Texas Oil Company Agrees to Pay for Louisiana Oil Spills

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Federal officials say a Texas oil company has agreed to pay $504,000 in penalties for five oil spills in 2005 and 2006.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency say Meridian Resource & Exploration also must do a better job of preventing spills in the future.

Houston-based Meridian operates a facility at Weeks Island in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. Company officials did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

Regulators say the company was responsible for five "unauthorized discharges of crude oil" between November 2005 and November 2006. In all, the spills dumped about 747 barrels of oil into Weeks Bayou and the Intracoastal Waterway.