Suncor Refinery Informational Updates

Suncor Refinery Plants 1 and 3

May 9, 2022: Public notice period begins for Suncor Energy (U.S.A.), Inc. Operating Permit renewal for the Commerce City Refinery Plants 1 and 3 (West) in Adams County. The renewal permit incorporates approximately 23 modification applications submitted by Suncor from May 2017 through November 2021. A copy of the application, including supplemental information, the Division’s analysis, and a draft of the Renewal Operating Permit 96OPAD120 are available on the Division’s website.

The draft renewal Operating Permit incorporates the following changes in permitted emissions associated with the 23 modifications: PM/PM10/PM2.5: 2.02 tpy (increase), SO2: -0.03 tpy (decrease), NOX: 3.43 tpy (increase), VOC: 16.16 tpy (increase) and CO: 68.71 tpy (increase). There was no change in permitted HCN emissions.

Suncor Refinery Plant 2

On March 17, 2021, Adams County submitted comments on the draft Suncor Refinery Plant 2 Renewal Title V Operating Permit (“Permit”) to the Air Pollution Control Division (Division). The letter also included a formal request to the Air Quality Control Commission to hold a public hearing on the permit, which would provide an additional venue for community members to participate and provide input to the Division on the Suncor permit.

On April 28, 2021, Adams County submitted supplemental comments to the Division incorporating feedback on Suncor’s consent order-mandated Root Cause Investigation (“RCI”) report, which was released to the public after the initial comment period ended. The county argued that the RCI and its determinations insufficiently identified true root causes for the frequent malfunctions, upsets, and emission events leading to Permit violations.

On Feb. 8, 2022, the Division issued its response to stakeholders' comments at the same time it submitted the proposed Suncor Plant 2 Renewal Permit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 headquarters for review. In accordance with federal Clean Air Act statute, the EPA is provided 45 days in which to object or approve a proposed Title V Permit.

Adams County submitted a comment letter to EPA Region 8 on March 8, 2022, requesting the EPA approve the Permit with two conditions:

  1. Require enhanced monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping as set forth in the county’s previous comments to the Division;
  2. Require Suncor to engage a third-party consultant, selected and supervised by the EPA, to identify corrective actions to remedy the unacceptable number of excess emission events (at the refinery).

On March 25, 2022, EPA Region 8 Administrator K.C. Becker issued a letter containing specific objections and recommendations on the Suncor Plant 2 Renewal Permit to the Division. The Division must respond to the EPA’s objections and recommendations.