With more than 500 employees based in the Denver region, we take our role as a good neighbor seriously. From September to November 2020, Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. reached out to the community for feedback about our communications and relationships. We are grateful to the hundreds of residents who participated in the survey in English and Spanish and shared it with others.
We conducted this outreach so we could hear your thoughts on how to be a better neighbor. This work was also a part of our recent agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and new state legislation. While we may have completed this phase of the engagement process, we continue to listen and make changes based on what we hear. This is an ongoing conversation and an important part of living our purpose...
We are using the feedback you provided to shape how we will communicate and share data going forward. Over the next six months, we will share an action plan to implement the feedback.
Since engaging with the community, we have launched Suncor.com/Colorado, which is a new webpage with information about the refinery, and you can look for enhanced community air monitoring soon.
As of January 1, 2021, we are using the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) through Adams County to notify community members surrounding the Commerce City Refinery in the event of an emergency that requires immediate action by the community. Residents will receive these alerts automatically, and they will be posted to Suncor.com/Colorado.
As of February 24, 2021, the community will also be able to sign up for Refinery Notifications, a new system which will provide updates when there is an event or incident at the refinery that does not require immediate action by the community. Notifications will start in June and will be in both English and Spanish. Subscribers will receive a text message, phone call, or email any time the community can see, hear, or smell something that may prompt questions or concerns. Anyone signed up for these notifications will be informed directly from Suncor about the activity or event.
Our research results
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We worked with an independent research firm to collect feedback. Individual responses were kept anonymous, confidential and reported in total only.
Questions covered topics like how respondents consume news and information, their expectations of businesses including Suncor, how effective they think our communications has been previously and how they would like to provide and receive information from us.
The survey was designed to gather feedback on how we can better communicate about our business and keep the community informed about operations and activities, as well as how they want to communicate with us.
The survey was open to the public and Suncor employees from September to November 2020. We used a mix of one-on-one interviews, focus groups and online and telephone surveys – in English and Spanish – to gather feedback from residents. Due to COVID-19, research was conducted virtually. We received hundreds of responses from employees, elected officials, community leaders, and residents.
Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. owns and operates the Commerce City Refinery. The refinery is the only facility of this kind in Colorado and the largest in the Rocky Mountain Region, processing approximately 98,000 barrels-per-day, and contributing $2.5 billion USD to the state’s economy annually, along with significant tax revenues in the Commerce City area.
We pride ourselves in keeping our operations local – including our products, workforce, and community initiatives. We purchase crude from the Denver-Julesburg Basin, process it in Commerce City, and sell nearly 95% of our products – including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and paving asphalt within the state. As a result, we are Colorado’s primary producer of paving-grade asphalt for roads and a major supplier of fuel to the state’s Western Slope via rail and truck. Our facility is also a key supplier to the Denver International Airport, where we provide about a third of its jet fuel through a direct pipeline.
We employ more than 500 Coloradans between our refinery, corporate office in downtown Denver, and pipeline operations, including more than 250 union jobs. We also support more than 5,000 indirect jobs within Colorado generated through our business. This local cycle supplies fuel and materials needed to keep up with Colorado’s booming economy, while lowering costs for consumers.
In March of 2020, the Commerce City Refinery reached a settlement agreement with the Air Pollution Control Division within CDPHE regarding air compliance issues during the 2017-2019 period.
As part of the settlement, Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. agreed to:
- Pay approximately $1.4 million in penalties (which have been paid).
- Direct approximately $2.6 million to Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPS) – community projects with a focus on improving public health and the environment in the area surrounding the refinery.
- Spend up to $5 million on improvement projects following third party root cause investigation.
We also committed to complete several key projects to improve performance and how we communicate with the community:
- Engage an independent root cause investigation to identify refinery improvement opportunities.
- Provide funding for hydrogen cyanide (HCN) emissions monitoring in the surrounding community, which will be conducted by CDPHE.
- In consultation with stakeholders and neighbors, develop a communications and notification process to communicate with and make data available to the community and CDPHE.
Our goal is to be a trusted partner, supporting Colorado’s energy future. We know we have a lot of work to do to regain the community’s trust so that we can continue to supply Colorado with quality, reliable and affordable energy.
We will continue to work through the compliance process with the Air Pollution Control Division and CDPHE on the refinery’s continuous improvement plans.