This has to be a record-high amount for a fine plus remediation work, at least in the Marcellus/Utica. Antero Resources has cut a deal with three government entities–the U.S. Dept. of Justice, federal Environmental Protection Agency, and West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection–to pay a $3.15 million fine and spend another $8 million to mitigate and restore 32 sites in West Virginia.
Antero is accused of violating the federal Clean Water Act with “unauthorized activities [and] violations that threaten human health and the environment” in Harrison, Doddridge, and Tyler counties. What kind of health-threatening violations did Antero engage in?
* monkeyed with some creeks (without permission)
* filled in some swamps in order to build compressor stations (without permission)
* changed the course for a few sections of streams (without permission)
* failed to fully restore “temporary” impacts.
In other words, Antero did what all drillers do when building roads and well pads. They just didn’t get a “mother may I?” permission slip first from a dozen different local/state/federal/galactic/intergalactic regulatory agencies.
We’re not excusing bad behavior, we just fail to see where there was any seriously bad behavior on the part of Antero. Certainly there was no intentional bad behavior.
The DOJ itself, in announcing the “deal” cut with Antero, said: “Approximately half of the  sites were identified by Antero through a self-audit. Several of the sites were associated with construction failures or “slips” from access roads and pads.” Antero turned themselves in! “Hey, we missed some things, here’s a list.” And some of the “impacts” and “harms” came from accidents, not intentional actions on the part of Antero.
And so now Antero must pay the piper, big time.
The DOJ reached a “settlement” with Antero. Here’s how it works with the DOJ and settlements–they tell you how much you’ll pay, and you pay it. Or else you go to jail and they shut your company down. “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Where have we heard that before?
Here’s the DOJ announcing the “settlement”:
The Department of Justice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) announced that they have reached a settlement with Antero Resources Corporation resolving alleged violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) at 32 sites in Harrison, Doddridge, and Tyler Counties in West Virginia.
The settlement filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia requires Antero to pay a civil penalty of $3.15 million and to conduct restoration, stabilization, and mitigation work at impacted sites. Antero will also provide mitigation for aquatic resource impacts.
“The Department of Justice is pleased to join with the EPA and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in reaching this settlement and will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to hold corporations accountable for violating the nation’s environmental laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
“This settlement seeks to rectify harm done to U.S. waters from unauthorized activities undertaken by Antero, and demonstrates that federal and state regulators are committed to pursuing violations that threaten human health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.
Impacts to aquatic resources will be partially offset at a 51.5-acre permittee-responsible mitigation site that will restore, enhance, create, and preserve over 11,500 linear feet of streams and more than 3 acres of wetlands. The EPA-estimated value of the proposed mitigation and restoration is $8 million.
The violations involved the unauthorized disposal of dredged and fill materials into waters of the United States at or near sites where Antero had constructed well pads, compressor stations, impoundments, pipeline crossings, access roads, and other structures associated with Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
While each of the 32 sites varied regarding the extent of the impact to wetlands and streams, the unauthorized activities impacted more than 19,000 linear feet of streams and over four acres of wetlands and included:
- Stream impoundments;
- Filling wetlands and streams for compressor station pads;
- Realigning and culverting stream segments; and
- Failing to fully restore “temporary” impacts.
Approximately half of the sites were identified by Antero through a self-audit. Several of the sites were associated with construction failures or “slips” from access roads and pads.*
Our opinion is that the DOJ is still, after two years of Trump, infested with Obamadroids and establishment swamp dwellers. We have zero trust in either the DOJ or its toadies running the FBI. Corrupt–the entire lot of them.
*U.S. Dept. of Justice (Feb 11, 2019) – U. S. and West Virginia Reach Settlement With Antero Resources Corporation for Clean Water Act Violations at 32 West Virginia Sites
Here’s the original complaint filed against Antero, outlining chapter and verse each supposed enviro “crime” committed:
Here’s the “settlement” Antero was forced to sign:
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