Chevron to pay federal fine for Red Butte, Willard Bay oil spills

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 6:08 p.m. MDT

Chevron avoided possibly millions of dollars in federal fines for oils spills at Red Butte Creek and Willard Bay in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tom Smart, Chopper 5, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Chevron avoided possibly millions of dollars in federal fines for oils spills at Red Butte Creek and Willard Bay in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Texas-based Chevron Pipe Line Co. agreed to pay an $875,000 fine for Clean Water Act violations, the EPA announced Monday. The money will go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which federal agencies use to respond to oil spills.

According to a federal lawsuit, Chevron faced fines of up to $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled if the violations were found to result from gross negligence or willful misconduct.

In June 2010, a hole in the company's Rangely pipeline spewed about 800 barrels of oil into Red Butte Creek that flowed downstream to Liberty Lake. The lake in Liberty Park was closed for nearly a year for cleanup and restoration. Chevron could have been fined as much as $3.4 million, according to the lawsuit.

In March 2013, about 499 barrels of diesel fuel from a ruptured pipeline flowed into wetlands adjacent to Willard Bay, a reservoir connected to the Great Salt Lake. It damaged habitat for beavers and waterfowl and contaminated shallow groundwater. Chevron faced up to a $1.7 million fine in the case.

Monday's agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period, starting on the date the notice of the proposed settlement is published in the Federal Register.

The federal settlement follows recent agreements with the state over the spills, including a $5.3 million payment in December in the Willard Bay case.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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