On July 18, 2013 the US Department of Justice and XTO Energy entered into a Consent Decree following allegations of Clean Water Act violations by XTO in Lycoming County. The complaint lodged by the DOJ on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency alleged that XTO had “discharged pollutants” including flowback/produced fluids into streams near a well pad in Hughesville, PA. As part of the stipulated judgment, XTO agreed to:
- A civil penalty of $100,000;
- Various compliance requirements for the operation and maintenance of storage tanks used in its operations, and standard operating procedures for those tanks;
- Various reporting requirements to demonstrate compliance;
- And stipulated penalties for failure to report or comply with the duties laid out in the Decree.
The agreement between the United States and XTO does not conclude any enforcement measures Pennsylvania might take against XTO for violations of state regulations governing the management and disposal of gas well fluids. Nor does the consent decree affect any litigation that could be brought against XTO from landowners in the area affected by the alleged discharges.
For the full text of the Consent Decree, please visit the AgriculturalLaw Resource and Reference Center’s Marcellus Shale Resource Area.
Written by: Garrett Lent, Research Assistant
Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center