FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2004
ENRD (202) 514-2007|
EPA (214) 665-2200
TDD (202) 514-1888
EXPLORER PIPELINE PAYS $3 MILLION CIVIL PENALTY
FOR DISCHARGE FROM ITS PIPELINE IN TEXAS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced they have reached a settlement with Explorer Pipeline Company, in which the company has paid a civil penalty of $3 million for violation of the Clean Water Act as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. According to the complaint filed simultaneously with a stipulated judgment and dismissal, the violation stemmed from a March 9, 2000 discharge of 13,436 barrels of gasoline containing the fuel additive MTBE from a pipeline owned by Explorer and located near Greenville, Texas. The gasoline reached Caddo Creek and East Caddo Creek, tributaries of Lake Tawakoni, a drinking water source for several Texas communities. MTBE was found in Lake Tawakoni.
The terms of the stipulated judgment and dismissal recognize Explorer’s thorough and prompt cleanup efforts and Explorer’s subsequent work to extensively test and improve its pipeline system in compliance with instructions from the Office of Pipeline Safety at the Department of Transportation. In addition, Explorer expanded this testing and improvement activity beyond the requirements of the Office of Pipeline Safety. Explorer expended approximately $13 million inspecting and upgrading its pipeline system. The $3 million civil penalty was paid into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to be used in the cleanup of other spills.
“This is a great result for public health, welfare and the environment,” said Thomas Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement is a significant further step in accomplishing one of the Attorney General’s primary environmental enforcement goals-protection of the nation’s water.”
EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said, “Careful compliance with our nation’s environmental laws helps ensure we do business safely, responsibly, and for generations to come. EPA will continue to work with the regulated community to ensure that accidents like these are not repeated.”
“Everyone has a personal interest in the quality of the water we drink,” said Richard B. Roper, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “Today’s settlement illustrates our unwavering commitment to the protection of our environment.”