Deals struck for fines totalling $316,350 in Garden Gulch drilling fluid spill cases

Deals struck for fines totalling $316,350 in Garden Gulch drilling fluid spill cases

Two oil and gas companies responsible for major spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and other drilling fluids into Garden Gulch on the Roan Plateau of Colorado’s Western Slope in 2008 have reached settlement agreements with the state for fines totaling $316,350.

Marathon Oil, which admitted to a release of more than 1.2 million gallons of fracking fluids into the Parachute Creek tributary, which ultimately empties into the Colorado River, has agreed to a fine of $143,350, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Berry Petroleum, which spilled more than 100,000 gallons of drilling fluids into Garden Gulch, has agreed to a fine of $173,000. Berry failed to report initial spills in late 2007, but finally did self-report in early 2008.

The Garden Gulch spills, which formed a spectacular but tainted frozen icefall, are part of a state backlog of old enforcement cases. There will still be 12 cases more than a year old if the COGCC board approves the settlements at next week’s monthly hearing in Kiowa. Regulators have been making steady progress this year in dealing with old enforcement matters.

For more details on the settlement agreements, go to the COGCC website and click on Hearings on the menu bar; then click on the 2010/2011 Fiscal Year; then click on the April 28, 2011 date in the Applications Due column for the June 27 Hearing Date; then scroll down to the bottom of that page for the Berry and Marathon enforcement matters and click on Staff Recommendation for either case.

Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.

Got a tip? Story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.



About the Author

David O. Williams

David O. Williams is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy,
environmental and political issues for the Colorado Independent since
2008, delivering impact journalism on a wide range of topics. A former
editor for the Vail Daily and Vail Trail, Williams’ work also has
appeared in numerous publications since 1988, including the New York
Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He appears periodically as a
guest on Rocky Mountain PBS and David Sirota’s show on 760 AM in
Denver. Williams is the founder, part owner and editor of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>