Texas Oil Companies Pay $1.9M for Spills in Natrona, Johnson Counties
A pair of energy companies have agreed to pay $1.9 million in a civil penalty for spilling crude oil and produced water into streams in Natrona and Johnson counties, according to a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday.
"Companies that store oil must ensure they have adequate spill prevention and discharge response plans to protect public health and the environment," said Suzanne Bohan, director of EPA Region 8’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.
"EPA is committed to ensuring compliance with federal requirements that safeguard our rivers and streams," Bohan said.
The Irving, Texas-based Fleur de Lis Energy and Fleur de Lis Operating, LLC, agreed to the settlement for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.
The settlement addresses five spills between Oct. 5, 2016, through May 29, 2018, in the Salt Creek Field in Natrona Country, and one in the Linch Complex Field in Johnson County.
The spills affected adjoining shorelines and/or caused a sheen on tributaries to the Salt Creek, a tributary of the Powder River. The two largest spills were 7,307 barrels, or 306,907 gallons, and 559 barrels or 23,478 gallons.
Besides the spills, the settlement also addressed inadequate spill prevention control and countermeasure plans for five facilities; and inadequate facility response plans for three facilities; and no facility response plan for one facility.
The EPA alleged discharges from the five facilities had the potential to affect tributaries to Salt Creek in the Salt Creek Field and Indian Draw, a tributary to Salt Creek in the Linch Complex Field.
The Environmental Protection Agency also alleged the companies failed to prepare adequate facility response plans or had no such plans in place from April 2015 through December 2017 at four facilities. The companies also failed to develop and implement a facility response training and drill-exercise program.
The planning distance for a worst-case scenario at these facilities extends more than 90 miles to the Powder River.
The $1.9 million penalty will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund used by federal agencies to respond to discharges of oil and hazardous substances.
Fleur de Lis has submitted spill prevention and countermeasure plans and facility response plans that satisfy regulatory requirements; is satisfactorily continuing its pipeline maintenance program; and has demonstrated that it can implement its facility response plans and respond to discharges into Salt Creek and the Powder River, according to the EPA.
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