2 charged in National Forest oil spill

Management, timber harvest, roadless issues

2 charged in National Forest oil spill

Postby ~jeff~ » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:23 pm

2 charged in national forest oil spill

Time News.Com Aug 19, 2008
KANE -- A father and son from Bradford are accused of causing an 18,000-gallon oil spill in the Allegheny National Forest over the weekend, state police at Kane said.

Forty-two-year-old Andrew Horton and his son, 22-year-old Christopher, are being held in McKean County Jail. They are charged with causing a catastrophe and other crimes.

Police said Christopher Horton opened about 20 oil- collection tanks belonging to Snyder Brothers Inc., of Kittanning. The Hortons both worked for the company.

The incident happened Saturday evening or Sunday morning about 1.5 miles south of Route 59 in Corydon and Hamilton townships in McKean County, police said.

About 18,000 gallons of crude oil spilled on the ground, said Freda Tarbell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The oil traveled into four miles of Chapel Fork Creek and up to two miles of Indian Run, Tarbell said.

"As of midday, we are starting to see the trout, shiners, (and) also amphibians (and) crayfish dead," she said. "At this point, it's difficult to say what the damage is."

The agency's employees are checking other waterways in the area to determine the extent of the contamination, she said. A multiagency team is assembling to assess the spill's ecological impact.

Christopher Horton is also accused of damaging a $500,000 generator and smashing eight meter boxes on the fuel tanks, valued at $2,000 each, police said.

Police charged him with criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, causing a catastrophe, and risking a catastrophe.
Andrew Horton, 42, also of Bradford, allegedly dropped Christopher Horton off at the land where the damage took place, police said. He was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit causing a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy to commit risking a catastrophe, and liability for the conduct of another.

Each of the men are being held at McKean County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said.

Traffic was not affected, said National Forest Service spokeswoman Kathy Mohney.

Responders set up a dam and several oil-gathering booms along Chapel Fork Creek to contain the oil, police said.

Several other agencies assisted with cleanup, police said, including the McKean County Emergency Management Agency, the McKean County Sheriff's Department, the Pennsylvania Fish Commission, the Warren County Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and United Oil Refineries.
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