Harvey Man, James Tassin Pleads Guilty to Clean Water Act Violation From 2016 Oil Spill
NEW ORLEANS (STL.News) The United States Attorney’s Office announced that JAMES TASSIN, age 50, of Harvey, pled guilty on March 18, 2021 to violating the Clean Water Act in connection with an oil spill in 2016.
According to court documents, TASSIN was a marsh buggy operator working on the Chenier Ronquille Barrier Island Restoration Project, which was overseen by contractors working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”). The project took place where Louisiana’s coastal wetlands meet the Gulf of Mexico, near several oil and gas pipelines, including Bay Marchand-to-Ostrica-to-Alliance (“BOA”) pipelines, which ran underneath and parallel to the dike on northern side of the island.
Months after the project began, the site manager at the project instructed TASSIN to dig an access channel for crew boats that was different from the access channel in the project plans provided by NOAA. This new access channel ran directly over the BOA pipelines, which were clearly marked at the time. TASSIN worked on that new access channel over multiple days.
On September 5, 2016, TASSIN drove his marsh buggy through the newly deepened access channel and struck one of the BOA pipelines, causing it to leak oil that created a sheen in the surrounding water in Bay Long.