DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - PDC Energy Inc. has agreed to a $22.2 million settlement to end a lawsuit field in June by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and state air pollution officials, pledging to improve emission control systems on storage tanks in Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg Basin.
The settlement, announced Tuesday, comes about three months after the suit was filed accusing the Denver oil and gas company (Nasdaq: PDCE) of violating state and federal pollution standards by emitting volatile organic compounds from its storage tanks. The suit alleged the company violated the federal Clean Air Act and the Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act, the state’s federally approved “State Implementation Plan” designed to reduce pollution in Colorado, and the state’s air quality regulations.
VOCs are chemicals which can “cook” on hot, sunny days to form ozone. Ozone is a pollutant that irritates the lungs, exacerbates diseases such as asthma, and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a statement, said the settlement “will result in cleaner air in the Denver area and shows that EPA is committed to enforcing the law in order to ensure public health is protected.”
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