Feds fine North Dakota driller $2.1M

Feds fine North Dakota driller $2.1M
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An oil company in North Dakota has agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complaint against it. 

Regulators have accused Slawson Exploration Co. of failing to run proper pollution control systems on storage tanks at about 170 oil and natural gas wells in North Dakota. 

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The EPA said the infraction led to emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to smog and to surface-level ozone contamination. 

Slawson will pay a $2.1 million fine to settle the EPA’s complaint against it and spend about $2 million to improve its emissions monitoring and storage systems, the EPA said in a press release.

Regulators estimate the system upgrades, many already in place, will reduce at least 11,700 tons of VOC emissions, 400 tons of other pollutants and 2,600 tons of methane. 

“EPA is committed to making sure that domestic energy development grows in a responsible way that protects public health and complies with the law,” Cynthia Giles, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement. 

“We take public health and environmental protection very seriously, which is why our company has been proactive in the evaluation of our oil and gas facilities and implemented a robust inspection and maintenance program well ahead of this announcement,” the company’s president said in a statement to Forum Communications.