Wyoming, Utah Gas Plants Penalized For EPA Violations
Kinder Morgan Altamont and Colorado Interstate Gas have agreed to pay a penalty and improve the maintenance of equipment to reduce the risk of an accidental release of hazardous chemicals at natural gas processing facilities in Altamont, Utah, and the Rawlins Station Gas Plant near Sinclair, Wyo., according to a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the consent degree and the civil complaint enjoining further violations in federal court in Utah on Friday.
The settlement resulted from EPA inspections dating to 2013 at the Kinder Morgan Altamont facility and dating to 2015 at the CIG Sinclair facility that revealed violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program regulations.
The violations included deficiencies associated with safety information, hazard analysis, mechanical integrity, and incident investigations.
Under the consent decree, the companies will have an industry expert conduct mechanical integrity audits at four facilities, submit corrective action plans to EPA, and correct any violations detected in a timely manner.
They also will pay a $179,099 penalty and spend $387,500 to install a system flare at the Rabbit Gulch gas compressor station in Duchesne County, Utah.
This flare will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere by an estimated 3.7 tons per year and methane by an estimated 9 tons per year. Volatile organic compounds can contribute to local and regional air quality pollution, including ozone formation. Duchesne County is in an area that has experienced violations of the federal Clean Air Act standard for ozone.
The companies' gas processing facilities are subject to Clean Air Act risk management regulations because they process large quantities of hazardous substances.
Risk management plans address the proper design and maintenance of equipment such as pipes and vessels, emergency preparedness, and the ability to minimize releases that may occur.
They provide valuable information to local fire, police and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. They also foster communication and awareness on a local level to improve accident prevention.
"Risk management plans protect the public by making sure that facilities collect and share safety information and have measures in place to prevent and respond to any accidental releases of chemicals," said Suzanne Bohan, director of EPA's enforcement program in Denver. "EPA appreciates Kinder Morgan’s efforts to address these deficiencies."
For more information on the Clean Air Act and risk management requirements, visit the EPA's website.