Greka Facing Additional Fines From U.S. EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Greka Oil and Gas, Inc. to immediately comply with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act at their California Lease Well, or face fines of up to $32,500 per day, for each violation.
This is the third enforcement order issued to Greka by the EPA since January 2008.
"The EPA safeguards local waters by vigorously enforcing clean water laws” said Rob Wise, federal on-scene coordinator for the Superfund Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Polluters who spoil Santa Barbara County’s waters will face aggressive penalties.”
On March 2, 2008 the California Lease Well landowner discovered an oil spill originating from a pipeline into Bradley Canyon Creek, and notified Greka of this spill. The Bradley Canyon Creek is a tributary to the Santa Maria River, which drains to the Pacific Ocean.
The spill was caused by a hole in one of Greka’s flowlines, which crossed the creek. More than 150 gallons of oil went directly into the creek, and oil sheen was observed at least 1 mile downstream.
Per this latest order, Greka must immediately remove all petroleum, and petroleum contaminated media fouled as a result of the spill. This includes, but is not limited to, crude oil, produced water, contaminated creek waters, contaminated soil along all access roads, contaminated soil in the Bradley Canyon Creek, petroleum-contaminated vegetation, and debris in nearby watersheds.
At the direction of the EPA, and with EPA oversight, Greka has been engaged in clean up efforts at Greka’s recent spill sites. At Bradley Canyon Creek, Greka has been directed to manually clean the creek, shoveling the oil and contaminated sediment into plastic bags.
The EPA is issuing this order to ensure that the cleanup is completed expeditiously, comprehensively, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
The EPA continues to work with members of the California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Pacific Strike Team, and Greka Oil and Gas, the responsible party, to contain and clean up Greka’s multiple recent oil releases, to prevent further harm to the environment.
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