OLYMPIA - The Evergreen Marine Corporation has agreed to pay more than $130,900 to settle a penalty and other assessments for spilling oil into the Columbia River.

In March 2001, an estimated 500 gallons of oily waste were discharged from the cargo ship Ever Group, which was in the Kalama area. The spill caused an oily sheen about 400 yards wide by a half-mile long and eventually almost 38 miles downstream.

The state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard managed the response and cleanup at a cost of more than $62,000 of the total settlement. The settlement includes full reimbursement of state costs plus an additional $10,078 for natural resource damages, with the balance ($58,750) representing the penalty for violating the state's oil-spill law. The original penalty levied by Ecology was $67,500.

"We are pleased that Evergreen has agreed to settle and avoid further costs," said Dale Jensen, who manages Ecology's spills program. "Now we can move forward as partners to protect the river and its environment."

Evergreen has until Nov. 14 to submit its payment.

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