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MarkWest Fined $610K for Pennsylvania Air Emission Violations

MPLX affiliates MarkWest Liberty Midstream Resources LLC and Ohio Gathering Co. LLC will perform a trio of environmental projects and pay a $610,000 civil penalty for air emission violations at natural gas facilities in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania through a settlement with the Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The settlement addresses alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act for failure to obtain permits and keep records associated with maintenance activities that resulted in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the agencies said in a joint statement Tuesday.

"I'm pleased to announce that through this agreement, MarkWest will make improvements to more than 300 facilities in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio," said EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine. "We estimate that these improvements will reduce VOC emissions from these facilities by more than 90%, helping bring cleaner air to surrounding communities."

Under terms of the settlement, MarkWest is expected to spend $2.6 million to install and operate technologies that minimize VOC emissions at its facilities throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania in the Utica and Marcellus shales.

MarkWest also agreed to:

  • Implement two supplemental environmental projects (SEP) to install and operate ambient air monitoring stations upwind and downwind of its compressor stations in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania;
  • Conduct one SEP requiring the dissemination and demonstration of proprietary MarkWest technology for reducing VOC emissions; and
  • Complete one community environmental project for emissions monitoring equipment under an agreement between MarkWest and Pennsylvania.

The settlement is expected to reduce VOC emissions by more than 700 tons per year, the agencies said.

The consent decree has been lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and is subject to public comment for at least 30 days. Notice of the lodging of the consent decree will appear in the Federal Register allowing for a 30-day public comment period before the consent decree can be entered by the court as final judgment.

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