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Lyon County Men Fined Over $1M For Causing Oil Spill In Yellow Medicine River

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - According to the United States Attorney's Office District of Minnesota, two men have been sentenced to a year of probation and $1.1 million fine for spilling thousands of gallons of oil in the Yellow Medicine River.

According to court documents, Eric Jay Weckworth-Pineda, 25, of Cottonwood, and Tanner John Sik, 21, of Ivanhoe, were shooting guns near a creek called Judicial Ditch 24 which flows into Yellow Medicine River.

Erick Weckwerth and Tanner Sik
Erick Weckwerth and Tanner Sik (credit: Lyon County Sheriff's Office)

The pair fired multiple shots at a diesel fuel pipeline which resulted in a leak. Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. reported to authorities that at least 3,906 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the creek and then into the river.

The company says it cost around $1,122,617.64 to clean up the spill and repair the pipeline.

"We hope that today's sentencings cause people to think twice before engaging in irresponsible and reckless behavior in the vicinity of an active pipeline," said Andrea M. Kropf, Special Agent-in-Charge, Midwestern Region, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

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