Feds investigating mill following Pearl River fish-kill

PEARL RIVER — Temple-Inland Inc. faces a federal criminal investigation over an August spill that killed thousands of fish in the Pearl River south of its Bogalusa, La., paper mill.

A Mississippi official said environmental regulators from Mississippi and Louisiana have spoken repeatedly to federal investigators about the August incident, which left 500,000 dead fish and shellfish in a 45-mile trail to the Pearl River’s mouth.

Mississippi officials released 3,000 “harvestable-size” catfish into the river near Picayune yesterday. They were paid for with part of the $365,000 in fines and restitution that Mississippi has collected from Temple-Inland, of Austin, Texas. It’s the first time Mississippi has fined a polluter located in another state. Louisiana has collected $760,000 in civil restitution.

International Paper Co. is buying Temple-Inland for $3.7 billion.

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