EPA: QEP Field Services Agrees to Pay $4 Million and Install Pollution Controls to Resolve Alleged Violations of the Clean Air Act

May 21, 2012
EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached a settlement with QEP Field Services Co., formerly Questar Gas Management Co., to settle claims that QEPFS's compressor stations – which remove water and compress natural gas for transportation through gas pipelines – are sources of air pollution. According to EPA, the compressor stations emit hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which can increase the risk of asthma attacks and are significant contributors to the formation of ozone.

These alleged violations of the Clean Air Act occurred at five natural gas compressor stations on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Northeastern Utah. Four members of the Ute Indian Tribe intervened as co-plaintiffs.

Under the proposed settlement, QEPFS will pay a $3.65 million civil penalty and pay $350,000 into a Clean Air Trust Fund to be established by the tribal member intervenors. The settlement also requires QEPFS to reduce its emissions by removing certain equipment, installing additional pollution controls and replacing the natural gas-powered instrument control systems with compressed air control systems.

“Natural gas extraction projects help to fuel our economy, but also need to follow the nation’s laws,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The actions required in the settlement will eliminate approximately 210 tons of NOx, 219 tons of carbon monoxide, 17 tons of HAPs and more than 166 tons of VOCs per year. It also will conserve 3.5 million cubic feet of gas each year, which could heat approximately 50 U.S. households. The reduction in methane emissions (a greenhouse gas that is a component of natural gas) is equivalent to planting more than 300 acres of trees.

“This settlement will result in cleaner air for residents living on the Uintah and Ouray reservation and allow the responsible development of energy resources in accordance with the Clean Air Act,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “It also will establish the Tribal Clean Air Trust Fund to fund environmental projects for the benefit of tribal members.”

QEPFS is a wholly owned subsidiary of QEP Resources, Inc., which is headquartered in Denver. QEPFS provides midstream field services such as natural gas gathering, compression, dehydration and processing to upstream natural gas companies.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Full details about the settlement with QEPFS can be found on EPA’s Web site.

More information about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Air Act is available on EPA’s Web site.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

10 Facts About the State of Workplace Safety in the U.S.

July 12, 2024
Workplace safety in the U.S. has improved over the past 50 years, but progress has recently stalled. This report from the AFL-CIO highlights key challenges.

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!