Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 23, 2022


Ryan Maher, Center for Biological Diversity, (781) 325-6303,
Leslie Robinson, Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, (970) 618-0890,

Groups Petition EPA to Require Better Measurement of Toxic Air Pollution Emitted by Colorado Plant’s Disposal of Fossil Fuel Waste

PARACHUTE, Colo.— Conservation and public health groups filed a petition today urging the Environmental Protection Agency to require adequate measurement of the toxic air pollution being emitted by a facility that disposes of liquid waste from fracking and oil and gas production.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Grand Valley Citizens Alliance argued that a new permit held by the Parachute Water Management Facility improperly fails to require the plant to measure and document the effectiveness of flares used to burn off toxic pollution resulting from storage and processing of the fossil fuel waste products.

“The Parachute facility has the potential to release hundreds of tons of dangerous air pollutants every year that are hazardous to human health,” said Ryan Maher, an environmental health attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s the EPA’s responsibility to guarantee that the permit used to oversee this pollution is airtight so that it doesn’t hurt our communities.”

The facility, owned by Terra Energy Partners, consists of large ponds where toxic liquids are stored and evaporated, in addition to tanks for storing waste and other processing equipment.

The facility’s permit assumes, without adequate justification, that flares will destroy 95% of the pollution from the storage tanks. The permit does not require testing of the flares to ensure that they are controlling pollution at the level stipulated in the permit.

The pollutants released by the facility include volatile organic compounds that lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, commonly called smog. Smog pollution is linked to human health problems like asthma attacks, cardiovascular issues and premature death. Those most at risk include older adults, children, and people who work outdoors. The harm smog does to plants can damage entire ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.

The facility also emits several other hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a cancer-causing pollutant that attacks cells in the body and causes a variety of health problems.

“Making sure industry and state agencies are following air quality regulations through tests and inspections is not just a paperwork exercise,” said Leslie Robinson, chair of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance. “The health of our community, our air, and our water is at stake.”

The groups also raised other concerns in the petition, including that the permit effectively exempts certain types of equipment that are “difficult” to monitor for leaks, without providing for an adequate means of ensuring that dangerous leaks are identified and repaired.

More information about the fight against air pollution is available at Protecting Air Quality Under the Clean Air Act.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Grand Valley Citizens Alliance works to empower and mobilize Garfield County residents impacted by oil and gas development by leveraging its 25 years of experience in tackling the impacts of energy development.

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