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‘Sending A Message’: EPA And DOI Raid Oil Company’s Offices After It Spilled Fewer Than 3 Barrels Of Oil: REPORT

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department (DOI) agents searched the Louisiana office of QuarterNorth Energy, an oil company, for documents relating to an oil leak that spilled two and a half barrels of oil, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

EPA and DOI agents searched the company’s office in Lafayette for documents detailing a January 2022 offshore oil leak that spilled 2.5 barrels or 107 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to Bloomberg, who cited sources familiar with the situation. The incident occurred when equipment got stuck in a well on QuarterNorth’s production platform, which exacerbated a preexisting leak, according to a report produced by the DOI’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which monitors offshore oil and gas producers.

“It’s harassment … they are sending a message to oil and gas producers,” Steve Milloy, a member of former President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Spills are accidental and this one sounds really trivial… yet they want to treat it as a crime for political reasons.”

The well was leaking since Jan. 11, 2021, and was previously managed by QuarterNorth’s now-defunct predecessor, Fieldwood Energy, until late October, according to the bureau’s report.

“I can see them fining companies for them or making them clean them up, but raiding them is over the top,” Milloy stated.

Regulators found that the well’s leak, which was caused by corrosion and tubing problems, originated from operations that occurred ten years earlier.

The bureau claimed that Fieldwood displayed a “lack of urgency to remediate the threats caused by the well.”

“Fieldwood’s lack of mitigation, communication and urgency to address the issues associated with the D-36 well played a major role in the events leading up to the incident,” the bureau said.

The leak may have violated a deal that Fieldwood struck with federal prosecutors following similar incidents, according to Bloomberg. The Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said it would not prosecute Fieldwood, which filed for bankruptcy in August 2021, for alleged criminal liabilities over previous oil spills if they agreed to pay a fine of $2 million and avoid further incidents.

QuarterNorth, the EPA and DOI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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