Louisiana Oil Spills Cost Texas Oil Company $504,000
Meridian Resource Exploration LLC and Louisiana Onshore Properties
LLC (Meridian) will pay a $504,000 civil penalty and enhance the
pipeline monitoring and oil spill prevention program at its Weeks
Island facility in Iberia Parish, La., to resolve alleged violations of
the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and EPA
announced on Sept. 6.
The settlement resolves the claims asserted in a federal complaint
filed concurrently with the proposed consent decree. The complaint
seeks civil penalties and injunctive relief for five unauthorized
discharges of crude oil into waters of the United States between
November 2005 and Nov. 1, 2006, from two pipelines and one oil
production well at Meridian's facility. The complaint alleges that
approximately 747 barrels of oil (approximately 31,000 gallons) were
spilled into or along Weeks Bayou and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Under the consent decree, Meridian has agreed to expand and improve
its pipeline monitoring, inspection, and maintenance program, which
will include both internal and external corrosion prevention. Meridian
also will retain an independent consultant to evaluate Meridian's
pipeline maintenance and monitoring efforts. Meridian has replaced most
of the six-inch diameter pipeline that was the source of three of the
"This settlement advances our enforcement mission to protect the
environment and public health from oil spills into our nation's
waters," said Ronald J. Tenpas, acting assistant attorney general for
DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The $504,000 penalty is in addition to the costs incurred by
Meridian to respond to the oil spills as they occurred and to replace
the leaking pipeline. The penalty will be deposited in the federal Oil
Spill Liability Trust Fund.