The Elusive Dream sank again in 2020, knocking down another boat and spilling upwards of 214 gallons of diesel fuel. (Department of Ecology)

The Elusive Dream sank again in 2020, knocking down another boat and spilling upwards of 214 gallons of diesel fuel. (Department of Ecology)

Ecology again fines boat owner $70K for fuel spill in river

This time, the state was sterner about the spill in Steamboat Slough. They called Ron Barber’s actions negligent.

EVERETT — The state Department of Ecology has fined a Lake Stevens boat owner $70,000 for an oil and gas spill in Steamboat Slough, a branch of the Snohomish River.

Ron Barber owns a 75-foot fishing vessel called the Elusive Dream that has been derelict for over a decade. In August 2020, the vessel rolled over during a low tide and pushed a small boat underwater, causing both to sink.

Barber and others reportedly placed boom to try and contain the spill. He also tried floating the smaller boat, Shilo, with a bulldozer, but failed. He eventually resurfaced the Elusive Dream, though.

Ecology hired contractors to help out. The department estimates some 214 gallons of diesel got into the river, along with lubricating oil.

The two boats were moored at a “dilapidated dock on the slough,” according to an Ecology news release Thursday. At low tide, the Elusive Dream regularly bumped up against the bank.

The location and the tides were “both factors that contributed to the vessels’ eventual fate,” the news release says. The department noted Barber acted negligently as he moored his vessels “at a location where a spill was foreseeable.”

The Daily Herald has written about the Elusive Dream before, when it capsized in 2009 and the state slapped Barber with a $750 fine for spilling 50 gallons of diesel fuel into the waterway.

Back then, Ecology officials practiced mercy, calling the tipping of the vessel a fluke. The fine was typical of small spills where negligence wasn’t suspected, they said. But the Elusive Dream has remained derelict in the slough since then.

“The Steamboat Slough area is designated as a critical habitat for several federally listed species of wildlife,” the department noted in Thursday’s statement. “Even a small amount of diesel can cause impacts to the environment, and to birds, fish and other wildlife.”

Barber has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett
Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

Vehicles exiting I-5 southbound begin to turn left into the eastbound lanes of 164th Street Southwest on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Traffic backups on 164th Street near I-5 could see relief soon

The county and state are implementing a new traffic signal system that synchronizes the corridor and adjusts to demand.

Anthony Christie with his son (Family photo)
‘Senseless’: Mom sues state DOC after son’s suicide at Monroe prison

The lawsuit alleges systemic failures at the Monroe Correctional Complex led to Anthony Christie’s death in 2019.

Everett resident Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fall brings concerns of a ‘twindemic’ of flu, COVID

Flu season is here. COVID never left. Officials say it’s time for people to get shots.

Federal funds could pay for Everett bathrooms, gun buyback, more

City officials propose $7.95 million of American Rescue Plan Act money on a shelter, mental health support and more.

King County map logo
U.S. 2 closed near Skykomish again due to Bolt Creek fire

A 1-mile stretch of U.S. 2 was closed in both… Continue reading

FILE - Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference the vote to codify Roe v. Wade, in this May 5, 2022 file photo on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murray is one of the U.S. Senate's most powerful members and seeking a sixth term. She is being challenged by Tiffany Smiley, a Republican from Pasco, Wash. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
Providence continues to face questions about hospital debt collection

The hospital group has pushed back against the notion that Providence “intentionally takes advantage of those who are vulnerable.”

Officers working in North Everett located and arrested the suspect from a June 20 shooting that left two dead and one injured in the 2000 block of Lexington. (Everett Police Department)
Everett triple shooting suspect tied to another homicide

A search warrant points to Shayne Baker, 26, as the suspect in the killing of Scott Pullen at a storage facility in Everett.

Most Read