Colorado officers hit Encana Oil and Fuel subsidiary Hunter Ridge with a $225,000 positive Monday for a pipeline leak that has contaminated water and soil on an enormous recreation searching ranch close to Parachute.
The Colorado Oil and Fuel Conservation Fee imposed the penalty for a leak found in June 2016 on the 320-acre Bishop Ranch. It’s a part of a consent settlement that clears Encana and Hunter Ridge from additional state penalties for degrading water high quality.
Encana spokesman Doug Hock on Monday couldn’t say how a lot liquid leaked however acknowledged firm crews “eradicated the supply of the discharge inside hours of discovery” and that “the impacts have been contained.”
COGCC officers didn’t reply to queries about whether or not the leak has been stopped or continues to threaten well being and security.
The hydrocarbons degraded a ranch the place land managers rely on pristine circumstances to maintain deer and elk, important for Colorado’s more and more profitable enterprise of recreation.
Bishop Ranch operators filed a civil lawsuit July 18 towards Encana in Rio Blanco County claiming the pipeline leaked enormous quantities of hydrocarbons that proceed to infect springs, streams, underground water, vegetation and soil. The lawsuit alleges the environmental harm ruined a deliberate $5 million sale of the ranch.
The courtroom case hasn’t been resolved. Encana has bought off its Colorado oil and fuel belongings. Denver-based Caerus Oil and Fuel took over wells in northwestern Colorado in June.
Bishop Ranch proprietor Mike Bishop on Monday scoffed on the COGCC penalty, calling it pathetic and extremely unlikely to discourage future violations of state environmental guidelines.
“In the event you or I’d have completed that, we’d be in jail. However they’re above the regulation. There isn’t a liberty and justice for all,” Bishop mentioned.
“They’re allowed to do no matter they need. They’re an organization. They simply give the state a pair hundred thousand , inform them to close up, and it’s over. Did anyone go to jail right here? Did anyone get up and say they had been sorry? It’s simply not proper.”
Bishop mentioned he flew over the contaminated land and a spring north of Parachute on Monday and noticed brown liquid flowing to the floor.
“They’re killing us. I’m not taking a bribe. I’m not shutting my mouth,” he mentioned. “I would like them to go to courtroom. Let the decide and a jury resolve.”
Bishop Ranch attorneys acknowledged an effort by Encana to comprise and filter contaminated water and transfer it right into a cattle pond on contaminated land close by that the corporate bought.
“It has been 58 weeks because the spill was found. Encana continues to get well condensate from the contaminated springs at a price of about 2 barrels (84 gallons) every single day,” lawyer Mark Mason mentioned. “This environmental nightmare doesn’t finish with the cost of a nominal positive by an organization that has now primarily left the state. Mr. Bishop … is not going to allow them to quietly sweep this one underneath the rug.”
Final yr, COGCC officers notified Encana subsidiary Hunter Ridge that they had been contemplating penalties for a failure to handle waste in northwestern Colorado in a approach that protects water, amongst different violations.
A state doc offered to the Denver Publish Monday says that as of Aug. 1, Hunter Ridge had spent $2.7 million and recovered 1,195 barrels, or 50,190 gallons, of condensate from the discharge that contaminated Bishop Ranch and is continuous “to pursue the mandatory remediation work.”
State paperwork didn’t embody any estimate of how a lot liquid leaked from Hunter Ridge’s underground pipeline.
Earlier than promoting its oil and fuel belongings, Encana drilled three,967 wells and managed 693,000 acres of land within the Piceance Basin in northwest Colorado, courtroom paperwork present.
The corporate has confronted regulatory bother in Colorado earlier than. COGCC fined Encana $371,000 for failing to forestall and report contamination after an April 2004 leak from a properly that contaminated West Divide Creek with cancer-causing benzene.