According to a new report from Wyoming Public Media, there were more than 500 spills in the oil and gas industry in 2013--in Wyoming alone. But the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission did not fine any of the responsible companies for spills. Not one.
The spilled materials included oil, natural gas, wastewater or drilling mud--all of which can include toxic substances. What's more, the agency hasn't fined anyone for a spill since 2011.
No wonder the spills keep happening--more than 500 is completely unacceptable. Meaningful penalties are essential to improve compliance. The laws on the books are only as good as the enforcement. Without strong enforcement to incentivize good behavior, the rules are not going to protect the public, workers, wildlife, or the environment.