SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Kerr-McGee Corp. agreed Thursday to spend $18 million to reduce harmful emissions and conserve natural gas at plants across Utah and Colorado as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The oil and natural gas exploration and production company, formerly based in Oklahoma City, was accused of violating the Clean Air Act at several of its natural gas compressor stations, including those on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation near Vernal, and in the Denver Julesburg Basin near Weld County, Colo.
The control measures are expected to reduce annual emissions of air pollutants by more than 2,500 tons in Utah and more than 3,000 tons in Colorado, the EPA said.
Volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide can contribute to respiratory disorders such as asthma and reduced lung capacity. They can also damage ecosystems and reduce visibility.
Kerr-McGee will also pay $250,000 in fines and spend an additional $250,000 on environmental projects, according to the settlement filed in Denver's U.S. District Court.
The money for the environmental projects will be used to reduce dust emissions from roads that service oil and gas facilities in Utah, and retire vehicles with higher emissions of air pollutants than newer vehicles in Denver. These older, high-emitting vehicles disproportionately contribute to the Denver area's air quality problems, according to the EPA.