Explorer agrees to water pollution settlement

Explorer Pipeline agreed to pay $3.3 million to resolve federal pollution charges stemming from a 2007 jet fuel spill in Texas, the US Justice Department and EPA said Jan. 8.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 9 -- Explorer Pipeline Co. agreed to pay $3.3 million to resolve federal pollution charges stemming from a 2007 jet fuel spill in Texas, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency said Jan. 8.

The spill occurred July 14, 2007, near Huntsville, Tex., when the company's 28-in. refined products pipeline ruptured, the two federal agencies said in their Oct. 2, 2008, civil complaint in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

More than 6,500 bbl of jet fuel spilled onto the surrounding area and into Turkey Creek, which flows into the Trinity River, the complaint indicated. It charged Explorer with violating the federal Clean Water Act.

DOJ and EPA said that in earlier responses to the spill, Explorer Pipeline, which is based in Tulsa, replaced the pipeline section that ruptured, completed cleanup of the affected waters and did follow-up work under a corrective order issued by the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The penalty payment will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is managed by the National Pollution Fund Center, DOJ and EPA said. The fund is used to pay for federal responses and compensation for damages from spills of oil or hazardous substances into US waters or adjacent shorelines, they said.

They said the proposed consent decree for the tentative settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period as well as court review and approval.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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