In a recent case where offshore worker turned whistleblower the Department of Justice was able to recieve a uncontested felony conviction for violation of the clean water act and a misdemeanor conviction for failure to report oil spill.
W&T Offshore Fined $1 Million for Using Coffee Filters to Doctor Water Samples
Bizarre new details of just how W&T Offshore Oil & Gas contractors doctored water samples came to light last Thursday when W&T officially pled guilty to criminal charges under the Clean Water Act for tampering with water samples and failing to report a spill back in 2009 off of their Ewing Banks Block 910 platform, 175 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico.
W&T admitted that their contractors ran contaminated water samples through coffee filters to remove oil and other pollutants before turning them over for testing.
While the company had secured a permit to dump waste water back into the Gulf, W&T Offshore was required to monitor and report the oil levels in the liquid.
W&T also admitted to failing to report a sheen of oil around the 910 platform that they tried (but failed) to clean up for several weeks after another incident in which an angry worker shot off a flare in November of 2009, which they also failed to report to the Coast Guard.
When Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Officers inspected the platform, they still found oil staining on the platform deck and a visible sheen in the water, all of which W&T failed to report as required.
As part of the guilty plea agreement, W&T Offshore was ordered to pay $1 million (a fine of $700,000 and $300,000 for community service), will be under probation for three years and will be required to implement an environmental compliance program.
W&T Offshore is headed by founder and CEO Tracy Krohn and operates some 107 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
As a result W&T had the contractor who reported the incident removed from the facility and additionally the contract company WoodGroupPSN fired the employee in retaliation for reporting the oil spill and false water sampling.
Now the Department of Justice is siting snuggly with $ 700,000 in its bank account and has not offered to give any reward to the whistelblower employee for his actions in bring this criminal activity to justice , and the employee has been blacklisted from the offshore industry trying to make a living without any job prospects.
A very famous president once said ” ask not what your country can do for you , but what you can do for your country” well this whistleblower stood up for his country and his country let him down.
The Whistleblower protection laws and rewards program from protecting the environment are a lie by our government to its people. The government wants its laws enforced even at the expense of the people who help them. Nothing is more pathetic than the look on a lawyers face who speaks on behalf of the government and says thers is nothing they can do to help those who have helped the government.