Offending (and Offensive) Paper Mill Fined

2011 view of Temple-Inland’s waste ponds. Notice proximity to Pearl River (bottom right). Flight courtesy SouthWings.comIn the summer of 2011, the Temple-Inland Paper Mill in Bogalusa, LA illegally discharged toxic “black liquor” into the Pearl River. Due to the paper mill’s illegal activity, over half a million fish were killed, including Federally Protected Gulf sturgeon. Since this massive fish kill in the Pearl, the paper mill has become a subsidiary of International Paper, and criminal and civil penalties have been assessed.In total, $3.3 million of federal and state fines were assessed. According to, this will be divided as follows: $1.5 in criminal fines $900,000 to the Trust for Public Land to buy and protect land in the Pearl River basin $100,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana to buy and protect land $200,000 to study the Gulf sturgeon recovery $500,000 to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) for spill response and testing activities $50,000 to the Louisiana State Police $50,000 to the Southern Environmental Enforcement NetworkWe are pleased to see that a substantial fine has been levied for this assault on the Pearl River. One result we hope to come out of this an improvement to the Gulf sturgeon habitat in the Pearl. We urge that the $200,000 going to the gulf Sturgeon is used to study and implement the removal or modification of the man-made “sills” in the Pearl that impede the natural migration of the Sturgeon.Now that fines have been levied, it falls on LDEQ to issue a new permit to this facility. We have been told that there will be two hearings for this permitone in Bogalusa and one in Slidell (near the mouth of the Pearl). We will hold LDEQ to this and will work to ensure that the new permit does a better job at protecting the Pearl, the wildlife that depends on it, and the community that surrounds the plant and lives on the River.Matt is GRN’s Science and Water Policy Director

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