A man accused of being responsible for a massive barge spilling oil into the Columbia River has been fined $405,000.
The Washington Department of Ecology issued the penalty against Bret Simpson and his company Principle Metals for the 2011 spill involving the 431-foot derelict barge called "Davy Crockett."
Investigators said the spill happened during an illegal in-water scrapping operation near Camas.
Simpson offered no assistance or cooperation in the cleanup operation that followed, according to investigators. In July 2012, he pleaded guilty to two criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
In determining the fine for Simpson, investigators said the spill was caused by his negligence and he failed to notify state authorities about it.
Seventy gallons of oil were initially documented as spilling into the water, but more than 5,700 gallons remain unaccounted for.
There were 40 days of confirmed oil spilling from the barge, from Jan. 27 to April 2011, until a coffer dam could be constructed to prevent further contamination of the river.
The bureau of ecology said Simpson also has a previous history of environmental violations.
The spill prompted a nearly 300-day response involving multiple agencies that cost $22 million in federal funds and more than $680,000 in state funding, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.
Responders had to stabilize the broken vessel before they could contain, remove and dispose of it.
Around 38,000 gallons of oil were taken from the barge. The last piece of the barge was removed Aug. 25, 2011.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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