A Pennsylvania judge ruled Thursday that Exxon-Mobil Corp. subsidiary XTO Energy will face criminal charges for allegedly dumping 57,000 gallons of fracking waste in 2010.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed charges against the oil and gas giant in September, claiming the removal of a plug from a wastewater tank spilled thousands of gallons of contaminated fracking waste from the Marcellus Shale development into the soil.
Magisterial District Judge James G. Carn ruled that Exxon will face all eight charges stemming from the dumping. The charges will be “held for court,” including felony offenses for violating the state Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act.
XTO Energy claimed the spill has “no lasting environmental impact.”
“The action tells oil and gas operators that setting up infrastructure to recycle produced water exposes them to the risk of significant legal and financial penalties should a small release occur,” Exxon said in a September statement.
Exxon has partnered with Russia oil giant OAO Rosneft and is currently preparing to drill its first well in Arctic Ocean this year. They also plan to frack the Siberian shale fields and place a deep-water well int eh Black Sea.
“We have a unique partnership,” Glenn Waller, Exxon’s Russian chief, told Bloomberg. “They have the world’s biggest reserves and we have the largest market capitalization.”