Anadarko to Mitigate Damaged Wyo. Wetlands

The Anadarko Petroleum Co. has agreed to mitigate approximately three acres of wetlands that were adversely impacted and pay a $157,500 civil penalty for its subsidiaries' destruction of those wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act. The violations occurred adjacent to the Hams Fork River in Lincoln County, Wyo.

EPA, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found that during construction of two natural gas well pads and associated access roads and connecting pipelines, Westport Oil and Gas Co. and Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore, LP, Anadarko’s wholly-owned subsidiaries acting without a permit, placed material into the wetlands, adversely altering their functions and values. The Federal Clean Water Act prohibits such discharges unless authorized by a Corps permit.

Mike Risner, EPA Region 8 Legal Enforcement Director, said, “EPA is taking these actions to prevent the destruction or pollution of the wetlands, streams, and lakes of Wyoming and to provide deterrence against future violations of Federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”

As compensatory mitigation for the violations, Anadarko is required to physically restore 0.85 acres of impacted wetlands and create an additional 4.18 acres of wetlands.

“The environmental impacts cited here could have been avoided if the company had consulted with the Corps prior to commencing its activities,” Risner noted.

The creeks, streams, rivers and adjacent wetlands in this area are important as habitat for wildlife, water storage and retention and flood control. Placing dredged or fill material in creeks, streams, rivers or wetlands can have adverse impacts on fish and wildlife habitat and can adversely impact the plants or insects they rely on as food sources. Damaging or destroying wetlands can lead to serious results such as increased flooding, a decline of water quality and extinction of species. A wetland’s functions and values can be regained through wetland mitigation strategies.

A Corps permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., which includes lakes, rivers, streams, and their adjacent wetlands.

Developers and other land owners, including oil and gas exploration and production companies, that plan to conduct earth-moving activities near wetlands, rivers, streams, ponds and other water bodies should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory office in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at (307) 772-2300, before they begin work to determine if they need a permit.

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