Tag: Clean Air Act

Draft report IDs key global warming threats

Activists say deep greenhouse gas cuts needed to avoid climate disaster

Seasonal temperature anomalies by season in 2012.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A recent federal draft report on climate change has spurred renewed calls for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to avert the most serious impacts from rising global temperatures.

The report, which is in a public comment phase, concludes that global warming is already affecting the U.S. Warmer temperatures will endanger food supplies, increase the risk of flooding and powerful hurricanes, and warm the country by as much as 10 degrees by 2100.

The report finds that global warming has already delivered hotter summers, more flooding and periods of extreme heat that “last longer than any living American has ever experienced.” Continue reading “Draft report IDs key global warming threats”


Shell Oil notified of multiple violations in Arctic drilling program

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.
The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.

Company responds to violations by asking for permission to emit more pollution

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Environmental groups say numerous and ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act stemming from Shell’s ongoing efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean are yet another sign that the company isn’t prepared to operate in the pristine environment off the north coast of Alaska.

Most recently, the EPA issued notices of violation for failures to install required air pollution control technology, for failures to maintain and calibrate the equipment it is using and for violating emission standards set to protect human health and ambient air quality. Continue reading “Shell Oil notified of multiple violations in Arctic drilling program”

Environment: EPA hits Wyoming refinery with $378,000 fine

EPA inspection finds multiple violations of environmental regulations

The Sinclair refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sloppy operations, maintenance and record-keeping have cost a Wyoming refinery $378,000 in fines, according to the EPA, which this week announced a Clean Air Act settlement with the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company.

Along with the fine, Sinclair will update operating procedures, perform required training to workers, improve maintenance of equipment and perform integrity tests on pressure vessels and piping that will reduce the possibility of an accidental release of hazardous chemicals at its refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming.

Hazardous substances of concern used at the Sinclair refinery include large quantities of propane, butane, and flammable hydrocarbon mixtures. Under the Clean Air Act, facilities that utilize hazardous and flammable substances above specified thresholds must develop and submit a risk management plan to assist with emergency preparedness, chemical release prevention, and minimization of releases that occur.

In June 2010, an EPA inspection found that the facility had not adequately implemented those regulations.

“Sinclair has had several accidents and releases of hazardous substances over the past several years that relate to process equipment,” said Mike Gaydosh, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Denver. “This settlement will help ensure the company is operating in accordance with industry standards to protect the environment as well as residents of nearby communities.”

Among other things, the inspection showed that Sinclair failed to replace rusted out pipes and didn’t test and replace pressure relief valves at the facility. The company also was far behind on required inspections and maintenance procedures, according to the EPA.

The consent decree was lodged in U.S. District Court and is subject to a 30-day comment period and final approval by the court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

Environment: Texas gas company hit with $200,000 fine after polluting air in southwest Colorado for 12 years

A natural gas drilling rig. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

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 “Environment: Texas gas company hit with $200,000 fine after polluting air in southwest Colorado for 12 years”

Wyoming refineries to pay $3.8M pollution fines

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 “Wyoming refineries to pay $3.8M pollution fines”

State to retire the only air quality monitor in Summit County

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 “State to retire the only air quality monitor in Summit County”

EPA proposes carbon pollution limits for power plants

Less of this in the future? PHOTO VIA FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS.

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 “EPA proposes carbon pollution limits for power plants”