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EPA Orders Westport Oil and Gas to Restore Lincoln County, Wyo., Wetlands

Release Date: 01/10/2006
Contact Information: Diane Sipe 303-312-6391; Sheldon Muller 303-312-6916

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order against Westport Oil and Gas Co. to correct the environmental damage it caused to three acres of wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The environmental damage to the wetlands adjacent to the Hams Fork River near Granger, in Lincoln County, Wyoming, occurred during the construction by Westport Oil and Gas Co. of two natural gas well pads and associated access roads and connecting pipelines. Westport began construction in April 2004 and completed the work in January 2005. EPA’s order requires the removal of fill discharged into the wetlands and restoration of the three acres to pre-impact condition.

EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Carol Rushin said, “EPA is taking these actions to prevent the pollution of the wetlands, streams, and lakes of Wyoming and to deter future violations of Federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”

Rushin said that the wetlands in this area provide important functions and values, including water quality enhancement; flood attenuation; habitat for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other wildlife; and aesthetics.

The Hams Fork River and its adjacent wetlands are tributary to the Black’s Fork River which is tributary to the Green River.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., which includes lakes, rivers, streams, and certain wetlands. Property owners, contractors, or developers planning to do any work in such waters should always contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory office in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at (307) 772-2300 before they begin work to determine if a permit is required.