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Health, Science & Environment

Federal court says Utica Resource Operating must clean up its act

A federal court issued a consent decree that requires Utica Resource Operating LLC to pay a $1 million penalty and to bring 15 well pads in Guernsey, Morgan and Washington Counties into compliance.

The order resolves allegations that URO violated the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resources Division negotiated the settlement that requires URO to put nearly $2 million into making its facilities compliant with the Clean Air Act and another $1.5 million into upgrading or retrofitting equipment, including reviewing the design of tank and vapor control systems.

In 2019, the EPA found that 11 URO wells had uncontrolled emissions of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The emissions came from pressurized gases leaking out access hatches that were not sealed correctly.

The EPA also found violations in inspections, recordkeeping and reporting.

Upgrades to the facilities are expected to result in annual reductions of 307 tons of VOCs, 940 tons of methane and 4,429 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the United States Department of Justice.

URO is based in Marietta.

A representative of the company was not immediately available for comment.

Health, Science & Environment utica resource operating
Allie Vugrincic has been a radio reporter at WOSU 89.7 NPR News since March 2023.