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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office And Borger Refinery Owner Agree To Penalty And Compliance Plan Related To August 2012 Migratory Bird Kill At Johnson Tank Farm In Hutchinson County

AMARILLO, Texas — The U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Phillips 66 Company and WRB Refining LP, entered into an Agreement and Compliance Plan on November 22, 2013, regarding facilities located near Borger, Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Phillips 66 and WRB Refining (Borger) own and/or operate a refinery and related support facilities, including the Johnson Tank Farm Pond in Hutchison County Texas, a three million barrel brine water pond spanning 22 acres.

In August 2012, the USFWS learned of a large migratory bird kill at the Johnson Tank Farm Pond.  Approximately 260 waterfowl, mostly teal, were recovered.  Borger self-reported the kill and immediately began implementing additional hazing efforts to attempt to keep migratory birds off of the pond.  Additionally, Borger established an emergency treatment center to triage injured birds at the Borger facility.

Borger also installed additional bird deterrents and contracted for bird-hazing personnel to deter migratory birds off the Johnson Tank Farm Pond, during daylight hours, using a boat and air horns, provided the weather conditions and personal safety conditions permit the hazing activities.

According to the Agreement, within 30 days,

Borger agrees to pay a $50,000 violations notice;

Borger agrees to pay $10,000 in restitution to the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center;

Borger agrees to pay $38,820 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the value of the deceased migratory birds;

Borger agrees to make a $200,000 charitable contribution to the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center; and

The USFWS will not seek prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, or other similar offenses related to Migratory Bird Activity at the Borger facilities, as long as Borger continues to comply with this Agreement and the Compliance Plan contained in this Agreement.

The Compliance Plan requires, among other things, for Borger to deploy the Merlin Detect and Deter Bird-Control Radar System™ at the Pond at the Johnson Tank Farm, to take actions with respect to the 302 Hazardous Waste Impoundment and to submit semi-annual reports to the USFWS in Lubbock.  Borger also agrees to train personnel and contractors who work near Surface Waters at Borger Facilities to observe and report any Migratory Bird Activity at Surface Waters other than fresh or raw water and to maintain an on-site bird treatment center to triage injured birds.

The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, Texas.

Updated June 22, 2015