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HAMPDEN, Maine -- Chevron Corp. will pay $900,000 to settle a Maine Department of Environmental Protection claim that it allowed approximately 140,000 gallons of oil to leak from an oil tank farm it owned into the Penobscot River here.
The oil leak allegedly occurred decades ago and ended in the 1980s, but oil continued to discharge into the river for many years. The fine is the largest levied by Maine regulators in 20 years. Chevron accepted no responsibility for wrongdoing under a consent decree. According to officials, 2,800 tons of oil-contaminated sediment and 10,000 gallons of oil have been removed from the site since 2008.
"We've spent months negotiating this penalty, which is tough but fair, and most importantly will help restore the river and the ecosystems and economies supported by the waters," Maine Governor Paul LePage said during a press conference, as reported by the Associated Press.
Chevron responded with a statement of its own, saying it remains committed to any responsibilities at the site and agreed to pay the penalty instead of entering into a lengthy lawsuit.
Under the terms of the agreement, $380,000 of the settlement will go into Maine's oil spill cleanup fund, while the remaining amount is earmarked to a go toward a public park and boat launch in Hampden.