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Environmental groups to sue Canada's Suncor over Colorado refinery emissions

Ecological groups filed notification on Wednesday to sue Canadian oil producer Suncor Energy under the U.S. Clean Air Act for repeated air pollution infractions at its Commerce City, Colorado, refinery.

The organizations, represented by ecological law non-profit Earthjustice, said they will bring a civil match against Calgary-based Suncor over more than 1,000 emission offenses that Earthjustice said Suncor reported to the state of Colorado between January 2019 and December 2023.

Under the Clean Air Act, members of the general public must provide 60 days' notification to the entity they intend to take legal action against before submitting a. suit.

Commerce City near Denver has Colorado's only refinery,. processing 98,000 barrels of oil each day.

The center has actually been dogged by problems in recent years. consisting of a fire in December 2022 and problems from homeowners. about air-quality concerns.

If somebody was given 1,000 speeding tickets, we 'd take away. their license, said Margaret Kran-Annexstein, director of. Colorado Sierra Club, among the groups that plans to take legal action against. Suncor.

Suncor has stated it is implementing improvements to deal with. the refinery's emissions as part of a 2020 settlement with. Colorado's public health and environment department.

Ian Coghill, a senior attorney with Earthjustice, said the. groups are looking for civil charges from Suncor and to hinder the. refinery from further air contamination violations.

The state has actually acted versus Suncor however it does not. seem to have changed anything, Coghill said. What we're. trying to find is to hold Suncor responsible and (find) significant. deterrents to bring Suncor into compliance.

Coghill stated the maximum penalty for every single day of violation. under the Clean Air Act is up to $121,000 and the fit is. declaring 9,000 days of infractions.

In February the state of Colorado fined Suncor $10.5 million. for breaching air pollution laws in between 2019 and 2021.