HARRISBURG – A Texas company has paid a total of $208,625 in three settlements in lieu of fines and civil damages to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) as a result of the company’s pollution of Clearfield County’s Alex Branch and Little Laurel Run in 2009 and 2010.
EOG Resources Inc. agreed to pay the settlements following investigations by PFBC waterways conservation officers and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which determined that the substances the company released were deleterious, destructive or poisonous to fish. Alex Branch and Little Laurel Run are both designated as high quality waters under DEP regulations.
The settlements reached with EOG involved three separate pollution incidents.
- During the period of Aug. 25, 2009, through Oct. 30, 2009, EOG allowed fluid from a pit to enter a spring located at the Sykesville Hunting Camp on Alex Branch and its tributaries. EOG paid $99,125 for this incident. Approximately $40,000 of the settlement has been placed into a PFBC dedicated fund for the annual purchase of limestone sand at Parker Dam State Park. Local sportsmen’s organizations have historically bought the sand, which is applied each year to Laurel Run immediately upstream of the Parker Dam inlet by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The limestone sand helps neutralize the water quality within the impoundment, which allows the PFBC to manage the waterway as an approved stocked trout water.
- On Oct. 10 and 11, 2009, EOG allowed well wash fluid containing surfactant to enter Alex Branch and its tributaries. Surfactant is a chemical wetting agent which reduces surface tension and aids in the drilling process. EOG paid $10,000 for this incident.
- During the period of June 3, 2010, through Aug. 16, 2010, EOG allowed gas and a mixture of fresh water and well flowback water to flow into Little Laurel Run. EOG has paid $99,500 for this incident.
Earlier this month, the PFBC introduced a new toll-free hotline for the public to report suspected pollution incidents or fish kills. The number – 1-855-FISH-KIL (1-855-347-4545) – provides the public with a way to quickly alert PFBC staff to suspected environmental incidents.
Settlement monies are deposited into the PFBC’s Fish Fund. The PFBC relies almost entirely on fishing licenses, boat registrations and federal funding tied to fishing and boating to support its mission. It receives no funding from the state’s general fund.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.