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Monday, July 15, 2013

Report Says States Rarely Fine Drillers When Spills Occur

From EnergyWire:
There are no national figures on oil and gas spills or enforcement. But where state records are available, they show agencies pursue fines against oil and gas producers in only a small minority of spill cases.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality pursued water quality fines against 10 producers in 2012, records show, as it recorded 204 oil and gas production spills.
In Texas, the leading producer of oil and gas, regulators sought enforcement for 2 percent of the 55,000 violations identified by drilling inspectors in the last fiscal year.
In Pennsylvania, the heart of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling boom, 2012 records show state regulators levied fines in 13 percent of the cases where inspectors found violations.
And in New Mexico, oil and gas regulators haven't issued fines in years.
State oil and gas agencies are the main regulators of the nation's drilling boom. That boom is creating new wealth for oil and gas drillers and some landowners, but it's also leading to more accidents and pollution.
Spills, blowouts and other mishaps rose 17 percent from 2010 to 2012 in states where comparable data was available, an EnergyWire investigation found (EnergyWire, July 8). Drilling activity in those states went up 40 percent.
Overall, there were more than 6,000 spills in 2012, an average of more than 16 spills a day.
Read more here.

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