EPA fines Sinclair again, for Clean Air Act violations

Oct 11, 2012

Once again, Sinclair Oil has agreed to pay a penalty for violating the Clean Air Act at its refinery near Rawlins. The latest fine is for  $378,000.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s David Cobb says the company didn’t have proper procedures in place to prevent the release of hazardous chemicals, and that chemicals were released on several occasions in the past few years. Cobb says violations like this can be dangerous.

“A variety of things could happen,” Cobb said. “If a vessel fails, … you could have an explosion. There’s been recent accidents at refineries nationally where you’ve had fires and things like that, that have affected nearby populations. So there’s all kinds of different scenarios that could happen when you’re dealing with large quantities of flammables under pressure.”

In addition to the fines, Sinclair has to take various measures to ensure that chemicals aren’t released in the future. Cobb says things already seem to be getting better at the refinery.

“Since we’ve been in negotiations with them, there have been a lot of changes that we’re aware of,” he said. “I know in the area specific of safety and mechanical integrity and inspections, they’ve actually brought on more people to have a more robust program out there.”

In August, the company was given a $3.8 million dollar penalty for violating emissions regulations. And OSHA fined them more than $200,000 for safety violations related to fires at the refinery.