Crime Pays

Corporate pollution crimes, for the Cosco Busan oil spill in San FranciscoBay to WalMart’s fine for dumping household toxics in sewers, will provide seed money for an $8.7 million Bay conservation fund.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced last week that the Northern District of California will use funds from recent criminal prosecutions to create a San Francisco Bay Estuary Conservation Fund.  It will be administered by the national fish and Wildlife Foundation and the object will be to restore and protect the bay’s fish and wildlife habitats.

The idea is to create a sustainable revenue source dedicated to local environmental projects.

“The fund provides a way for criminal polluters to help project the environment in the communities where they committed their crimes,” Haag said in a prepared statement May 27.

The $8.7 million initial fund includes $4.5 million from the WalMart settlement of $82 million for illegal chemical dumping throughout the state; $2 million of the $10 million Fleet Management shipping company paid after its ship Cosco Busan rammed the BayBridge spilling oil in the bay.

Other funds crom from criminal convictions against Horizon Lines, Shore Terminals, Kie-Con and Dianik Bross Shipping.  Each company agreed to make community service payments to address environmental harms created by their illegal actions, according to Haag.