Multi-agency settlement resolves Clean Air Act violations at Meeker Gas Plant

Agreement reflects federal and state partnership to reduce air pollution at Colorado facility

DENVER – The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Colorado today announced a settlement with Enterprise Gas Processing, LLC, and Enterprise Products Operating, LLC (jointly, “Enterprise”). The agreement, which includes a $1 million civil penalty, will protect community health and the environment by strengthening leak detection and repair practices at the Meeker Gas Plant in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.

A complaint filed concurrently with the settlement alleges that Enterprise violated leak detection and repair requirements in accordance with the Clean Air Act and state clean air laws. The violations resulted in excess emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants to the atmosphere.

“All gas refining and processing facilities must comply with the Clean Air Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement includes important provisions to improve leak detection, repair practices and staff training, which applied here will help protect public health in western Colorado.”

As part of the settlement, Enterprise will take corrective actions and pay the $1 million civil penalty. Half of the penalty will go to the federal government and half will go to the State of Colorado, where a portion will fund projects to benefit disproportionately impacted communities through the state’s environmental justice grant program.

“Together, EPA and CDPHE are committed to delivering enforcement, inspections and compliance assistance that provide tangible benefits for Colorado’s communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “This action will secure facility compliance and reduce emissions of air pollutants in Meeker and the surrounding area.”

The EPA and CDPHE signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 to enhance coordination while working to protect clean air for all.

“We are grateful for the partnership between the EPA, Department of Justice and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in working together to protect Colorado’s air quality,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. “This enforcement package requires not only a fine to be paid, but for the facility to conduct more frequent air measurements and respond more quickly to leaks, which will continue to reduce air pollution.”

Under the settlement, Enterprise will strengthen its leak detection and repair practices at the Meeker Gas Plant. These commitments include:   

  • installing equipment that leaks less pollution to the atmosphere, 
  • reviewing compliance with leak detection and repair requirements and 
  • repairing leaking equipment faster.

Enterprise will also improve staff training and use optical gas imaging technology to improve the visual detection of leaks to address them more quickly.

“The protection of Colorado’s air quality made possible through this settlement with Enterprise is a testament to the power of collaboration between dedicated state and federal public officials,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. “We are proud to support the state’s Air Pollution Control Division as it continues to lead the way to reduce air pollution from oil and gas operations and pursue better air for all Coloradans.”

Equipment leaks at the Meeker Gas Plant emit VOCs, which lead to the formation of ground-level ozone. Ozone contributes to serious public health concerns, including respiratory illness, aggravation of existing heart disease and temporary breathing difficulty for people with asthma. Young children and older people are especially sensitive to these impacts. Leaks from equipment at the Meeker Gas Plant also emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The EPA investigated the case. Attorneys of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section are handling the case.

The Justice Department filed the consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and is available on the Justice Department’s website

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