Sometimes we all need to be more patient. Enforcement of environmental regulations against a corporation rarely happens, and environmental enforcement against an oil and gas corporation is truly an amazing rarity. These do not come our way with any degree of frequency. However, here is one where an operator was finally fined – and in West Virginia.
The enforcement and fine in Tyler County, WV is especially amazing since it follows just weeks after the Trans Energy guilty pleas and fines totaling $600,000 for three violations of the Clean Water Act in Marshall County, WV.
On October 5, 2014, Jay-Bee Oil and Gas Company was fined $240,000
for violations at its Lisby Pad in Tyler County, WV.
Now, finally, after about a year and a half of deplorable operating conditions on one of the worse (readily visible) well pads that we have seen in years, some enforcement action has finally happened.
Findings of Fact
Jay-Bee Oil & Gas, Inc. owns and operates natural gas well sites known as Lisby / TI-03, RPT8, RPT5, Coffman, W701, TI213, McIntyre, and Hurley, which are located in West Virginia. Here is the timeline for inspections and complaints related to this site:
- March 28, 2014 – Personnel from the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) conducted an inspection at the Lisby / TI-03 Well Pad in response to a citizen odor complaint.
- April 1, 2014 – Personnel from the DAQ conducted a follow-up inspection at the Lisby 1 T1-03 Well Pad. Visible emissions were observed from the permanent production storage tanks.
- April 17, 2014 – Personnel from the DAQ conducted a follow-up inspection at the Lisby 1 TI-03 well pad in response to additional citizen odor complaints
- July 18, 2014 – In response to a citizen complaint, personnel from the DAQ conducted an inspection at the Lisby 1 T1-03 Well Pad. Objectionable odors and visible emissions were observed from the thief hatch of one of the permanent production storage tanks. A visible liquid leak was also observed on a pipe located at the tank nearest to the vapor recovery unit.
- September 30, 2014 – Jay-Bee Oil and Gas Company agrees to pay a total civil administrative penalty of two hundred forty thousand dollars ($240,000) to resolve the violations described in this Order (PDF).
This enforcement action was not done by the WVDEP Office of Oil & Gas, who seem to only politely try to encourage the drillers to somewhat improve their behavior. The WVDEP Department of Air Quality issued this Notice of Violation and enforcement.
Most of this air quality enforcement process started because of the continued, asphyxiating, toxic gas fumes that poured off the Jay-Bee Lisby pad for months. The residents were forced to move away and have not returned due to lack of confidence that it is safe to live in this area yet. These residents join the growing ranks of others, who are now referred to as Marcellus refugees.
Below are links to some of the newspaper articles on the same mismanaged well pad:
- Tyler Lisby Closes for Investigation – January 2014
- Mineral spirits from Lisby Well Pad found in stream – February 2014
- Fumes at Lisby Pad Sicken Residents – April 2014
By Bill Hughes, WV Community Liaison, FracTracker Alliance
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