U. S. and West Virginia reach settlement with Antero Resources for Clean Water Act violations
The settlement filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia requires Antero to pay a civil penalty of $3.15 million and to conduct restoration, stabilization, and mitigation work at impacted sites. Antero will also provide mitigation for aquatic resource impacts.
Impacts to aquatic resources will be partially offset at a 51.5-acre permittee-responsible mitigation site that will restore, enhance, create, and preserve over 11,500 linear feet of streams and more than 3 acres of wetlands. The EPA-estimated value of the proposed mitigation and restoration is $8 million.
The violations involved the unauthorized disposal of dredged and fill materials into waters of the United States at or near sites where Antero had constructed well pads, compressor stations, impoundments, pipeline crossings, access roads, and other structures associated with Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
While each of the 32 sites varied regarding the extent of the impact to wetlands and streams, the unauthorized activities impacted more than 19,000 linear feet of streams and over four acres of wetlands and included:
- Stream impoundments;
- Filling wetlands and streams for compressor station pads;
- Realigning and culverting stream segments; and
- Failing to fully restore “temporary” impacts.
Approximately half of the sites were identified by Antero through a self-audit. Several of the sites were associated with construction failures or “slips” from access roads and pads. ■