United States v. Edward Hanousek, Jr.
176 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir.1999)
Edward Hanousek was employed by White Pass & Yukon Railroad as roadmaster. Hanousek, according to his contract, was responsible for "the safe and efficient maintenance and construction of track, structures and marine facilities of the entire railroad." One of the projects he was in charge of was a rock-quarrying project that involved using a backhoe to move blasted rock to railroad cars. The company hired a contractor, Hunz & Hunz, to supply the labor and equipment. The track ran parallel to an oil pipeline. A movable work platform for the backhoe to be able to move rock over the pipeline was constructed using sand and gravel. When Hunz & Hunz began work on the project in April 1994 they covered roughly 300 feet of the pipeline for protection in addition to the work platform. In May 1994 Hanousek took over the project and decided this protection wasn’t necessary and no additional sections would be protected except for the movable work platform.
On October 1, 1994 Shane Thoe was loading rocks onto a train with a backhoe. When the train left, Thoe noticed some fallen rocks just off the track near an unprotected stretch of pipe between 50 to 100 yards from the work platform. As he was using the backhoe to pick up the rocks, the bucket struck and ruptured the pipeline causing approximately 1,000 to 5,000 gallons of oil to leak over the course of several days. Most of the oil flowed into Skagway River, a navigable water of the United States. Hanousek, who was not present at the time of the accident, was charged with one count of negligently discharging a harmful quantity of oil into a navigable water of the United States, in violation of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1319(c)(1)(A) & 1321(b)(3) and one count of conspiring to provide false information to United States Coast Guard officials who investigated the accident, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001. Hanousek was acquitted of the...