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Settlement secures $1.32M in penalties, environmental projects on Wind River Reservation

Release Date: 6/6/2005
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      DENVER -- The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached a settlement with three businesses for violations of several environmental laws on tribal lands in Fremont County, Wyoming. The settlement obtained penalties and supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) totaling $1,327,446, with the SEPs alone totaling $724,956.
BP America Production Co., CamWest, Inc. and CamWest Limited Partnership allegedly violated the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Oil Pollution Act on the Lander and Winkleman Dome Oil Fields in Fremont County, within the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. Included are underground injection, oil containment, and surface water discharge violations.
    The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming today, with CamWest and BP, formerly known as Amoco Production Co., paying penalties of $487,352 and $115,138, respectively, and also initiating supplemental environmental projects worth $429,621 and $295,335, respectively.
      “Today’s outcome demonstrates what we can accomplish when both sides come to the table and create a settlement that is good for area citizens and their environment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. Johnson. “If companies respect community resources, protect public health, and help ensure safe and clean water sources, situations like this will be avoided in the future.”
        “The EPA is gratified that everyone involved in the negotiations focused on solutions and settlement,” said Carol Rushin, Region 8 Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement, Compliance and Environmental Justice. “The supplemental environmental projects will provide significant environmental improvements to the tribal drinking water systems,”
          The SEPs involve the purchase and installation of piping and other equipment to upgrade water treatment facilities, providing better quality and quantity of drinking water to tribal members.
            CamWest and BP will implement the SEPs on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Through the course of the negotiations, CamWest substantially achieved compliance at the Lander and Winkleman Dome Oil Fields. Environmental and human health conditions on the Wind River Indian Reservation were improved during this time by alleviating the threat posed to underground sources of drinking water.
            The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal governments, respective utility organizations, tribal attorneys, and the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission provided extensive cooperation and input regarding the SEPs.
              CamWest recently transferred operation of the oil fields to a group of companies and individuals in conjunction with the settlement.