Chesapeake Energy Corp. will pay one of the largest fines ever levied by the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that a Chesapeake subsidiary will pay a $3.2 million civil penalty for filling in streams or wetlands in West Virginia without a federal permit. Half that fine will go to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which had accused the company of violating state laws.
Chesapeake Appalachia LLC also will spend $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by its natural gas operations.
Chesapeake paid a $600,000 fine in a related criminal case last year after pleading to three violations of the Clean Water Act at one of the sites subject to Thursday's settlement.
Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer called the settlement a key milestone in the company's efforts to resolve federal and state claims related to surface construction activities in West Virginia before November 2010.
“The company is fully committed to regulatory compliance and is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to restore the impacted sites,” he said.
Chesapeake had been accused of filling streams and wetlands in eight West Virginia counties with sand, dirt, rocks and other materials as it built well pads, impoundments and road crossings.