[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 28, 2021)]
[Pages 73805-73806]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-28092]



Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Oil 
Pollution and Clean Water Acts

    On December 20, 2021, the United States' Department of Justice 
lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the U.S. District Court for the 
Eastern District of Louisiana in United States v. Taylor Energy Company 
LLC, Civil Case No. 20-2910 (E.D. La.).
    The Complaint in this civil action, filed on October 23, 2020, 
seeks removal costs, civil penalties, and natural resource damages 
(NRD) under Section 1002 and 1004 of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), 33 
U.S.C. 2702 and 2704, and Section 311 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 
1321. These claims arise from the discharge of oil from Taylor Energy 
Company LLC's (Taylor Energy's) former oil production facility on the 
Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico, which began when the 
facility was damaged during a hurricane in September 2004.
    Under the proposed Consent Decree, Taylor Energy will pay 
approximately $43.5 million--all of the company's available remaining 
assets--allocated as $15 million to a civil penalty, $16.5 million to 
NRD, and over $12 million to the U.S. Coast Guard removal costs, to 
resolve the civil claims arising from the oil discharge. The State of 
Louisiana is a co-trustee for natural resources injured by the spill, 
and the NRD money is a joint recovery to be used for natural resource 
restoration projects selected by the federal and State trustees. Taylor 
Energy will also transfer to the U.S. Department of the Interior 
(DOI)'s Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) over $432 million 
currently held in a trust for plugging the seafloor oil wells and 
otherwise decommissioning the facility, and the company will be barred 
from interfering in any way with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental 
Enforcement's (BSEE's) decommissioning work. Likewise, Taylor Energy 
commits not to interfere with the Coast Guard's oil containment and 
removal actions and agrees to turn over to DOI and the Coast Guard 
documents (including data, studies, reports, etc.) relating to the site 
to assist in the decommissioning and response efforts. Upon 
liquidation, Taylor Energy will transfer the value of its remaining 
assets to the U.S. as its final payment.
    In addition, the proposed Consent Decree requires the company to 
dismiss with prejudice its numerous lawsuits against the U.S., 
including challenges to the Coast Guard's decision to install a spill 
containment system and an appeal of the Coast Guard's denial of Taylor 
Energy's $353 million spill-cost reimbursement claim submitted to the 
U.S. Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
    The United States Department of Justice filed the proposed Consent 
Decree on behalf of the Coast Guard, DOI, and the federal and State 
trustees for natural resources. The designated federal trustees for the 
natural resources impacted by Taylor Energy's oil spill are the U.S. 
Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) and DOI through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service. The designated State trustees are the Louisiana Oil Spill 
Coordinator's Office, Department of Public Safety & Corrections; 
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources; Louisiana Department of 
Environmental Quality; Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; 
and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
    The publication of this notice opens a 40-day period for public 
comment on the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to 
the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources 
Division, and should refer to United States v. Taylor Energy Company 
LLC, DJ# 90-5-1-1-11008/2, Civil Case No. 20-2910 (E.D. La.). All 
comments must be submitted no later than 40 days after the publication 
date of this notice.

[[Page 73806]]

Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

         To submit comments:                     Send them to:
By email............................  [email protected].
By mail.............................  Assistant Attorney General, U.S.
                                       DOJ--ENRD, P.O. Box 7611,
                                       Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    During the public comment period, the proposed Consent Decree may 
be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of 
the proposed Consent Decree upon written request and payment of 
reproduction costs. Please mail your request and enclose a check or 
money order for $14.50 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to 
the United States Treasury to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ--ENRD, 
P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

Thomas Carroll,
Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment 
and Natural Resources Division.
[FR Doc. 2021-28092 Filed 12-27-21; 8:45 am]