| NEW YORK, July 18
NEW YORK, July 18 An Exxon Mobil Corp
subsidiary agreed to pay a $100,000 fine for spilling wastewater
from a natural gas drilling site in Pennsylvania that polluted a
local river, U.S. regulators said on Thursday.
In a statement announcing the fine, the U.S. Justice
Department and the Environmental Protection Agency also said XTO
Energy Inc, which was acquired by Exxon in 2010, would
also be expected to spend about $20 million to improve
wastewater management near its gas wells that use fracking in
Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for XTO, said the company thought
the fine was fair and already had begun spending on the
"There is no lasting environmental impact," he said.
Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting
water and chemicals deep underground to fracture shale rock and
unleash oil and gas. Energy companies are increasingly treating
and reusing water in the drilling process.
State environmental inspectors in 2010 found dirty water
leaking from an open valve on a tank at an XTO water recycling
plant in Penn Township, Pennsylvania.
Authorities later found pollutants from the chemically
treated water, including chlorides, barium, strontium and total
dissolved solids, in a tributary of the Susquehanna River basin,
the government agencies said.
The fine was issued for violations of the federal Clean
Wastewater from natural gas exploration and production often
contains high levels of dissolved solids and other chemicals
that can contaminate the environment and drinking water, the
"The operational improvements required by today's settlement
will help to protect precious surface and drinking water
resources in Pennsylvania and West Virginia," EPA official
Cynthia Giles said in a statement.
The Justice Department and the EPA said XTO must install a
remote monitoring system for its drilling operations and
wastewater storage tanks, with alarms that immediately alert
operators if a spill occurs.
The government also said the company cannot use open tanks
to store wastewater to try to cut down on air emissions.