2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

To settle an air pollution enforcement case, an oil and gas producer will pay $1.15 million in civil penalty, spend at least $1.25 million on a supplemental environmental project (SEP), and incur at least $2.5 million in costs to upgrade its facilities, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) news release.

Flyover Surveillance and Field Investigations
Investigations by EPA and the state agency, which included flyover surveillance and field investigations, found failure to capture and control emissions from storage facilities; failure to comply with inspection, monitoring, and recordkeeping requirements; and failure to obtain required air emission permits at 25 of the company’s oil and gas operations.

Extensive Upgrades for Compliance and a SEP
The settlement, in a proposed Consent Decree, mandates compliance at all 239 of the company’s well pads in the state. It also requires extensive improvements in design, operation, maintenance, and monitoring, which will include installation of new tank pressure monitoring systems to provide advanced notification of potential emissions and allow for immediate response action by the company.

The SEP will include replacement of diesel engines, aerial monitoring for leaks at the company’s facilities, and an $800,000 program to reduce emissions from pneumatic devices and vapor recovery units.

National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative
According to DOJ’s news release: “This settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, Creating Cleaner Air for Communities by Reducing Excess Emissions of Harmful Pollutants.”

To see the news release, which has a link for access to the proposed Consent Decree, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/united-states-orders-matador-production-company-reduce-unlawful-air-pollution-its-oil-and-gas