October 8, 2020
Two Men Charged With Discharging a Pollutant Into Federally Regulated Waters
On October 8, 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) filed an information with the U.S. District of Minnesota charging Tanner John Sik and Eric Jay Weckwerth-Pineda with violating the Clean Water Act and negligent discharge of a pollutant.
The information alleges that on or about April 24, 2019, Sik and Weckwerth-Pineda took weapons to a bridge that spans a dam in Lyon County, Minnesota. The dam controls the outflow of water from Cottonwood Lake to a tributary of the Minnesota River via a creek known as Judicial Ditch 24, which is federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. From the bridge, Sik and Weckwerth-Pineda targeted, shot at, and punctured part of an oil pipeline carrying diesel fuel. Pipeline owner Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., estimated that at least 3,900 gallons of fuel spilled into Judicial Ditch 24 and the Yellow Medicine River, causing damage that cost approximately $1.1 million to clean up and repair.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency, assisted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.