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Summit Resolves Blacktail

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Summit Midstream Partners LP (SMLP) has entered into criminal and civil agreements to resolve previously disclosed government investigations into the discovery, in January 2015 of a discharge of produced water into Blacktail Creek, near Marmon, North Dakota, and failure to report the spill on a timely basis.

The discharge emanated from a ruptured pipeline owned by a Summit operating subsidiary, Meadowlark Midstream Company which, at the time, was a subsidiary of and operated by Summit Midstream Partners, the parent entity of SMLP.

The companies are now subsidiaries of SMLP, since SMLP’s acquisition of all the outstanding membership interests in Meadowlark on March 4, 2016, and SMLP’s acquisition of Summit Investments on May 28, 2020.

The companies have entered into multiple agreements with the federal and state governments that would resolve environmental claims from the US and North Dakota, with respect to the 2015 Blacktail Release, and are responsible for fulfilling certain future requirements and the payment of an aggregate $36.3m in penalties.

The global settlement is subject to court approval before becoming effective and includes injunctive relief regarding pipeline operations management practices, many of which have already been implemented into the company’s routine operations, and continuation of Summit’s remediation work at the Blacktail Creek site.

Heath Deneke, president, CEO and chairman, said: “As a company, we have accepted responsibility for the produced water spill at the Blacktail Creek site from the beginning and have been working diligently over the past seven years on efforts to fully remediate the environmental impacts to the area, while also investing heavily in preventative system improvements, including state-of-the-art leak detection technology, centralized control room monitoring and alarm systems, and significant changes to our company-wide operating practices and procedures.”

Since discovering the spill in 2015, Summit has invested approximately $75m on these overall system improvements and environmental remediation measures at the Blacktail Creek site.

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