M&M Environmental Group of Conway was forced to lay off 200 employees on Friday after Southwestern Energy Co. abruptly ended its contract over a crash last week involving one of M&M’s drivers, the company’s CEO said.
M&M CEO Scott McFadin said he was informed Wednesday that the contract for environmental and trucking services and well completions was ending as a result of the March 11 crash. He said he was told by Southwestern that the crash had caused too much “exposure” for the company, which is headquartered in Houston but works in the Fayetteville Shale.
“The exposure from the wreck was the key factor,” McFadin said in an interview.
McFadin said the crash occurred after one of his drivers fell asleep at the wheel and went off the road on Highway 64 in Faulkner County. The vehicle released an unknown amount of “drill cuttings” and temporarily blocked the westbound lanes, according to an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality emergency response report.
McFadin said his company will have about 50 employees between its offices in Conway and Oklahoma after the layoffs. He said he plans for the company to pursue other opportunities in commercial construction the company has been unable to take because its employees were busy with the Southwestern contract.
Christina Fowler, a spokesman for Southwestern Energy, released the following statement in an email:
“Southwestern Energy does not take lightly the decision to part ways with any vendor, including M&M, and when it becomes necessary to make that decision, SWN believes that the reasons for it are better left between the parties,” Fowler wrote.