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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>

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  (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.

Jorge Hinestroza

Posted on Thu, Jun. 01, 2006

Cargill Salt fined $71K after brine spill into San Francisco Bay

Associated Press

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
Mercury News

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 
said Wednesday.

``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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