CIG to Pay $1.02 Million for Clean Air Act Violations in Utah

Colorado Interstate Gas Company (CIG), the operator of the Natural Buttes Compressor Station located on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation near Vernal, Utah, has agreed to pay more than $1 million and install environmental controls at its facility as part of a consent decree that resolves violations of the Clean Air Act, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 23.

Under the terms of the decree, CIG will pay a civil penalty and back fees totaling $1,020,000 and will fund for one year the operation of two ambient air monitoring stations on the Uintah and Ouray Reservations. According to a complaint filed along with the consent decree, CIG installed engines at its Natural Buttes Compressor Station but failed to obtain a permit and control and test emissions sources at its facility on the reservation. The violations of the Clean Air Act were discovered through EPA inspections and EPA-required emission testing at the facility.

"Protecting the environment on Indian lands is an important priority for the Justice Department," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This is the fourth Clean Air Act case this year alone brought by the Department against companies operating natural gas production facilities on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation."

According to EPA, the settlement will result in operational improvements that are expected to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants by more than 48,000 pounds per year and nitrogen oxides by 313,000 pounds per year. In addition, the settlement will help ensure that the Tribal air shed, a part of the atmosphere that behaves in a coherent way with respect to the dispersion of emissions, is being properly protected.

The consent decree, lodged July 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the DOJ Web site at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

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