Occidental Petroleum to be sued by over Permian Basin air pollution

One of the Permian Basin’s leading oil and gas producers could be taken to court by a New Mexico environmental group which alleged the company illegally released air pollutants at facilities in the southeast corner of the state.

Santa Fe-based WildEarth Guardians filed on Nov. 18 a notice of its intent to sue Occidental Petroleum for “widespread” air quality violations in the Permian Basin region, which spans from southeast New Mexico and parts of West Texas.

The group specifically pointed to Occidental’s use of flaring, a controversial process by which excess produced gas is burned off.

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The technique could be used to safely pressurize a well, industry leaders argued, but environmentalist worried it created undue air pollution.