WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 26, 2014 -- Today, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (ExxonMobil) has agreed to pay a civil penalty totaling $1.4 million for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) stemming from a crude oil spill from the company's "North Line" pipeline near the town of Torbert, La., in 2012.
The United States' complaint, which was also filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleges that ExxonMobil discharged at least 2,800 barrels (or 117,000 gallons) of crude oil in violation of Section 311 of the CWA. On April 28, 2012, ExxonMobil's 20/22-inch-diamater pipeline ruptured near Torbert, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, and crude oil spilled into the surrounding area and flowed into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe.
The penalty is in addition to the costs incurred by ExxonMobil to respond to the oil spill and to replace the segment of ruptured pipeline. ExxonMobil is completing cleanup actions pursuant to an administrative order issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The company also continues to do follow-up work and to operate under a Corrective Action Order issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The CWA makes it unlawful to discharge oil or hazardous substances into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines in quantities that may be harmful to the environment or public health. The penalty paid for this spill will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund managed by the National Pollution Fund Center. The Fund is used to pay for federal response activities and to compensate for damages when there is a discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil or hazardous substances to waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines.