Oil firm fined for wetlands destruction

The US Department of Justice said Wednesday that HS Resources Inc., San Francisco, will pay a $700,000 penalty for illegally destroying 20 acres of wetlands in Louisiana. HS Resources has agreed to spend $500,000 acquiring wetlands in the Calcasieu River watershed and will convey it to the nonprofit Nature Conservancy for preservation.


Washington, DC�The US Department of Justice said Wednesday that HS Resources Inc., San Francisco, will pay a $700,000 penalty for illegally destroying 20 acres of wetlands in Louisiana.

Also, in the settlement filed in federal court at Lake Charles, La., HS Resources agreed to spend $500,000 acquiring wetlands in the Calcasieu River watershed and will convey it to the nonprofit Nature Conservancy for preservation. That includes long-leaf pine savanna, which was once a widespread ecosystem but has been 98% altered or destroyed.

DOJ said, during 1997-99, HS Resources� drilling and construction activities destroyed wetlands at 10 Louisiana locations. Sec. 404 of the Clean Water Act requires firms to obtain an Army Corps of Engineers permit before they dredge or fill wetlands.

Justice said the penalty HS Resources will pay equals the economic benefit that it received by failing to comply with the law.

Under the settlement, within 2 weeks, HS Resources must apply for an after-the-fact permit for its drilling activities. If the corps issues a permit, HS Resources would have to mitigate the environmental effects of past drilling. If it denies the permit, the company would have to restore the drilling sites.

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