HONOLULU (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Jan. 19 that Matson Terminals Inc. has agreed to pay $725,000 in civil penalties after allegations of Clean Water Act violations related to a September 2013 molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor.
“Dockside facilities must ensure their operations do not pollute nearshore waters,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Honolulu Harbor spill affected marine life, coral reefs and kept residents and visitors from enjoying the city’s incomparable coastal environment.”
EPA’s agreement comes after the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s criminal action against Matson. Matson paid $400,000 in fines and $600,000 in restitution to resolve that case.
The EPA case stems from a leak of molasses that occurred between Sept. 8-10, 2013. During that time, Matson spilled approximately 233,000 gallons of sugarcane molasses into Honolulu Harbor during ship-loading activities. The pipe that let out the spill was having issues as far back as 2012. The Hawaii Department of Transportation reported the issue to Matson, and Matson allegedly went ahead with using it anyway. The spill killed roughly 25,000 fish and damaged coral reefs.