Three oil and gas companies fined for polluting stream near Parachute

Three oil and gas companies have been fined nearly $700,000 for allowing loose dirt from a pipeline project and access road to wash over a cliff into Garden Gulch and then on into Parachute Creek above the Western Slope town of Parachute.

According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a story in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, penalty settlements totaling $680,000 will be paid by Enterprise Products Operating LLC, Berry Petroleum Co., and Marathon Oil Co. for the incident last year.

The state, which will put the money into its Water Quality Improvement Fund, will use the funds to improve water quality in the Parachute area through the “planning, design and construction of stormwater and domestic wastewater treatment facilities.” State officials said the companies did not use best-management practices to prevent pollution, although none of the companies admitted wrongdoing in the settlement.

Impacts on water quality as a result of natural gas drilling have been a hot issue all summer in Colorado, with most of the debate centering on the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

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