Three Gas Processors Settle Claims with EPA, Department of Justice
Three natural gas processor companies, two of which operate in Wyoming, have settled civil air pollution disputes in states and Tribal communities with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a news release from the Denver office of the EPA on Thursday.
“Today’s settlements will significantly reduce harmful emissions of ozone-forming pollution, and greenhouse gases in Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, the Southern Ute Reservation and the Uintah and Ouray Reservation,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator KC Becker.
They will significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases. VOCs are a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates diseases such as asthma, and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Emissions at the affected facilities also emit greenhouse gases, including methane, a potent colorless and odorless gas which significantly contributes to global warming.
The Clean Air Act settlements are with Williams and Harvest Four Corners (The Williams Companies, Inc.), MPLX LP and WES DJ Gathering LLC.
The settlements require them to pay a combined $9.25 million in civil penalties. They also will require the companies to make improvements at 25 gas processing plants and 91 compressor stations across 12 states and two Tribal communities
The settlement with Williams and Harvest Four Corners (The Williams Companies, Inc.) addresses alleged violations of requirements to control VOC emissions from natural gas processing plants in Wamsutter, Opal, and 10 compressor stations throughout Wyoming; and pllants near Parachute, Rifle, and Ignacio, Colorado.
The settlement requires Williams to pay a $3.75 million civil penalty, strengthen its leak detection and repair practices at 15 natural gas processing plants, and perform leak monitoring and repair at 80 natural gas compressor stations across the U.S.
The settlement includes civil penalties of $2,227,500 to the United States; $307,500 to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; $298,875 to Colorado; and $142,500 to Wyoming.
The settlement eventually will reduce ozone-producing air pollution by an estimated 419 tons per year and greenhouse gases by 3,675 tons per year of CO2e in facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Southern Ute Reservation.
Visit the EPA website for more information on the settlement with the Williams Companies.
The MPLX LP settlement affects seven natural gas processing plants and three compressor stations at the Blacks Fork and Vermillion gas plants in Wyoming; the Belfield, Robinson Lake, and Stanley gas plants in North Dakota; and the Ironhorse and Redwash/24B gas plants on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
The company has agreed to comply with Clean Air Act performance standards at all process units; implement leak detection and repair programs, install technological fixes for pilot-operated pressure relief valves; conduct enhanced monitoring of all equipment in residue gas service at gas plants and compressor stations in North Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah; and perform other remediations.
This settlement is valued at approximately $4.5 million. Civil penalties include $1,558,100 to the United States; $325,200 to North Dakota; and $116,700 to Wyoming.
The remediation will reduce ozone-producing air pollution by an estimated 95 tons per year and greenhouse gases by an estimated 3,850 tons per year of CO2e.
Visit the EPA website for more information on the settlement with MPLX LP.
The settlement with WES DJ Gathering LLC resolves alleged violations of federal and state clean air requirements related to leak detection and repair regulations.
WDJG will take corrective actions including replacing older equipment at three contiguous gas processing plants known as the Fort Lupton Complex north of Denver. The company will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty to be split evenly between the United States and Colorado.
The corrective actions in the long run will reduce ozone-producing air pollution in northern Colorado by an estimated 162 tons per year and reduce greenhouse gases by 17,433 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Visit the EPA's website for more information about the WES DJ Gathering LLC settlement.