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Sentence for illegal dumping of waste oil not harsh enough

A Minot man was sentenced this week for dumping old motor oil into a storm sewer.

You mean that’s illegal? Go figure. Who would have known. Or, rather, who could do such a thing and look at themselves in the mirror again?

Despite all of the preaching about saving the environment – millions of public and private dollars expended – some fool still thinks it’s OK to make his oil “disappear” down a hole.

While the idea offends, it turns out the punishment for doing such a misdeed isn’t that great.

In case you missed it, here is the background story:

Minot Police responded to a call June 19 for a report that someone had been dumping motor oil in a storm sewer. Employees of the Public Works Department working near the location reported they observed a vehicle parked over a sewer grate, saw oil on the ground and a trail of oil running into the sewer.

Police later contacted Donald Matula at his residence at which time, according to a police affidavit, Matula admitted putting “just a little bit” of oil down the sewer while changing oil on a vehicle.

The charge was a B misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Yet Municipal Court Judge Ashley Beall accepted Matula’s guilty plea Thursday and directed he pay restitution (for cleanup) of $1,095 and $25 in court fees, payable at a rate of $102 per month. She also placed him on unsupervised probation until July 4, 2020.

What, no letter of apology?

Seriously, this wasn’t armed robbery or selling drugs to kids – we know. We’re not calling for a day in the stocks in the town square. But only restitution, court fees and no time served? That just doesn’t seem appropriate.

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