Gasco to Pay $350,000 Penalty, Install Air Emissions Controls for Violations

  • Date: January 20, 2011
  • Source: Admin
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Gasco Energy, Inc., the erstwhile operator of the Riverbend Compressor Station on the Uinta and Ouray Indian Reservation near Vernal, Utah, has agreed to pay $350,000 as penalty and provide for air pollution controls at its facilities in the Uinta Basin to resolve the allegations of having violated the Clean Air Act at the facility.


According to a complaint filed, Gasco had allegedly violated a number of provisions of the Clean Air Act at the Riverbend facility, including the emission standards for hazardous air pollutants, and federal permitting, emissions monitoring and reporting requirements. It is reported that the company has voluntarily disclosed the violations. 

The Riverbend facility compressor station compresses the field gas for transportation through a gathering line, removing liquids and water from the gas by means of separation and dehydration. As part of the agreement concluded by Gasco, there will be installations of emission controls on dehydrators, compressor engines and storage tanks at Riverbend. Besides, Gasco and some of its successors will install no-bleed or low-bleed pneumatic (a controller using pressurised gas to open or close valves) controls on gas compressors and well heads at all of its operating facilities at the Uinta Basin. Low-bleed units reduce emissions of air pollutants

The details of the agreement were announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice. According to Jim martin, the regional administrator of EPA at Denver, “EPA will continue to work with partners, including oil and gas operators, to protect air quality resources for the benefit of those who live in the basin.” EPA estimates that the measures, when fully implemented, will reduce air pollution by over 550 tons per year, including 122 tons of carbon monoxide, 427 tons of ozone-forming volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants per year.


A series of clean air acts were enacted by the US federal government as a means to control air pollution, beginning with the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, and followed by the Clean Air Act of 1963, the Air Quality Act of 1967, the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, and Clean Air Act Amendments in 1977 and 1990. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 proposed emissions trading, added provisions for acid rain, ozone depletion and toxic air pollution, and established a national permits program. The Act has a provision allowing private citizens affected by violations to sue the entity in federal court after providing the violator and state and federal environmental agencies 60 days’ notice.


In related developments, ExxonMobil Corp., America’s largest refinery, is facing a lawsuit from a group of Texas environmentalists for violations of the federal Clean Air Act at its Baytown refinery and chemical plant complex. 

Besides, BP Products North America Inc. had to cough up $15 million and Cummins $2.1 million after facing similar allegations from the EPA of violating the Act through its equipment or products.




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