SUNCOR’S HISTORY OF POLLUTION
The State’s Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) has given the Suncor Refinery the right to pollute, and Suncor is currently being allowed to operate with expired permits. Although all of the pollution comes from one overall location, Suncor has been divided into two separate permits: East Side (Plant 2) & West Side (Plants 1 & 3). Additionally, Suncor self-reports air pollution annually, and these numbers are troubling. Its past time to end these violations!
WHAT AIR POLLUTANTS ARE OF GREATEST CONCERN?
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is critical for our climate. Regarding community health, the following are the most harmful chemicals of concern:
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include cancer causing chemicals like benzene.
- Particulates are fine particles that get lodged in lungs and result in premature death.
- Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) can cause death in high concentrations, but is not regulated.
- Sulfur Dioxide is part of the orange cloud releases that have occurred.
- Radon is a highly volatile gas and the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the US.
HOW DOES AIR POLLUTION AFFECT HEALTH?
Air pollution releases toxins and contaminants into the air that are harmful to children’s lungs and to human health and the environment. Air quality has a direct correlation to human health. Poor air quality can harm human health.
Air pollution from the Suncor refinery can result in health impacts including:
- Asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and other respiratory disorders
- Birth defects and low birth weight
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Neurological and developmental problems
- Lung cancer
WHY AIR QUALITY MONITORING (AQM)?
Understanding what’s in the air will lead to better policies and enforcement. Boulder AIR
will be implementing complex air quality monitoring equipment to provide accurate measurements following state and federal guidelines.
The concentration of pollutants is highest at the source and then disperses with the wind and the higher concentrations travel in a plume. By using both a stationary monitor and also a mobile van, the scientists will increase the coverage and ability to measure the highest pollution levels.
SUNCOR'S ANNUAL POLLUTANTS
- 886,000 tons carbon dioxide
- 24 tons sulfur dioxide
- 12.5 tons of hydrogen sulfide
- 25 tons of ozone-forming VOCs
- 4 tons carbon monoxide
- 49 tons nitrogen oxide
- 55 tons particulates
AQM FUNDED BY SUNCOR SETTLEMENT
In 2020, Cultivando was granted $1.7 million of the Suncor settlement money to continuously monitor pollution from the refinery for one full year with pollution levels immediately available to the public in both English and Spanish. This proposal was ultimately chosen by the citizen committee.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
LEARN More about the Suncor permits HERE.