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Great Lakes Article:

Crews recover most of oil spilled into rivers


By Associated Press
04/27/02

   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 limit.
   "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 limit.
   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 source.
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