MADIGAN SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT TO STATE FOR CAPPING ABANDONED, LEAKING WELLS
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today said that an Illinois firm should repay thousands of dollars that the State of Illinois paid for contractors to plug abandoned and leaking wells in Crawford County.
In April, Madigan filed a suit in Sangamon County Circuit Court against Three Star Drilling and Producing Corporation of Sumner. Through the suit, Madigan seeks to recover approximately $77,000 plus interest that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) paid from its Plugging and Restoration Fund to cap nine Crawford County wells between April 2006 and January of this year.
IDNR incurred the costs to cap the wells because Three Star failed to comply with administrative rulings and undertake this work. Specifically, seven of the wells were the subject of an IDNR administrative ruling in 2001. At that time, IDNR found that these wells had been abandoned and needed to be capped. Three Star challenged that ruling in court and lost. As a result, IDNR took action and incurred the costs to cap the wells.
In 2003, IDNR issued an administrative ruling requiring Three Star to plug two other Crawford County wells because they were leaking water and oil. Three Star failed to comply with this ruling. Consequently, IDNR contracted to find the source of the leaks and eventually capped the wells.
In addition to asking the court to order the reimbursement, Madigan’s lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $1,000 a day for each violation by Three Star of the Illinois Oil and Gas Act.Bureau Chief Thomas Davis is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.