline that was used to deliver jet fuel oil to the airport terminal at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In January of 2011, Mr. Jones became aware that the cathodic protection system for the pipeline was not working.  Instead of reporting this problem and repairing it, Mr. Jones concealed the damage and generated false monitoring data.  The pipeline continued to operate without protection and the pipeline corroded, causing a major jet fuel spill.  The jet fuel flowed out of the underground drainage pipes and culverts into Wilson Park Creek and pooled on the airport grounds, melting asphalts.  Shell estimates that over 9,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled out of the pipeline before they were able to locate and stop the leak.  The government estimated the damages to be approximately $19.3 million. 

Mr. Jones admitted to his actions and cooperated with the government.  The federal judge followed the recommendation of the probation department and sentenced him to probation instead of the jail time recommended by the government.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice have been seeking stronger sentencing for cases involving willful violations of the law.

Related Practice: Environmental & Land Use

Attorney: Frances Stella

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NY Court Rejects Challenge to Spectra Energy's Right to Construct Natural Gas Pipeline in NY-NJFebruary 8, 2013

Spectra Energy has overcome another hurdle in its pursuit to construct a $1.2 billion dollar extension to its natural gas pipeline in New Jersey, crossing into New York. Spectra Energy's pipeline project has been going through the regulatory approval process for several years. The 16-mile pipeline is an expansion of the existing Texas Eastern Transmission and Algonquin Gas Transmission intended to bring additional supplies of natural gas to New Jersey and New York, including Manhattan. The New York State Court dismissed an environmental group's challenge to the pipeline because federal law preempts state and local review of licensing of interstate pipelines.

Related Practice: Environmental & Land Use

Attorney: Frances Stella

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