Even corporations must answer to the law. X-Plor Energy SPV-1, Inc. an Oklahoma company based in Texas dumped waste product into the Breton Sound area for two years. On Wednesday (3.05), the company was handed a stiff penalty for polluting the Gulf.
U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced X-Plor to pay a 3.1 million dollar penalty. 2.5 million dollars will go to the U.S. Treasury and 600,000 dollars will be directed to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Trust Fund. In addition, the company must serve three years probation.
“Our Office will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to pursue charges against individuals and corporations whose illegal conduct threatens our region’s natural resources and public health,” stated U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite.
From 1997 until 2011, X-Plor operated the MP 35 Platform according to court documents. The platform generated a byproduct called “brine” or “produced water” during the process of separating oil and natural gas. Theoretically, the waste product was supposed to be pumped under pressure into disposal/injection wells located in Gulf of Mexico waters near the MP 35 Platform.
However, in November 2011, X-Plor sold the platform and the new owners quickly discovered that the brine was being continuously pumped back into the Gulf’s waters. The new owners contacted authorities who opened an investigation. A little bit of detective work revealed that for two years, X-Plor neglected repairs to injection lines and the disposal wells instead letting the waste flow.. The corporation saved $1,550,000 by ignoring the problem.
In November 2014, XPLOR pled guilty to one felony count of knowingly discharging produced water in the Breton Sound Area of the Gulf of Mexico in violation of the Clean Water Act, Title 33, United States Code, Section 1319(c)(2)(A).
“The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will not tolerate any business, corporation or individual that bypasses state and federal laws for personal, professional or monetary gain,” stated Peggy Hatch, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. “We take unpermitted discharges very seriously and will continue to aggressively prosecute those found to be in violation of environmental regulations.”