The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced Monday that XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, will spend an estimated $3 million to restore eight sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands in West Virginia. The Fort Worth-based subsidiary will also pay a $2.3 million fine and will also implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws at the company’s West Virginia’s oil and gas extraction facilities that use horizontal drilling methods, according to the EPA.
The settlement resolves alleged violations of state law asserted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). The state of West Virginia is co-plaintiff in the settlement and will receive half of the $2.3 million civil penalty. “The extraction of domestic energy resources is vitally important, and so it is equally important that companies ensure that all activities are done in accordance with the nation’s environmental laws,” said Sam Hirsch, the acting assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement will resolve allegations that XTO damaged wetlands and streams by illegally discharging dredge and fill materials into streams, and restore wherever possible these damaged natural resources.”