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EPA proposes settlement with BNSF to resolve North Platte River oil spill in Wyoming

Apr 05, 2021

DENVER (March 5, 2021) – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) in which the company has agreed to pay $140,000 for alleged Clean Water Act violations associated with a discharge of oil into the North Platte River near Guernsey, Wyoming.

EPA alleges that BNSF violated Section 311(b)(3) of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(3) with discharges of 5900 gallons of diesel fuel and 800 gallons of lubricating oil into the North Platte River.  The discharges occurred on February 4, 2019, in Wendover Canyon, northwest of Guernsey; due to a derailment of three locomotives and five rail cars owned by BNSF. The sources of the diesel and oil were two of the derailed locomotives.

BNSF reported the spill to the National Response Center (NRC) and an EPA On-scene Coordinator was dispatched to the spill site.  BNSF worked with the State of Wyoming and EPA to clean up the spill. 

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances to waters of the US or their adjoining shorelines in quantities that may be harmful to public health or the environment and is administered by EPA and the Coast Guard. For more on the Clean Water Act’s prohibition against discharges of oil into waters of the U.S. and SPCC regulations, visit: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/clean-water-act-cwa-compliance-monitoring#oil.

This proposed Consent Agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the EPA’s Regional Judicial Officer.  The public comment period began March 24th and ends on April 23rd.  To access and comment on the Consent Agreement , visit: https://www.epa.gov/publicnotices/notices-search/location/Wyoming

Connect with EPA Region 8 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion8

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