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Minnesota

2 men told to pay $1 million-plus for shooting oil pipeline

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two Minnesota men were sentenced last week to probation and ordered to pay back more than $1.1 million for damage they caused by shooting holes in an oil pipeline.

Tanner Sik, 21, of Ivanhoe, and Eric Weckworth-Pineda, 25, of Cottonwood, pleaded guilty in March to a federal charge of negligent discharge of a pollutant. Authorities say the April 2019 leak caused nearly 4,000 gallons of spill into the Yellow Medicine River.

Court documents show that Sik used a semi-automatic rifle to fire several shots into the Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. diesel fuel pipeline on the northwest side of Cottonwood Lake in Lyon County. Weckworth-Pineda used the scope on his rifle to spot Sik’s shots, documents state. The two men returned to the area later in the day and saw that the pipeline was leaking, at which time they reported the spill to authorities.

The restitution was the result of operations to clean up the spill and repair the pipeline, prosecutors said.

Attorneys for the two men did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.

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