EPA, Utah Settle with Oil and Gas Companies for Clean Air Act Violations

by | Apr 1, 2022

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(Credit: EPA)

The EPA has settled with Crescent Point Energy and EP Energy for Clean Air Act violations at oil and gas production facilities in Utah.

Canadian-based Crescent Point will pay a $3 million civil penalty for violations of requirements to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage tanks at 30 oil and gas production facilities the company previously owned. Houston-based EP Energy will pay a $700,000 civil penalty, implement a $1.2 million mitigation project to install pollution controls at its facilities, and take extensive measures to ensure future compliance. The EP Energy settlement resolves violations across 246 production facilities.

Both settlements were filed in the US District Court for the District of Utah, and the state is a co-plaintiff for both cases.

VOCs are a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone, the EPA says, which can lead to certain health conditions. The production facilities are in the Uinta Basin, an area that does not meet national ambient air quality standards within the Clean Air Act for ground-level ozone.

EP Energy will split its settlement evenly between the United States and Utah and will put $280,000 of the Utah portion toward the state’s Environmental Mitigation and Response Fund for air-quality projects.

As part of the settlement, EP Energy will design and operate improvements at all the production facilities and will install emission control devices at 36 uncontrolled facilities. This will reduce VOC emissions by nearly 370 tons per year, the EPA says.

EP Energy emerged from bankruptcy in October 2020, according to the EPA, and previously resolved violations in bankruptcy court for $100,000.

The $3 million Crescent Point penalty will also be split evenly between the plaintiffs. Crescent Point will allocate $1.2 million of the Utah portion to the state’s Environmental Mitigation and Response Fund.

Crescent Point sold its assets in the Utah facilities in 2019 and told the Salt Lake Tribune that it agreed to the settlement after a dispute due to different interpretations of the Clean Air Act and Utah’s Air Conservation Act, and the company says it is committed to meeting or exceeding regulation requirements.

The EPA has been active in Clean Air Act violations, including settlements with chemical companies Dow and LyondellBasell. The agency also filed a proposed consent decree to reevaluate emissions standards of synthetic organic chemical manufacturers.

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