Utah to receive over $1M from 2 companies involved in EPA air quality settlements

Fossil fuel extraction is a major industry in the Uinta Basin, but at what cost, and how long can it last?

The Uinta Basin, home of the proposed oil rail expansion, has been found to be the victim of irresponsible and reckless polluting by two oil and gas companies. A lawsuit from the EPA exposed that the companies were not controlling emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), violating the Clean Air Act. 

VOCs are linked to cancer and higher risk of respiratory illnesses, like COVID. 

As a result of the lawsuit, over a million dollars will be put into a fund supporting clean air projects in Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune writes “EP Energy’s consent decree states the company will make improvements at 246 oil and gas facilities and spend $1.2 million to install pollution controls at 36 other facilities, reducing VOC emissions by 370 tons annually.”

While we are glad these companies were held accountable and the law upheld, those emissions can not be taken out of our air, nor can the health consequences be removed. The only responsible way for Utah to move forward is eliminating its dependence on fossil fuels. 

In light of this lawsuit, and studies upon studies of the dangerous health effects of fossil fuels, we should absolutely not be moving forward with the Uinta Basin railway. The proposed railway aims to quadruple fossil fuel extraction from the Uinta Basin area, as well as increase pollution from dirty train engine emissions.

Read the Tribune’s coverage here.