The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have reached a settlement with Trans Energy Inc., requiring the oil and gas company to restore portions of streams and wetlands at 15 sites in West Virginia polluted by the company’s unauthorized discharge of dredge or fill material.
Trans Energy will pay a penalty of $3 million to be divided equally between the federal government and WVDEP. The Clean Water Act requires a company to obtain a permit from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to discharging dredge or fill material into wetlands, rivers, streams, and other waters of the United States.
In addition to the penalty, the company will reconstruct impacted aquatic resources or address impacts at 15 sites, provide appropriate compensatory mitigation for impacts to streams and wetlands, and implement a comprehensive program to ensure future compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and applicable state law.
Among other requirements, the company will work to ensure that all aquatic resources are identified prior to starting work on future projects in West Virginia, and that appropriate consideration is given at the design stage to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources.
It is estimated that Trans Energy will spend more than $13 million to complete the restoration and mitigation work required by the consent decree.
Press Release, September 3, 2014