ExxonMobil company charged with fracking-related crimes
ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy is being prosecuted for alleged environmental crimes after it spilled fracking wastewater into a Pennsylvania river in 2010.
The company’s response? It claims the criminal charges could harm the environment.
We told you about this spill in July — that’s when the company agreed to pay a $100,000 federal fine for spilling 57,000 gallons of contaminated fluids out of sloppily maintained tanks in Penn Township and into a tributary of the Susquehanna River. It also agreed to spend $20 million to get its frackwater treatment and disposal facilities up to scratch in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Following a grand jury investigation, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office announced this week that XTO was also being charged with five counts of violating Pennsylvania law:
The grand jury found that XTO hired a company to recycle waste water at the Marquardt site from Nov. 4, 2010 through Nov. 11, 2010. After that one-week period, XTO directed that company to remove their processing equipment from the site and transport it to another XTO well site in West Virginia. However, XTO allegedly continued to transport and store gas well waste water at the Marquardt site despite not having the proper equipment on site to safely store or process it.
Prosecuting fracking companies when they piss their toxic waste all over nature would seem to be a good way of encouraging them to be better environmental stewards. But XTO begs to differ — because every day is opposite day in Frack Land.
“Charging XTO under these circumstances could discourage good environmental practices, such as recycling,” XTO said in a statement responding to the charges.
Oh, do tell us more, XTO. We can’t wait to hear you explain that logic.
“Criminalizing a small recycling spill sends the wrong environmental and legal message,” the company said. “The action tells oil and gas operators that setting up infrastructure to recycle produced water exposes them to the risk of significant legal and financial penalties should a small release occur.”
That snap you just heard was your synapses collapsing in the face of Orwellian gibberish.
XTO Energy operates through a large swath of Pennsylvania.
John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: email@example.com.Find this article interesting? Donate now to support our work.Read more: Business & Technology