By Molly Messick
Laramie, WY – Environmental Protection Agency inspectors will spend three days at the Sinclair refinery near Rawlins later this month. That's in response to a series of spills and toxic gas releases over the last year. In May of 2009, more than 2 million gallons of gas grade material spilled from a holding tank at the refinery, resulting in a 660 thousand dollar fine. The facility has also reported numerous releases of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous and flammable gas. This April, about 80 birds were found dead at a wastewater pond that was contaminated with oil. The E-P-A's David Cobb says it's the recurring nature of these problems that has led to an inspection.
"Where we get a little concerned is if it happens over a period of time," he says. "What we did is we issued an information request, they sent us information, we evaluated that information and decided that it's something we want to take a look at on-site."
The inspection is scheduled for the week of June 21st. Cobb says it could take the agency as long as two months to finalize the results, but he says the E-P-A could ask for immediate changes, if critical problems are found.