Amoco to pay $26,000 fine for drilling violations

DENVER (AP) - Amoco Production Co. will spend $82,000 in a settlement for violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act at three drilling sites on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that Amoco will pay a $26,000 fine and spend $56,000 on environmental projects in southwestern Colorado for the violations.
In an administrative order proposed in June, the EPA accused Amoco of violating underground injection control rules at three injection wells. Those wells are used to inject mineral-laden water extracted from gas wells back into the earth.
The EPA alleged that Amoco exceeded the maximum pressure and rate at which the water is injected at one well, the maximum pressure for a second well and the maximum rate at a third well.
The EPA originally proposed fines of $63,100 for the violations, which were discovered through analysis of annual monitoring reports submitted by Amoco.
On Monday, the company agreed to settle the case by paying $26,000 in cash. In exchange, the EPA gave Amoco credit for the environmental work it agreed to perform, which is valued at $56,000.
The company will test water quality at 20 private wells identified by the Southern Ute Tribe. Amoco also will test and monitor a hot spring that may have been affected by violations at one of the wells.
"This is evidence that EPA pursues timely and appropriate enforcement action in Indian country," said EPA environmental scientist Nathan Wiser. "It also shows that companies that self report and come rapidly into compliance will benefit by facing reduced penalties under our policy."

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