Firm to pay $3.3 million for fuel spill

Jan. 8, 2009 at 8:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The Explorer Pipeline Co. has agreed to pay a $3.3 million fine for a 2007 jet fuel spill in Texas, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the settlement resolves claims the Oklahoma company violated the U.S. Clean Water Act when approximately 275,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled from its interstate pipeline near Huntsville, Texas.

In a complaint filed Oct. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the federal government alleged that the company discharged oil into navigable waters.

The Justice Department statement said that on July 14, 2007, Explorer Pipeline's 28-inch interstate refined petroleum products pipeline ruptured, spilling jet fuel onto the surrounding area and into nearby Turkey Creek.

"Oil spills into our nation's waters endanger public health and the environment and warrant concerted enforcement efforts," said Ronald Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Today's settlement achieves an appropriate result and furthers our enforcement mission."

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and a judge's approval.

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