On November 21, 2013, U.S. Department of Justice opened a 30-day public comment period on a proposed settlement for natural resource damages arising from a November 2011 release of oil from the Suncor Energy, Inc. facility in Commerce City, Adams County, Colorado. The proposed settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on November 15, 2013.
The natural resource trustees in this case include:
The oil spill was reported November 27, 2011 by a citizen who observed an oily sheen on the water and shoreline near the confluence of Sand Creek and South Platte River in Commerce City, north central Colorado. The oil released to Sand Creek and South Platte River was part of a plume of groundwater contamination originating at the Suncor Refinery property. The spill caused injury to natural resources, including: aquatic and riparian habitat near the down gradient of the point of discharge to Sand Creek; wetland habitat located on the defendant’s property; waterfowl associated with the former wetland on the defendant’s property; and, groundwater.
Under the proposed settlement in the lodged Consent Decree, Suncor Energy, Inc., will:
The total monetary value of the proposed settlement is $1,887,000. This includes $123,000 Suncor paid August 2, 2013 as partial payment for past natural resource damage assessment costs incurred by DOI.
Written comments on the proposed Consent Decree must be received by U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division by Monday, December 23, 2013.