Oil rig

On the surface, it seems like we should do every possible thing we can do to help protect the environment, though anyone can tell you it’s not that simple. Many would argue that you must weigh both the environmental and economic impact when weighing a situation. However, there is a line when it comes to taking care of both our surroundings and our pocketbooks, and one Colorado, oil and gas company, has crossed that line.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other Colorado state regulators are pursuing fines totaling more than $100,00 a day against Denver-based DPC Energy Inc. The steep fines come due to numerous air pollution violations issuing from DPC’s company oil tanks in Colorado oil fields.

The EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment accuse DPC Energy of failing to sufficiently limit air pollution at 86 individual sites along the Denver-Julesburg Basin. The complaint filed by the organizations argues that the site pollution caused by DPC significantly contributed to ozone pollution and creation along the Front Range. The complaint was filed by the agencies with U.S. District Court in Denver on Monday, June 26.

Ozone is a large contributor to smog. Denver has long suffered a collection of smog known to locals as the “brown cloud,” but local environmental agencies are stepping up enforcement to eliminate the brown cloud and other smog in the city long associated with problematic air pollution.

“Violations of environmental law will be pursued and punished,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a release. “We will work with our federal, state and local partners to punish those that violate the laws to the detriment of human health and the environment.”

Though the agencies are seeking fines of up to $110,000 per day for the violations, how much DPC will pay remains to be seen. Companies like DPC often negotiate with environmental agencies for lower fines. The accusations come at a tough time for Colorado oil and gas that are already facing criticism after a severed flow line destroyed a home and killed two people just 30 miles north of Denver.

The penalties and grievances issue for inspections on DPC that date back to 2013. DPC Energy has not currently released a statement about the potential fines.