Oil-Spill Fines Upheld For Pilot

SEATTLE - Fines imposed by the state Department of Ecology against a ship pilot blamed in a 1985 oil spill at Port Angeles were upheld yesterday by the state Court of Appeals.

The court rejected arguments by Capt. Raymond Leson that federal law governing ship pilots pre-empted the state's action.

Leson was piloting the oil tanker Arco Anchorage when it ran aground Dec. 21, 1985, at Port Angeles. The tanker leaked about 239,000 gallons of crude oil into Port Angeles Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Coast Guard investigated and suspended Leson's federal pilot's license. The Ecology Department subsequently assessed $30,000 in civil penalties against Leson.