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Oil Dump Admitted, Oil Slick Still Mystery

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Today the LA Times reports that Evergreen International, one of the world's biggest shipping lines, has agreed to pay a $25 million fine for rigging their filtration systems so they could dump waste oil into the ocean rather than bringing it to shore, violating international and US laws. The agreement clearly states that the charges relate to violations made from 1998-2001. But we can't help wonder, since one of the big guys was once successful with their tricky "magic pipes," as government investigators called them, if it might be possible that some shipping company's dirty deeds are responsible for the mystery oil slick that killed more than 700 seabirds along the California coast in January. Apparently Evergreen's practices included painting pipes to hide wrench marks, wiping off telltale oil, and instructing crew members to lie about what they knew if questioned by Coast Guard officials. Now that's slick.