seize records at Dearborn oil plant
EPA search for those responsible for Rouge spill
David Shepardson / The Detroit News
DEARBORN -- The
Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI seized thousands
of records from Comprehensive Environmental Solutions as
part of their investigation of an oil spill into the Detroit
and Rouge rivers, according to a court document released
About 15 federal agents spent three days
last week at the oil-reclamation and disposal facility.
There, they seized detailed financial records, oil logs
and oil samples, according to the document.
A task force of federal environmental
and law-enforcement agencies is searching for the culprit
behind an April 9 spill that sent more than 250,000 gallons
of oil into the rivers. About 70,000 gallons were recovered,
while the rest were dispersed into the rivers and Lake Erie.
The spill, which closed the Rouge River
to commercial traffic for three weeks and injured migratory
birds and turtles, sent oil 27 miles downstream into the
Detroit River. Containment crews cleaned up the spill with
200-foot booms. The spill and investigation into it have
cost the Coast Guard, EPA and other federal agencies more
than $4 million so far.
Comprehensive Environmental Solutions
Chief Executive Bryan Mallindine couldn't be reached for
comment Tuesday. But in a statement it issued last week,
the Nevada-based company denied any wrongdoing and said
it was cooperating fully with the FBI and EPA.
The company -- which was Rich Coast Inc.
until March 18, when it was bought by Comprehensive -- is
spending $2 million over the next 18 months to improve the
company's "environmental capabilities," the statement said.
Also seized during the three-day search
* Records detailing who brought in oil,
along with discharge, tracking and tank-level oil logs.
* Oil manifests from April and May, a
day planner and business invoices.
* Building blueprints, financial reports
and disposal schedules.
* Computer records.
* Employee records, as well as records
from fired employees.
Oil samples from four tanks were taken
by the National Enforcement Investigations Center in Denver,
an EPA-run research laboratory that helps in criminal investigations,
for comparison with oil recovered during the spill.
Officials also will try to determine if
the amount of money the company was paid to recycle oil
was equal to the amount of oil that was cleaned and disposed
As recently as April 12, the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality sent the company a letter
saying it had violated procedures for keeping track of oil,
said Larry Aubuchon, an official in the agency's Livonia
The company has received several warning
letters for alleged violations but has never been fined,
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