In November 2011, oil leaked from an underground pipe at the Suncor Energy refinery into Sand Creek near its confluence with the South Platte River in Commerce City, Colorado. In response, Suncor took action to limit, prevent, and clean up the discharge of oil to Sand Creek, the South Platte River, and their adjoining shorelines.
The federal and state Natural Resource Trustees determined that Suncor Energy, Inc.’s oil discharge and subsequent response actions injured natural resources. In February 2014, the trustees settled a Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration case for monetary damages to restore groundwater, aquatic habitat, wetlands, and waterfowl.
In 2018, the Trustees awarded the Suncor settlement funds to two projects:
- The Ducks Unlimited Restoration Project will impact 15 different projects across North America to remediate damages to waterfowl populations, wetland habitats and groundwater resources on the South Platte River. This project will help restore waterfowl habitats across North America by addressing the life cycle of different waterfowl to restore habitat and populations.
- Restoration/Rehabilitation of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Project targets approximately 12 miles of open riparian habitat in the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. It is designed to restore the riparian, wetland, and wildlife habitats through the removal of invasive species and weeds. The Trustees provided $148,000 in funding to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, who worked in partnership with the Mile High Youth Corps and the GoWild Northeast Metro Coalition to implement the project.