Thursday, January 28, 2016

The EPA Re-visited the Savoy Processing Plant on M52 (Witt Farm) and Still Found Leaking Equipment

Following my request to the EPA for information about the outcome of the legal procedure against Savoy Energy, the EPA's officer in charge, Natalie Topinka told me that there is still no final settlement on the findings of the EPA during their announced site visit back on 4/28/14 - that lead to a formal notification of Savoy's violations against the Clean Air Act on May 29 2014.

Natalie also informed me that the current settlement discussions remain confidential, and that the EPA conducted another inspection at the Adrian 25 facility (Witt Farm) on October 6, 2015. I filed a FOIA for the inspection report and accompanying IR videos and images (attached below - videos on Youtube, pictures on Flickr soon).

The inspection report is not stating violations but is meant to be a straight documentation of observations, which specifically excludes any regulatory interpretations, compliance determinations, speculations, or recommendations. The EPA continues to work on this internally as an open enforcement case.

Natalie also clarified on the most recent inspection to be marked as an "announced" inspection, meaning that the EPA gave notice to the facility prior to the inspection (as was the original 4/28/14 visit!). She stated that the vast majority of EPA's inspections are unannounced: "However, for certain facilities that may not have employees on site all the time, we may give notice to ensure that we can gain access to the site when we arrive, and to arrange for an employee to be available to answer questions and receive presentation of our credentials. That was the situation with the October 6, 2015 inspection - we gave notice only a couple of hours in advance to make sure that someone from Savoy would be there during our visit."

This shows that Savoy - like most environmental violators in the oil and gas industry - do not even worry about covering up their improper processes as they know very well that the existing laws have not much teeth and allow them to do business as usual despite proven violations for a long time until a final settlement is reached - and then still get away with it by declaring that the required measures to improve their environmental footprint are beyond their financial capabilities.

Natalie Topinka offered me again to share her contact information for anyone who has questions:

Natalie M. Topinka
Environmental Scientist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 Air Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Branch
77 West Jackson Boulevard (AE-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
ph: (312) 886-3853
fax: (312) 692-2410

Protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility.  Help EPA
fight pollution by reporting possible harmful environmental activity.
To do so, visit EPA's website at

The PDF of the below document can be found here

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