U.S. EPA & NMED Inspections Identify Widespread Emissions at Oil & Gas Facilities in the Permian Basin Area

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DALLAS, Texas — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) recently posted the reports for 124 facilities the two agencies inspected in the New Mexico Permian Basin area in April. Fourteen EPA inspectors and five NMED inspectors took part in these joint inspections and concluded a total of 75 of the facilities—60 percent—had emissions of Volatile Emission Compounds (VOC) and could be subject to penalties and other enforcement actions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). VOCs contribute to the formation of ozone (smog), which can result in health problems such as asthma, lung infections, bronchitis, and cancer.

“All companies must comply with the Clean Air Act, including those in the Permian Basin that are contributing to the energy needs of our country,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “These large-scale inspections demonstrate EPA’s commitment to preventing VOC and methane emissions in the Permian Basin.”

“The results of our federal and state oil and gas investigations are cause for alarm, with a meager 40% compliance rate,” Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said. “With the impacts of climate change ravaging our state and air quality degrading, we have no choice but to increase sanctions on polluters until we see a commitment to change behavior.”

The inspections took place at eight companies with multiple facilities in the New Mexico Permian Basin area: XTO Energy, Inc, Chevron U.S.A. Inc, Permian Resources, Earthstone Energy, Inc, Tap Rock, Marathon, Franklin Mountain Energy, Inc, and Kaiser Francis Oil Company. Additionally, 112 of these facilities  are located in communities with environmental justice concerns due to exposure to higher levels of pollution such as ozone. For more information on these specific inspections, please view our New Mexico enforcement webpage.

For more information about EPA’s enforcement program and how we address pollution problems please visit the agency’s enforcement website.

News release from the EPA.

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