The 27-page lawsuit filed Friday in
Storage tanks at more than a dozen sites north of
This happened in a
“HighPoint’s failure to comply with these requirements has resulted in excess VOC emissions, a precursor to ground-level ozone. … HighPoint’s unlawful emissions of VOC into the atmosphere contribute to this exceedance of the ozone NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) in this area,” the lawsuit says.
The inspectors drop in unannounced at about 2,000 sites a year and aim the infrared devices at storage tanks, flares and other equipment to determine whether hydrocarbons are leaking.
They can’t get to every site. Oil and gas companies have drilled more than 53,000 wells statewide, producing a record 177 million barrels of oil last year.
During the early stages of production — when companies typically drill and conduct hydraulic fracturing to stimulate production — state inspectors let companies produce for 90 days without the required permits and generally do not visit sites unless they receive a specific compliant, relying on a controversial 27-year-old state exemption. However, CDPHE officials — spurred by
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