|Asunto:||[LEA-Venezuela] Cuarto derrame de amargos de Cargill sancionado con multa en San Francisco, California (EEUU)|
|Fecha:||Viernes, 2 de Junio, 2006 05:46:21 (-0400)|
|Autor:||Jorge Luis Hinestroza M. <vitae @......com>
Setenta y un Mil dólares de multa debe pagar CARGILL SALT por derrame de
amargos en Bahía de San Francisco, segun la nota de Associated Press
publicada en MercuryNews.com (THE MERCURY NEWS) de San Francisco. CARGILL
SALT es una filial del gigante transnacional Cargill Inc. de Minessota
(USA), y socio del estado venezolano en la producción salinera de Los
Olivitos Estado Zulia. Los pescadores mantienen su acusación de que
PRODUSAL, (empresa mixta creada por Cargill Salt y PEQUIVEN para ofrecer sal
al Complejo Petroquimíco EL TABLAZO) lanza los amargos clandestinamente
hacia las inmediaciones del Refugio de Fauna Silvestre y Reserva de Pesca de
Los Olivitos, tambien sitio Ramsar, causando daños a la flora y la fauna del
lugar, y dañando la pesquería.
Posted on Thu, Jun. 01, 2006
Cargill Salt fined $71K after brine spill into San Francisco Bay
SAN FRANCISCO - Agribusiness giant Cargill Salt must pay a $71,000 fine
after a worker accidentally released thousands of gallons of toxic brine
into the San Francisco Bay, state water regulators said.
About 7,100 gallons of a substance called bittern, which is used to de-ice
roads and is harmful to aquatic life, spilled into the bay June 1, 2005 near
the Newark Barge Canal after a worker on a railroad tank car filled with the
substance opened a valve beneath the car, allowing the bittern to rush out.
No ecological damage was observed, but the surrounding marsh that day had 13
times the salt saturation of the saltiest bay waters. Water officials
believe the substance could have sunk to the bottom and harmed species
The Minnesota-based company has had at least four bittern spills into the
bay since 2000, and regulators felt it had not implemented adequate
safeguards, Bruce Wolfe, executive officer for the San Francisco Bay
Regional Water Quality Control Board, said Wednesday.
The company spilled 36,900 gallons of bittern into the bay in September 2002
but was not fined because water samples were not taken and staff cuts at the
water quality control board hindered the investigation, Wolfe said.
The company can appeal the fine at the water board's July 12 meeting.
A call to a company spokeswoman was not immediately returned early Thursday.
Separately, the state attorney general's office is seeking to suspend or
revoke the license of real estate appraiser Charles D. Bailey over
accusations he produced a "grossly misleading" valuation on 16,500 acres of
Cargill tidal marsh and salt ponds sold that state and federal wildlife
departments bought for $100 million in 2003.
The complaint accuses Bailey of engaging in more than 20 instances of
professional misconduct in preparing the evaluation.
Bailey, of Mill Valley, said Wednesday the accusations are without merit and
noted the appraisal was reviewed by several outside panels.
Cargill fined over spill
By Paul Rogers
SALT FIRM'S TOXIC BRINE ENDED UP IN THE S.F. BAY
State water officials have fined Cargill Salt $71,000 after the Newark firm
spilled thousands of gallons of toxic brine last year along the eastern
shore of San Francisco Bay.
The spill occurred on June 1, from a railroad tank car parked near the
Newark Barge Canal, an inlet south of the Dumbarton Bridge near Cargill's
The substance spilled was bittern, a toxic byproduct of salt-making that is
up to 10 times as salty as the ocean and harmful to fish, shrimp and other
aquatic life. Bittern is used to reduce dust on dirt roads and to de-ice
State officials who responded after Cargill reported the incident said they
did not see floating fish or other evidence of ecological damage in
surrounding marshes. However, bittern is heavier than water and can sink to
the bottom, affecting species there, water quality experts have said.
Cargill, an agribusiness giant based in Minneapolis, uses large evaporation
ponds ringing the bay to produce thousands of tons of salt a year for food,
medicine and de-icing roads.
The incident was Cargill's fourth bittern spill into the bay since 2000.
Last week, the company was notified of the fine by Bruce Wolfe, executive
officer for the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board in
``I think the incident was significant, but not extremely damaging,'' Wolfe
``We were more concerned that the procedures Cargill had in place were not
adequate. This was preventable. In general, Cargill's procedures are quite
good, but this is an area they should improve.''
The water board's investigation found that a Cargill employee, thinking a
railroad car was empty, opened a valve on the bottom of the car parked on
tracks near the bay.
In fact, the car was full of bittern. Hardened salt that had blocked the
opening dislodged, and 17,650 gallons spilled. Some was captured in a
containment basin, but 7,100 gallons poured into Barge Canal, which flows
into Newark Slough and San Francisco Bay.
Tests that day showed the marsh had salinity levels 13 times the normal
level of the saltiest bay waters. For five days afterward, samples in the
area showed unusually high levels of salinity.
Calls to Cargill spokeswoman Lori Johnson were not returned Wednesday.
The company has three options: pay the fine, appeal it at the water board's
July 12 meeting or fund an environmental restoration project somewhere in
the bay for up to $43,000, paying the rest of the fine in cash.
Environmentalists said the fine is a good start.
``It's about time that the regional board is actually fining Cargill,'' said
Sejal Chokski, director of the San Francisco Bay program Baykeeper, an
environmental group based in San Francisco.
The water board did not take enforcement action after Cargill's other three
bittern spills. In September 2002, the company spilled 36,900 gallons of
bittern into the bay at Newark and faced potential fines of more than
$300,000. Several commercial fishermen in Alviso reported that shrimp
catches were reduced for months afterward.
Why didn't the state fine Cargill then?
Wolfe said Wednesday that the investigation went off track when the two
staff members assigned to the case departed. Because of state budget cuts,
his agency has shrunk from 143 employees to 119 since 2001, he said. Also,
state Fish and Game officials did not take water samples in 2002 immediately
after the incident, so there was incomplete evidence.
Cargill also had a bittern spill on April 17, 2004, according to state
records. That spill occurred from a cracked pipe on the company's facility
at the Port of Redwood City; an unknown amount of bittern went into the
storm drain there.
Cargill gained national attention in 2003 when it sold 16,500 acres of South
Bay ponds to the state and federal government to restore as wetlands for
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