Environmental groups suing Ector County gas plant

March 19, 2019

The Sierra Club and Environmental Integrity Project announced last week their intention to file a civil lawsuit against the James Lake Gas Plant in Ector County alleging Clean Air Act violations.

James Lake Gas Plant is located about 10 miles northwest of Odessa and, has routinely reported illegal levels of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide releases due to excessive acid gas flaring, a Sierra Club news release stated. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states sulfur dioxide can cause acidification of soil and water and several respiratory problems and hydrogen sulfide may cause headaches, tiredness, poor memory and balance problems.

“It is unacceptable that the operators of this plant have ignored the law and forced Texans to breathe polluted air, threatening their health and safety,” Neil Carman, Clean Air Program Director for the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter said in a prepared statement.

A letter sent to the plant’s owners, James Lake Midstream and Canyon Midstream Partners, the groups gave notice of their intent to sue them in a United States District Court that would ask the court to require the company to stop its emissions, pay fines required by the Clean Air Act, and to conduct other beneficial environmental projects in the areas affected by their pollution, the release detailed.

“Permian Basin residents shouldn’t have to breathe dirty air because oil and gas companies aren’t following the law,” Environmental Integrity Project Attorney Ilan Levin said in a prepared statement. “Public health and safety should not take a back seat to oil and gas development.”

A report released by The Environmental Texas Research and Policy Center in January listed James Lake Gas Plant as one of the top 10 malfunction and maintenance polluters in 2017, releasing 1,573,139 pounds of unauthorized emissions into the air.

The lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet. A notice of intent was sent out last week, and the groups must wait 60 days before filing suit.