Some landowners with oil and gas wells on their property complain about emissions affecting their air quality and health. But though there may be a lot of wells, they’re considered small facilities, so their cumulative effects are never counted up and regulations are more lax than for large emitters. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that that could be a problem since in aggregate, their pollution can be significant.
The comment period closed Monday on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Regional Haze Plan. The plan seeks to address the issue of air pollution produced by coal fired power plants. Wyoming put together its own regional haze program, but the EPA rejected parts of it, saying it wasn't strong enough, particularly when it came to nitrogen oxide emissions at four plants.
Once again, Sinclair Oil has agreed to pay a penalty for violating the Clean Air Act at its refinery near Rawlins. The latest fine is for $378,000.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s David Cobb says the company didn’t have proper procedures in place to prevent the release of hazardous chemicals, and that chemicals were released on several occasions in the past few years. Cobb says violations like this can be dangerous.
The energy company Kinder Morgan is paying a $316,000 penalty for violating Clean Air Act regulations at natural gas plants in Casper and Douglas.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the violations centered around improper handling of chemicals. The agency’s David Cobb says the company wasnot adequately testing its equipment and didn’t have proper operating procedures in place to prevent releases of chemicals. He says those violations had the potential to cause problems.
Sinclair Oil has agreed to pay a fine of $3.8 million and install pollution controls at its refineries in Casper and Rawlins, to settle a lawsuit that the Environmental Protection Agency filed.
The EPA says the refineries exceeded federal limits on various emissions.
Sheldon Muller, a lawyer with the EPA, says the Casper refinery will have to install equipment to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 50 percent, and the Rawlins plant has make changes to its flare gas recovery system, in order to limit sulfur dioxide emissions.