MINNEAPOLIS – Two Lyon County men have each been sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution for causing thousands of gallons of oil to spill into the Yellow Medicine River.

According to court documents, on April 24, 2019, 25-year-old Eric Weckworth-Pineda, of Cottonwood, and 21-year-old Tanner Sik, of Ivanhoe traveled to the northwest side of Cottonwood Lake in Lyon County to a bridge that spans a dam between Cottonwood Lake and a creek called Judicial Ditch 24, which flows into the Yellow Medicine River.

Weckworth-Pineda and Sik took guns to the bridge to shoot. Sik used a DPMS AR-15 rifle to fire multiple shots at a diesel fuel pipeline that runs perpendicular across Judicial Ditch 24. Weckwerth-Pineda used the scope on his own rifle to spot Sik’s shots. Weckworth-Pineda and Sik admit at least one shot struck and ruptured the pipe.

Later that day, Weckworth-Pineda and Sik returned to the area and saw that the pipeline was leaking and reported the leak to the authorities.

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The owner of the pipeline, Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., claimed that the pipe’s rupture caused at least 3,900 gallons of diesel fuel to spill into Judicial Ditch 24 at a cost of approximately $1,122,000 to clean up the spill and repair the pipeline. The Environmental Protection Agency also spent over $16,000 in assisting in the clean-up operation.

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