Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

Why Shell Violates the Law: Arctic Pollution

shell stock

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) agreed to pay $1.1 million for violating permits regulating air pollution from its oil-exploration fleet in the Arctic Ocean last year.  The settlement announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency said that vessels scouting for oil in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas for two months in 2012 didn’t use all mandated pollution-control or monitoring equipment. The EPA had set the requirements as a condition for issuing a permit for Shell’s Arctic exploration.

“Based on EPA’s inspections and Shell’s excess emission reports, EPA documented numerous air permit violations for Shell’s Discoverer and Kulluk drill ship fleets,” the agency’s Seattle office said in a statement late yesterday. Shell suspended its Arctic operations after a series of mishaps in 2012 as it sought oil off Alaska’s North Coast. In December, the drill ship Kulluk broke free of a tow boat in a storm and was stranded on an uninhabited Alaska island. In September, a containment dome designed to cap spills had difficulty getting certified and was damaged during tests.

The air permit violations are a separate from the failed tow and containment device. The fines are $710,000 related to the Discoverer and $390,000 for the Kulluk, the EPA said.

Excerpt, Mark Drajem, Shell to Pay U.S. $1.1 Million for Arctic Air Pollution, Bloomberg, Sept 6, 2013

See also The Arctic Challenger

Polluting Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods: Union Pacific Railroad, United States

Union Pacific Railroad Co. will pay $1.5 million to settle alleged violations of the US Clean Water Act and US Oil Pollution Act.  The settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency resolves a Clean Water Act enforcement action against Union Pacific that involves operations at 20 rail yards and spills of oil and coal in 2003 and 2004 along railroad lines in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Most of the rail yards are in low-income areas with minority populations, according to the EPA.

About $1.4 million of the settlement will be deposited into a fund used by federal agencies to respond to oil spills. The remaining $100,000 will be deposited in U.S. Treasurys for coal spills and storm-water violations.   The settlement requires the company to develop a management and reporting system to ensure compliance with various regulations.  Union Pacific also must perform installations to safely store oil and prevent spills from leaving its properties. The company must designate an environmental vice president tasked with following oil spill prevention and storm water control requirements at the 20 rail yards.  The complaint stemmed from six oil spills in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and three coal spills in Colorado.

Union Pacific to pay $1.5M settlement in oil spills, Northern Colorado Business Report, February 10, 2012