Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) exxon-mobil

Published on September 13th, 2013 | by Jo Borras

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Exxon Mobil Caught Dumping Fracking Wastewater in PA

Exon Mobile Fracking

Remember the pop quiz? When you were a kid, one of your biggest fears was the pop quiz – an unannounced, spur-of-the-moment test that your teacher decided to lob your way. If you’d studied closely, you might be fine. If you hadn’t, this was your moment of reckoning. Pop quizzes exist in the corporate world, too, in the form of unannounced visits and meetings and audits and, in some cases, visits from regulating authorities. Earlier this week, news is coming out about an Exxon Mobil fracking company called “XTO Energy, Inc.” that got a pop quiz in the form of a visit from the EPA back in November of 2010. They failed.

Badly.

Just how badly this Exxon Mobil subsidiary failed that 2010 inspection is only now becoming clear. Here is what we know: the extent of its violations – which included illegally dumping at least 50,000 gallons of highly-toxic wastewater generated from the process of fracking into Pennsylvania’s water system – have resulted in criminal charges being filed against XTO.

“Criminal charges are unwarranted and legally baseless,” an XTO spokesman said yesterday in a statement posted on the company website on September 10th. “There was no intentional, reckless or negligent misconduct by XTO.” For its part, XTO announced that it will challenge the criminal charges filed by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane. XTO calls the illegal dumping a “spill”, but it’s worth noting that PA has historically been friendly to frackers. “Friendly” might even be an understatement, if you consider that the state allows oil and gas companies to conduct potentially dangerous fracking operations on college campuses without any obvious “giving a damn” about the health and safety of its student population.

I think we, as casual observers, have to assume that whatever the EPA agents saw at XTO was pretty damning, then.

Hilariously, XTO (and, by extension, Exxon Mobile) feels the charges filed against it may actually make oil and gas companies into more serious offenders! “The criminal charges filed by the Attorney General are unprecedented and an abuse of prosecutorial discretion. There was no intentional, reckless, or negligent misconduct by XTO. The incident did not result in significant or lasting environmental harm. Charging XTO under these circumstances could discourage good environmental practices, such as recycling.”

If you can wrap your brain around that “logic”, you’re a more twisted mental patient than I am. Or, possibly, an Exxon Mobil executive. Here’s hoping these guys go to jail for a long time, if only for making such a ridiculous statement.

 

Sources: Bloomberg, via Climate Connections, Mother Jones, and XTO energy.


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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Jason Carpp

    Why am I not surprised? Big oil companies like Exxon Mobil don’t care what the consequences of their actions are, as long as they get to do it.

    • Wiggletoes

      ExxonMobil closed on the merger of XTO in June 2010 and XTO must not have gotten the memo, Exxon prides itself on excellent engineering and doesn’t play that.

      • UKGary

        How many times have these sort of incidents occurred and not been detected?

        If the stuff is so benign, perhaps the executives in charge would care for a drink?

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          If it was benign, they wouldn’t have paid that last family $750K to never, ever speak of it again.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Sure it does. Did you know the US plans to bomb Syria for peace and institute mandatory f***ing for virginity, too?

  • http://MrEnergyCzar.com/ MrEnergyCzar

    Profit over the environment and the people that live in it, that’s the capitalist system we’re in….

    MrEnergyCzar

  • Scott

    Holy god. When will these PR folks ever realize what they’re saying just fans the flames? Just own it, you morons! Tell us you’re sorry, it won’t happen again, and that you’ll do what you can to make it right. HOW F’ING HARD IS THAT??

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  • RemyC

    ExxonMobil declares war on Tesla Motors! http://youtu.be/HRS1ScEKU2E

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