Colorado regulators recently reached a significant air pollution settlement with Canadian energy company Suncor. The agreement is seen as a positive development as it allows the company's Commerce City refinery near Denver to continue its operations.
As part of the deal, Suncor will pay $10.5 million to address multiple instances of toxic chemical releases over a three-year period. This payment includes $2.5 million in fines and $8 million to enhance the refinery's operations.
The Commerce City refinery has become synonymous with the environmental justice movement, with calls for its closure due to its disproportionate impact on the local community. The area has a significant population of Native American and Hispanic residents who are particularly affected by emissions from the facility.
Additionally, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reached an agreement with Suncor to implement improved air monitoring systems along the refinery's borders. Suncor will be required to install equipment that tests for hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, and other compounds.
This settlement holds particular importance as the Suncor refinery is expected to play a crucial role in providing much-needed reformulated blendstock for the production of 10% ethanol reformulated gasoline in the upcoming spring and summer seasons.
Furthermore, several regions in the Rocky Mountain front range will be mandated to use low-RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) reformulated gasoline during the ozone season. The ability of refiners transporting gasoline through the Magellan Pipeline system or Yellowstone Pipeline to meet these stringent RVP standards remains uncertain.