2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that five subsidiaries of West Texas Gas, Inc. (WTG) will pay more than $3 million in civil penalties “to resolve claims stemming from fatal chemical accidents and accident prevention program violations.”  They also agreed to spend up to $5 million on compliance measures.

Fatalities from a 2015 Fire and a 2018 Hydrogen Sulfide Release
According to DOJ’s news release, several WTG facilities have had fires, including one in 2015 where an employee was killed.  A hydrogen sulfide release in 2018 killed another employee.

The news release mentions a separate criminal case due to the 2018 incident, where the company will plead guilty to criminal endangerment, pay a $3 million fine, acknowledge it may be required to pay restitution to victims, and pay the costs of ongoing court supervision.

Compliance Measures
The civil settlement requires six WTG natural gas processing plants to take steps to prevent chemical accidents. The steps include a requirement to hire an independent engineering firm to recommend actions to improve process safety. WTG agreed to close two other plants.

To see DOJ’s news release https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/west-texas-gas-companies-agree-pay-3-million-civil-penalty-federal-settlement-requiring-5

To see the proposed Consent Decree in the civil case, which will be subject to a thirty-day comment period https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decree/file/1437886/download

Free Ethics CLE via Zoom
On Thursday, October 14, 2021, at noon central time, I will conduct a CLE Program on Court Filing, Defamation Risks, and Other Ethical Issues. It will be held via Zoom so you can attend from your home or office.  The State Bar of Texas has approved the CLE for 1.0 hour of ethics.

For Texas lawyers who provide their bar number, we can make the submission for CLE credit.  To receive the Zoom link please send an email to Jackie Krejci  jkrejci@craincaton.com