Provident Energy Associates of Montana, LLC Pleads Guilty and Sentenced in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls on June 10, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, PROVIDENT ENERGY ASSOCIATES OF MONTANA, LLC pled guilty and was sentenced on the charge of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
PROVIDENT ENERGY ASSOCIATES OF MONTANA, LLC was sentenced to a term of:
- Probation: 18 months
- Fine: $15,000
- Community Service: $5,000
- Special Assessment: $25
In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In September 2008, oil sludge began to leak from a long-existing hole in a storage tank at the defendant-operated Two-Medicine Cut Bank Sand Unit in Pondera County. The leaking oil flowed about 50 feet across the ground and formed a 10 x 20-foot pond. Over the course of several days, approximately 18 migratory birds, including an owl, mourning dove and vesper sparrows, came into contact with the oil and died as the result of oil ingestion and coating. An employee of the company reported the spill and deaths to his supervisors, who notified the oil field regulating agency, who notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The defendant's employee told investigators the tank had leaked oil from the hole several times in the past, leading to other bird deaths, but could not explain why it had not been repaired. Photographs were taken and bird carcasses collected for analysis by the wildlife forensics laboratory in Oregon. The defendant company possessed no authority from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permitting it to take migratory birds as part of its oilfield operations. Since the September 2008 event, new leadership at the defendant company has remedied the equipment and personnel problems which caused the migratory bird deaths in this case.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.