2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

To settle allegations of unauthorized air emissions, an oil and gas producer has agreed to pay a $5.5 million penalty and make upgrades to its facilities estimated to cost at least $4.6 million. According to EPA’s news release announcing the settlement, the company had violations at over 100 of its operations. The company failed to obtain required state and federal permits; did not capture and control air emissions from storage vessels; and had inadequate inspection, monitoring and recordkeeping.

Flyover Surveillance
To assist in the investigation, EPA used “repeated flyover surveillance,” a technique becoming increasingly common in cases involving oil and gas operations.

$4.6 Million in Improvements
The settlement, contained in a Consent Decree filed in federal court, covers 422 well pads and requires the company “to implement extensive design, operation, maintenance, and monitoring improvements, including installing new tank pressure monitoring systems that will provide advance notification of potential emissions and allow for immediate response action by the company.” The news release says these requirements will cost at least $3.6 million.

The company “will also spend at least $1 million to offset the harm caused by the alleged violations by replacing over 2,000 pollutant-emitting pneumatic devices with non-emitting devices on an accelerated schedule.”

To see the news release, which has a link to access the Consent Decree https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/united-states-orders-mewbourne-oil-company-pay-55-million-and-reduce-unlawful-air