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Suncor refinery to pay $9 million in settlement for air pollution violations

“The underlying message is clear, Suncor needs to do much better, and we believe this settlement puts them on a path toward achieving this," health officials said.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Suncor refinery will pay $9 million to resolve air pollution violations in what Colorado health officials describe as an historic settlement for air quality.

The Commerce City energy giant will be required to shell out $4.05 million in penalties and funding for community environmental projects, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Enviornment (CDPHE) announced Friday morning. 

Health officials said it’s the largest payment to resolve air quality violations that the state has ever required for one facility.

The settlement resolves a host of infractions that occurred since July 2017, including a significant increase in violations that occurred during the period from January through June 2019, according to the CDPHE.

Suncor will also be required to hire a third party to conduct an investigation into the cause of emission exceedances to prevent further violations. Suncor is then required to spend up to $5 million to implement the recommendations from the investigation. 

“The historic nature of the penalty payment in this case reflects how seriously we view these issues and demonstrates our commitment to hold companies accountable to the communities where they operate for violations of air quality laws,” said Garry Kaufman, director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, 

According to the CDPHE, Suncor violated emissions limits for volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter.

Suncor is located at 5801 Brighton Blvd., just north of Denver's Elyria Swansea neighborhood. As part of the settlement, Suncor will fund more than $2.6 million in environmental projects to benefit the surrounding community. 

“The underlying message is clear, Suncor needs to do much better, and we believe this settlement puts them on a path toward achieving this," Kaufman said.

You can read more details on the settlement agreement at this link. 

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