Washington, D.C. – U.S. petroleum pipeline owner and operator Magellan Midstream Partners has agreed to pay a civil penalty of US$5.3 million for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, as announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice. The alleged violations including illegally discharging gasoline and fuel oil from pipelines in Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Arkansas into nearby waterways over the past ten years.
“Today’s penalty should serve as a reminder that the Department of Justice and the EPA will pursue those who fail to comply with the laws that protect our environment,” said Ronald Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This agreement will also ensure that the company will take steps to prevent members of the general public from accidentally damaging this pipeline, the most common cause of the pipeline spills addressed in this action.”
According to the complaint, the company allegedly discharged more than 17,000 barrels of gas and fuel oil on eleven different dates between March 1999 and May 2006. Two of the largest spills flowed into a tributary and into the Missouri River itself in 1999 and 2005. The spills had a number of causes, including third-party damage from farm equipment and bulldozers, corrosion, leaks and pipeline operator error.
Along with the civil penalty, Magellan will set up a program to minimize third-party damage to the pipeline system, and will spend US$750,000 to remove or minimize any external threats along selected segments of the line. The company will also implement system-wide changes to improve employee training, leak response procedures, and protocols for detecting and responding to leaks and ruptures. Magellan owns and operates 6,700 miles (10,782 km) of petroleum pipeline network and 39 terminal facilities in eleven states.