Attorney General Seeks To Enjoin Roan Pollution

DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today announced that his office has filed a temporary restraining order and injunction against four West Slope oil companies for failing to control construction runoff in waterways near Parachute, Colorado.

The State’s motion would suspend any further construction work related to an oil and gas pipeline on the Roan Plateau. The motion would also require the named companies to control sediment runoff from an ancillary access road. The companies named in the filing include Enterprise Products Company and Enterprise Transportation Company, Berry Petroleum Company, and Marathon Oil Company. Enterprise is constructing the underground pipeline, with Berry Petroleum providing an access road for the heavy equipment necessary to construct the ditch.

Large areas of loose soil and banks of unconsolidated soil (Exhibit 1E) at the construction site lack the necessary control structures to minimize sediment runoff caused by rainfall and snowmelt. As a  result of the companies’ failure to mitigate these conditions, loose soil is washing from the road and trench areas into Corral Gulch, and, shortly thereafter, off a cliff (Exhibit 1A) into Garden Gulch (Exhibit 1I). This sediment-laden water then washes into Parachute Creek, a fishery which serves as a habitat for trout and other cold-water aquatic species. Spring runoff is now occurring, thereby greatly increasing the amount of soil released from the site, and further endangering aquatic wildlife.

Although Marathon and Berry have stormwater permits covering this site, none of the companies has implemented the necessary Best Management Practices to control and minimize sediment runoff.

The Attorney General’s Office filed the motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary mandatory injunction in Garfield County District Court at the request of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

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