Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Teen Ordered to Pay $36.6 Million For Starting Oregon Wildfire

Popular
Eagle Creek fire. Curtis Perry / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A teenager who admitted to starting the Eagle Creek Canyon wildfire in Oregon that singed approximately 48,000 acres of forest land in September was ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution.

Hood River County Circuit Judge John A. Olson admitted that the youngster will probably never be able to pay the total amount, but was obligated under state law to issue the full award to the victims of the massive blaze, including residents whose properties burned down and the state and federal departments that fought the fire, The Oregonian reported.


In his May 18 opinion, Olson wrote that the "restitution is clearly proportionate to the offense because it does not exceed the financial damages caused by the youth."

"In short, I'm satisfied that the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated," he said.

Olson concluded, "the youth cannot pay the judgment in full, and therefore authorizes the Hood River Juvenile Department to establish a payment schedule."

The teen, whose name has not been released, was 15 at the time of the incident. In February, he admitted to throwing the illegal fireworks that sparked the fire. He was sentenced to 1,920 hours of community service, five years probation and had to write an apology "to everyone in the gorge."

Olson ruled that after 10 years, if the teen successfully completes probation, does not commit additional offenses and complies with the payment plans, the court can grant full or partial satisfaction of the restitution judgment.

"The court's hands were tied by the statute with respect to ordering the full amount of the legally appropriate restitution," Jack Morris, the boy's attorney, told The Oregonian, adding that a "rational" sum would be suitable but that "it's difficult to imagine anything more pointless then ordering an adolescent to pay $36 million in restitution."

The restitution amount includes $21 million to the U.S. Forest Service, $12.5 million to the Oregon Department of Transportation, $1.6 million to the Oregon State Fire Marshal and $1 million to Union Pacific Railroad, among others. A $5,000 payment was awarded to Iris Schenk, whose rental home burned in the fire.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Traffic moves across the Brooklyn Bridge on Aug. 2, 2018 in New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to unveil its final replacement of Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks Tuesday in a move likely to pump nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the lifetime of those less-efficient vehicles.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Just over a month after proclaiming that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon "be down to close to zero," President Donald Trump said during a press briefing on the White House lawn Sunday that limiting U.S. deaths from the pandemic to between 100,000 and 200,000 people would mean his administration and the country as a whole did "a very good job."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Dicamba is having a devastating impact in Arkansas and neighboring states. A farmer in Mississippi County, Arkansas looks at rows of soybean plants affected by dicamba. The Washington Post / Getty Images

Documents unearthed in a lawsuit brought by a Missouri farmer who claimed that Monsanto and German chemical maker BASF's dicamba herbicide ruined his peach orchard revealed that the two companies knew their new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely damage many U.S. farms, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and other leaders speak to the press on March 28, 2020 in Seattle. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Washington State has seen a slowdown in the infection rate of the novel coronavirus, for now, suggesting that early containment strategies have been effective, according to the Seattle NBC News affiliate.

Read More Show Less
A bushfire burns outside the Perth Cricket Stadium in Perth, Australia on Dec. 13, 2019. PETER PARKS / AFP via Getty Images

By Albert Van Dijk, Luigi Renzullo, Marta Yebra and Shoshana Rapley

2019 was the year Australians confronted the fact that a healthy environment is more than just a pretty waterfall in a national park; a nice extra we can do without. We do not survive without air to breathe, water to drink, soil to grow food and weather we can cope with.

Read More Show Less