Exxon Subsidiary Settles Fracking Spill Case for $400K

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XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., will pay $400,000 to settle allegations that it spilled thousands of gallons of wastewater at a Marcellus Shale gas well site in Lycoming County, Pa., the state's Office of the Attorney General announced Aug. 4 ( Commonwealth of Pa. v. XTO Energy Inc., Pa. Ct. C.P., No. CP-41-CR-2-2014, notice filed 8/3/16 ).

The settlement resolves criminal charges that the office's Environmental Crimes Unit filed against the company in 2013 for alleged violations of the Clean Streams Law and Solid Waste Management Act. The charges stemmed from an incident in November 2010, when a state environmental inspector made a surprise visit to the company's Marquardt site and discovered wastewater spilling out of a storage tank.

A subsequent grand jury investigation concluded that more than 93,000 gallons of wastewater had been transported and stored at the site even though there was no equipment there to process it, and 57,000 gallons of wastewater remained unaccounted for after the spill.

XTO did not have a permit to discharge wastewater and failed to report the spill to environmental regulators, the grand jury concluded.

Cleanup of the site required the removal of more than 3,000 tons of contaminated soil.

Under the settlement, XTO will pay a civil penalty of $300,000 to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and $100,000 to the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership to further environmental projects in Lycoming County.

XTO admitted no liability under the settlement, a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail Aug. 4. “Our priority is to ensure the safety of the community, our employees and contractors as well as protect the environment and wildlife,” she said.

For More Information

A copy of the draft settlement in Commonwealth of Pa. v. XTO Energy Inc. is at http://src.bna.com/hrY. The docket in the case is available at http://src.bna.com/hr7.

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