Posted on October 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Cleanup slated at the Ignacio Gas Treating Plant on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A Texas-based energy company has been hit with a $207,150 Clean Air Act fine after polluting the air around Ignacio, Colorado for more than 10 years.
After working with the EPA to resolve the alleged violations, Texas-based Elm Ridge Exploration Company, LLC will clean up its act at the Ignacio Gas Treating Plant located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The company will also pay $67,850 in unpaid permit fees.
The plant has been in operation since 1999, accepting low-pressure raw and untreated natural gas from about 140 surrounding wells in the Ignacio Blanco Gas Field in La Plata County. The plan became a major source of nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde in 2000.
A 2010 inspection showed that the plant failed to show continuous compliance with various emissions standards and that the operators failed to obtain a required permit. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling | Tagged: Clean Air Act, Colorado, EPA, gas drilling, Ignacio gas treating plant, Natural gas, Southern Ute Reservation | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Sinclair’s Casper refinery. Photo courtesy Sinclair.
Settlement with EPA includes mandatory pollution control upgrades
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —As part of a crackdown on polluting refineries, the EPA has reached a settlement with two subsidiaries of the Sinclair Oil Corporation in Wyoming alleged to have violated air pollution limits.
Under the agreement, Sinclair Casper Refining Co. and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Co. will pay stipulated penalties totaling $3,844,000 and spend approximately $10.5 million on additional pollution control equipment and other projects to resolve the allegations. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, federal government | Tagged: Clean Air Act, EPA, oil refineries, pollution, Sinclair Oil Corporation, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Officials say there’s no good public health reason to continue testing
Smoky skies last Saturday spurred temporary concerns about air quality in Summit County, Colorado. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — While some jurisdictions in Colorado are stepping up air quality monitoring to assess potential threats from increased oil and gas drilling, state air quality regulators are considering retiring the only monitor in Summit County.
The Breckenridge site was installed a few decades ago, when pollution from wood smoke was still a big concern. Readings from the monitoring station haven’t come anywhere close to exceeding pollution limits in more than 10 years, and operating the monitor is costly, requiring manual removal of samples up to three times per week.
According to local health officials, the state has reported some issues with the current operator in terms of getting consistent data. At one point, the state approached Summit County about taking over the operation, but according to environmental health manager Dan Hendershott, that option is not in the cards, due to budget constraints. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Colorado, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Clean Air Act, Colorado CDPHE APCD, Environment, EPA, Summit County Colorado | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Proposed rule would be a first step to limit health and environmental threats posed by greenhouse gases
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —The EPA this week took a historic and long-overdue first step to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants by proposing a new standard that would only apply to plants going online in the future.
According to the EPA, the proposed standard reflects the ongoing trend in the power sector to build cleaner plants that take advantage of American-made technologies, including new, clean-burning, efficient natural gas generation, which is already the technology of choice for new and planned power plants.
The fossil fuel industry, however, is unlikely to agree, and will probably challenge the rule and try and turn public opinion against by saying it will raise energy prices. Of course, the fossil fuel industry things that anything other than business-as-usual will raise energy prices. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon pollution limits., Clean Air Act, Environment, EPA power plant rules, global warming, greenhouse gases | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A new clean air plan could help reduce the brown cloud over Colorado's Front Range and in national parks and wilderness areas in the region. PHOTO VIA UCAR.
Collaborative effort to cut power plant emissions gets bipartisan thumbs up
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —A state clean-air plan has a preliminary thumbs-up from the EPA, pending another round of public comment. The agency aims to finalize its decision by September.
A key component of the overall plan is the 2010 Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act passed by the Colorado General Assembly that will reduce harmful pollution through emissions controls; retire old, inefficient coal-fired power plants; and convert certain electric generating units from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.
By 2018, the plan will result in more than 70,000 tons of pollutant reductions annually, including 35,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, which leads to ground-level ozone formation. In total, the plan covers 30 units at 16 facilities throughout Colorado, including coal-fired power plants and cement kilns. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Colorado, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: air quality, Clean Air Act, Colorado, Environment, EPA, haze reduction, John Hickenlooper, Lisa P. Jackson, sulfur dioxide | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A Jan. 17 court-ordered settlement on gas drilling air quality impacts covers all of eastern Colorado.
Federal agency will do full emissions inventory, evaluate ozone impacts in permitting process
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Front Range residents will get better information about air quality impacts from gas drilling, as the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to do more studies before permitting additional energy development. The studies will include a full inventory of emissions anticipated during the next 20 years.
The agreement came as part of a court-ordered settlement of a lawsuit filed by WildEarth Guardians.
“This is a great news for clean air along the Front Range and beyond, which is increasingly at risk because of ramped up drilling and fracking,” said WildEarth Guardians climate and energy program director Jeremy Nichols. “The BLM has basically agreed to look before it leaps, which is a common sense approach to keeping people in Colorado safe from air pollution.” Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, federal government, gas drilling, Summit County news | Tagged: air quality, BLM, Bureau of Land management, Clean Air Act, Colorado Front Range, Environment, fracking, Summit County News, WildEarth Guardians | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 5, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A gas-drilling rig in Texas. PHOTO BY DAVID R. TRIBBLE.
Byproduct of drilling operations can have a slew of negative health impacts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Taking a small step in the long-running battle over oil and gas drilling impacts to communities, the EPA this week ruled that energy companies must once again include releases of hydrogen sulfide as part of their required environmental disclosures.
Starting next year, hydrogen sulfide emissions must again be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory, a federal database that allows Americans to find out what hazardous chemicals are being released in their communities. Nationwide, communities have used the TRI to learn about chemical releases in their neighborhoods and to campaign for tighter regulations and health protections.
Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally, but is also a byproduct of many industrial processes, including paper manufacturing, sewage treatment, or livestock feedlots. It is also found in oil and natural gas, which is considered “sour” if it has a high percentage of the compound. It may leak from drill rigs and refineries, but is often also deliberately burned off, exposing nearby communities to its harmful effects. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, Summit County news | Tagged: Clean Air Act, energy, Environment, EPA hydrogen sulfide, oil and gas drilling, Summit County News, Toxics Release Inventory | Leave a comment »