DETROIT -- Cleanup
crews have recovered about 50,000 gallons of used industrial
oil from the Rouge and Detroit rivers, officials said Friday.
U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brian
Hall said up to 55,000 gallons may have been released into
the rivers. Last weekend, the Coast Guard estimated crews
had recovered about 30,000 gallons.
Hall said crews hope to have the cleanup
completed by Sunday or Monday, although the investigation
into the source likely will continue longer. The spill was
discovered April 9.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell,
D-Dearborn, discussed legislation Friday that he has introduced
to increase penalties for polluters.
Dingell's "Polluter Accountability Act"
would double fines for negligent violations and increase
fines for so-called knowing violations, where polluters
are aware of their actions, by up to five times the current
"One of the great treasures that we have
in this area -- and perhaps one of the most precious natural
resources we have -- are the Great Lakes and their tributary
resources," Dingell said.
Under Dingell's plan, negligent violations
would be punished with a $5,000 to $50,000 daily fine, compared
with current law that sets the fine at $2,500 to $25,000.
And the fine for a repeat negligent violation would increase
to a maximum of $100,000 per day, from the current $50,000
The minimum fine for a knowing violation
would increase to $15,000 from $5,000, and the limit on
fines for repeat knowing violations would rise to a maximum
of $500,000 from $100,000, according to a summary released
by Dingell's office.
The Coast Guard has said that investigators
suspect -- but have not confirmed -- that the oil came from
a sewer line in Dearborn. But Hall said Friday that officials
also are looking at a Detroit sewer line and facilities
around the river.
Authorities have taken oil samples from
local industry in the effort to find the oil's origin, and
investigators have ruled out vessels on the river as a possible
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