MARSHALL COUNTY - Before investing $1.9 billion for new natural gas processing infrastructure in Ohio's Utica shale, MarkWest Energy will pay a $306,000 fine for polluting a stream across the Ohio River near its Mobley plant in Wetzel County.
"While the landslides at our Mobley facility were unforeseen and regrettable, MarkWest accepts responsibility for activities at its facilities," said Robert E. McHale, manager of environmental regulatory affairs for MarkWest.
According to an order from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, MarkWest allegedly violated the state's Water Pollution Act at the Mobley construction site on multiple occasions between October 2011 and July 2012. The DEP report notes serious erosion and multiple soil slips resulted in the pollution and obstruction of an unnamed tributary of the North Fork of Fishing Creek with sediment, trees and other debris.
"Following the occurrence of the landslides, which resulted in sediment entering tributaries from the landslides, MarkWest worked closely with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to remediate the affected areas - and will continue this work until the impacts are fully alleviated," McHale said.
Along with companies such as Dominion Resources and Williams Partners, MarkWest processes the natural gas piped in by drillers such as Chesapeake Energy, Antero Resources, Gulfport Energy and others. The processors strip the dry methane part of the gas stream away from the liquid portions - ethane, propane, butane and pentane - so the separated products can be marketed.
"MarkWest is committed to safety, environmental stewardship and responsible operational practices - and we value our working relationship with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other authorities in assisting us to professionally address the landslide impacts and compliance issues," McHale added.
Public comment will be accepted until March 22.
To file a comment or for information, write to the West Virginia Division of Water and Waste Management at 601 57th St. SE, Charleston, WV 25304; or call (304) 926-0495.