FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         ENR
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 1997                              (202) 514-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


          Hosts Federal Officials in Cleanup Celebration

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a $3.5 million settlement to
restore a permanent supply of clean water to the Sac and Fox
Nation, El Paso Energy Corporation (formerly Tenneco Oil Company),
made its first payment of $580,000 to the Tribe today, the Justice
Department announced.  The Sac and Fox Nation marked the occasion
today by hosting government officials and EPEC representatives at
a celebration including a traditional dinner and dancing at their
Oklahoma reservation.

     In January 1996, the government filed a lawsuit alleging that
Tenneco Oil polluted the groundwater and lands of the Sac and Fox
Nation through an oil recovery process known as waterflooding.  It
alleged that saltwater flooding and failure to properly plug and
abandon wells contaminated the Sac and Fox Nation's groundwater and
surface lands, destroying vegetation and other natural resources,
including the Nation's pecan groves.  The lawsuit further alleged
that the Nation's sole source of drinking water was ruined by
Tenneco's actions.  Tenneco denied all allegations.  The case was
settled in December 1996, and presented to District Judge Robin J.
Cauthron for her approval.

     Under a settlement approved by the court on June 2, 1997,
Tenneco will provide a permanent supply of potable water to the
Nation by constructing water wells and delivery systems on at least
120 acres of land to be purchased by Tenneco and deeded to the Sac
and Fox Nation.

     In addition, EPEC will install a water recovery system on the
Deep Fork River, which crosses tribal lands of the Sac and Fox
Nation, allowing it to irrigate its lands and develop a farming
economy.  EPEC will also reforest a pecan grove and restore an area
of tribal land damaged by years of oil and gas production, and pay
the Nation $1.16 million in compensation for the contamination. 
The compensation will be paid in three installments, the first of
which was made today.

     "Today brings the Sac and Fox Nation a step closer to a
permanent water supply," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney
General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and
Natural Resources Division.  "This settlement makes good on the
Justice Department's commitment to ensure the Sac and Fox have
clean, safe water and is another step in ongoing efforts by the
United States to address pollution problems on tribal lands. 
Tenneco/EPEC deserves a great deal of credit for stepping up to the
plate and working out this agreement with the Sac and Fox Nation."

     "The Sac and Fox have been without clean drinking water for
about forty years," said Acting Principal Chief Merle Boyd.  "This
settlement will enable the Nation to build its economy and allow
tribal members to return to our reservation and build homes."

     The Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Sac and Fox Nation
cooperated in developing and bringing the lawsuit against Tenneco. 
On December 12, Tenneco Oil Company merged with El Paso Natural Gas
Company, which will carry out Tenneco's obligations under the

     The Sac and Fox Nation hosted a ceremony at the Reservation
which was attended by Assistant Attorney General Lois Schiffer,
Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Simon, and the Justice
Department's litigation team, Kalyn Free and Curtis Berkey.  In
addition, representatives from EPEC, the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Interior's
Solicitor's Office and Indian Health Service.