Two Men Sentenced for Causing 3,900 Gallon Oil Spill
MINNEAPOLIS – Two Lyon County men have each been sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution for causing thousands of gallons of oil to spill into the Yellow Medicine River.
According to court documents, on April 24, 2019, 25-year-old Eric Weckworth-Pineda, of Cottonwood, and 21-year-old Tanner Sik, of Ivanhoe traveled to the northwest side of Cottonwood Lake in Lyon County to a bridge that spans a dam between Cottonwood Lake and a creek called Judicial Ditch 24, which flows into the Yellow Medicine River.
Weckworth-Pineda and Sik took guns to the bridge to shoot. Sik used a DPMS AR-15 rifle to fire multiple shots at a diesel fuel pipeline that runs perpendicular across Judicial Ditch 24. Weckwerth-Pineda used the scope on his own rifle to spot Sik’s shots. Weckworth-Pineda and Sik admit at least one shot struck and ruptured the pipe.
Later that day, Weckworth-Pineda and Sik returned to the area and saw that the pipeline was leaking and reported the leak to the authorities.
The owner of the pipeline, Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., claimed that the pipe’s rupture caused at least 3,900 gallons of diesel fuel to spill into Judicial Ditch 24 at a cost of approximately $1,122,000 to clean up the spill and repair the pipeline. The Environmental Protection Agency also spent over $16,000 in assisting in the clean-up operation.
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