TRENTON, N.J. - For a third time, Chevron is paying the price for a crude oil spill into the Arthur Kill.
The company agreed to a $1 million settlement with New Jersey Attorney General Stuart Rabner Wednesday, with the money going to a New York/New Jersey Baykeeper project to reestablish oyster beds in the N.Y./N.J. Harbor in the area of Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay.
"This is an appropriate settlement, particularly given that the funds will be used to create new oyster beds in an effort to reestablish an important part of the harbor's ecosystem," Rabner said.
The spill occurred on Feb. 13, 2006, when a barge was offloading crude oil at a Chevron facility. The oil was discharged from a leak in a pipeline and then leached into Arthur Kill, creating a slick that caused the U.S. Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Division of Criminal Justice to respond.
Chevron paid for the cost of the environmental cleanup after the spill and also gave the New Jersey DOP $45,000 in a natural resource damage settlement.
It was estimated that 31,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled into the water and more than 119,000 gallons of water-oil mixture had been recovered in the week after.
"The circumstances surrounding this spill were thoroughly investigated by our Environmental Crimes Bureau, Criminal Justice Director Gregory Paw said.
"Fortunately, the environmental damage from the spill was limited due to the quick response. This civil settlement represents a beneficial resolution of this matter."
Rabner said reestablishing oyster beds is important. At one time, the N.Y./N.J. was filled with beds that helped support the fishing industry, though the oyster population has been decimated by pollution and over-fishing.