American pipeline operating company Sunoco Pipeline L.P agreed to pay more than $5.4 million and take steps to prevent oil spills to settle claims for pipeline spills in three different U.S. states, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a statement Wednesday, the Justice Department said the company would pay the U.S. government $5 million in federal civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations.
An additional $436,274 will be paid for civil penalties and in response costs to resolve claims by the three American states.
The three crude oil spills occurred in the U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma during 2013, 2014, and 2015, according to the statement.
Mid-Valley, the owner of the pipeline that caused the oil spill in Louisiana, is responsible along with Sunoco, for payment of the civil penalties and state costs relating to the incident in the state of Louisiana, it added.
In addition, Sunoco agreed to take action to prevent future oil spills by identifying problems that caused the previous incidents.
Such action includes pipeline inspections and repairs to pipeline defects that could lead to future spillages, according to the statement.
Sunoco will also be required to take steps to prevent and detect corrosion in pipeline segments that the company is no longer using, the statement also said.
"This settlement holds Sunoco and Mid-Valley accountable for the harms to the environment caused by their oil spills and requires Sunoco to improve its environmental safety compliance for the oil pipelines that it operates in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma," Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in the statement.
Around 550 barrels of oil spilled in Tyler County, Texas in 2013. While the 2014 incident saw 4,500 barrels of spillage in Caddo Parish, Louisiana; the 2015 spillage of 40 barrels took place in Grant County, Oklahoma, according to the statement.
By Ovunc Kutlu