Pipeline Settles Oil Spill Violations

Feb. 5, 2019

The EPA has announced that Sunoco Pipeline and Mid-Valley Pipeline will settle oil spill violation with a $5 million civil penalty

Sunoco Pipeline L.P. has agreed to pay civil penalties and state enforcement costs and to implement corrective measures to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and state environmental laws. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is stemming from three crude oil spills in 2013, 2014, and 2015, in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. 

The Department of Justice, the EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) have jointly announced the settlement.

Sunoco will pay the U.S. $5 million in federal civil penalties for the Clean Water Act violations and pay LDEQ $436,274.20 for civil penalties and response costs to resolve claims asserted in the complaint filed. The company has also agreed to take action to prevent future spills by identifying and remediating the types of problems that caused the prior spills. According to the EPA, this includes performing pipeline inspections and repairing pipeline defects.

“This settlement holds Sunoco and Mid-Valley accountable for the harms to the environment caused by their oil spills and requires Sunoco to improve its environmental safety compliance for the oil pipelines that it operates in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma,” said Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This excellent result shows how a strong federal and state partnership can bring about effective environmental enforcement to protect local communities in these states.”

According to David C. Joseph, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, the office is committed to protecting the state’s environment for the health and well-being of their citizens. The settlement is one example of a commitment to work with the EPA and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to make Louisiana a clean and healthier place to live, Joseph said.

“Our nation relies on the oil and gas sector to meet our energy needs, and we also expect companies to do so while protecting our vital water resources,” said Anne Idsal, EPA Regional Administrator. “Companies who violate this responsibility must face consequences and assure their future compliance.”

The EPA says the proposed consent decree is subject to a public comment requirements and court review and approval. A copy of the consent decree is available for viewing on the Department of Justice website.