Marathon Oil agrees to record penalty for oil and gas pollution

The federal government announced a $241.5 million settlement with Marathon Oil on Thursday for alleged air quality violations at the company’s oil and gas operations in the Forth Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Marathon Oil will be required to pay a civil penalty of $64.5 million, the “largest ever” for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources, officials said. These facilities can include oil and gas tank systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice said the settlement requires Marathon to reduce climate- and health-harming emissions from those facilities and will result in over 2.3 millions tons worth of pollution reduction. 

Extensive compliance measures will need to be implemented to achieve major reductions in harmful emissions from over 200 facilities across North Dakota, federal officials said.  Marathon will also be required to obtain permits with federally enforceable emissions limits at production facilities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and future operations in the state of North Dakota, the Department of Justice said.

“This historic settlement – the largest ever civil penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources – will ensure cleaner air for the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and other communities in North Dakota, while holding Marathon accountable for its illegal pollution,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

Marathon Oil is the nation’s 22nd largest oil producer, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The company is the 7th largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry.

Marathon officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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