Feds appeal judge’s fine for Lake Charles, Louisiana oil spill

Originally published at the Statesman.

LAFAYETTE, LA. — The Justice Department is appealing a judge’s ruling that CITGO Petroleum pay only $9 million out of the more than $240 million in penalties government attorneys had sought in a 2006 oil spill at the company’s Lake Charles refinery.

U.S. District Judge Richard Haik ruled in September that CITGO should pay $6 million to the federal government and $3 million to the state government in a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit pursued by the Justice Department.

During a trial earlier this year, federal attorneys had asked for at least $247 million in penalties, noting the magnitude of the oil spill and alleging that CITGO put profits before safety.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/snCE94) a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment Thursday on details of the appeal arguments.

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