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Ashland Oil Spill

             On January 2nd of 1988, an oil tank owned by Ashland Oil split open and collapsed - sending 750,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the Monogahela River, located in Floreffe, Pennsylvania. It was being filled for the first time after being dismantled and moved from an Ohio location, and subsequently reassembled at the Floreffe facility. The collapse of the tank caused diesel fuel to spill out over the tank's containment dikes, across a parking lot on an adjoining property, and into an uncapped storm drain that emptied directly into the river. Within minutes the oil slick moved miles down river, dispersing throughout the water and threatening the drinking supply of the area. It contaminated drinking sources for over a million people in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. .
             Local authorities took responsibility for the initial on-scene response, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took over after that. They were dispatched immediately following the incident. Contractors employed by Ashland performed the actual cleanup duties. The contractors used booms, vacuum trucks, and other equipment to retrieve the spilled oil, recovering about 20 percent of the oil that gushed into the river. EPA set up a river monitoring system to track the spill, as well as a sampling and analysis process to protect water supply.
             Critical Legal Issues.
             The main thrust of the implications of this case are that owner-operators of facilities with hazardous materials are legally bound to protect those resources from being dangerously mishandled. As a part of the oil industry, Ashland was had the responsibility to ensure that the tanker with oil was properly insured against problems. Three things that came under scrutiny in the preliminary investigation were: age of the oil tanker, testing that had been done before filling it, and whether a permit had been filed to use the tanker. .
             The tanker had been transported from Cleveland, and many were under the impression that it was a new tank.

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