Marathon Oil Hit With Record $64.5 Million Penalty for Clean Air Act Violations – Huge Settlement Includes $177 Million Investment in Pollution-Cutting Measures!

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – Marathon Oil has agreed to pay a record $64.5 million penalty and invest approximately $177 million in pollution-reduction measures to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its oil and gas operations in North Dakota. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department made the announcement on Thursday.

This penalty, the largest ever for Clean Air Act violations at stationary sources such as oil refineries, power plants, and factories, signals a shift toward stricter enforcement of environmental laws under the Biden administration. This initiative aims to address the shortcomings in oversight experienced during the previous administration.

David Uhlmann, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated that the settlement marks a significant step in holding corporate polluters like Marathon accountable for threats posed to communities and the environment. Attorney General Merrick Garland also emphasized that the agreement will lead to cleaner air for residents across North Dakota.

The allegations against Marathon included violations at nearly 90 facilities, including those located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota. The violations resulted in the release of substantial amounts of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and methane – pollutants known to contribute to respiratory illnesses and climate change.

As part of the settlement, Marathon must take measures to reduce over 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the next five years, equivalent to removing 487,000 cars from the road for a year. The agreement also aims to prevent nearly 110,000 tons of volatile organic compound emissions, further mitigating the company’s environmental impact.

Despite being ranked as the country’s 22nd-largest oil producer in 2022, Marathon was the seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the oil and gas industry. A significant portion of these emissions resulted from the practice of flaring, a method that releases methane into the atmosphere instead of capturing it.