BOCC plays politics with air quality

Natural gas processing facility north of Parachute on CR 215

Well you knew this one was coming. I’ve been working on a post about air quality for a few weeks but – just like our air quality – the issue changes from one day to the next.  Remember that so-called air quality discussion at the October 15 BOCC meeting? If not, grab a shovel. You’ll need it to read this load of crap:

Garfield County in compliance with national air quality standards
Data show a few days with high emissions

The EPA should have measured for high levels of methane in the room. A more accurate sub-head would’ve been:  Guy who works for BOCC tells them what they want to hear.

I call this the Bert and Ernie approach to air quality. In the classic Bert and Ernie sketch “Fixing the Window”, everything is getting wet, because it’s raining and a window is stuck open. But Ernie explains that he can’t fix it now because he’d get wet in all that rain. When the rain stops, he explains to Bert that since it’s not raining anymore, nothing’s getting wet, and there’s no reason to fix it.

Paul Reaser (GarCo environmental health manager) said this:

Over the last four years, there have been days when emissions at some monitoring sites have exceeded EPA safe levels, Reaser said.

For example, ozone levels at the Rifle site exceeded EPA standards once in 2008 and once in 2012, while levels of particulate matter there exceeded EPA levels once in 2009. Levels of particulate matter at the Parachute station exceeded EPA safe levels once, in 2008.

Reaser gave 4 “examples.” He didn’t actually say exactly how many days total exceeded EPA safe levels. I don’t think this record is anything to brag about. And these guys are proud of the fact that Garfield County has 4 air quality monitoring stations and one mobile unit to cover almost 3,000 square miles. Compare and contrast. Look at the number of air quality monitoring stations on the front range and Grand Junction:  Colorado Air Monitoring Sites.

But of course their discussion that day was an infomercial for the CSU Study, which the BOCC just finalized — one week before the election.

CSU air quality monitoring study finalized
Four energy companies to share in cost of Garfield County study

Martin said that there were “deficiencies” in the HIA’s conclusions, and that information on that topic is available on the county’s website, http://www.garfield-county.com.

The HIA was an analysis of existing information, whereas the CSU study is meant to establish baseline air quality data for later analysis, Gorgey explained.

“One was theory, the other is actual data,” Martin said.

So John Martin wants actual data. Okay. Here’s some data …

A news story by Ed Williams aired on KDNK on October 19:  A Look at GarCo Gas Operator.  (If you click on the link you can listen to the 5-minute newscast.)

Inspired by this newscast, I started googling. Look what I found.

EPA’s internal Clear Air Act ‘watch list’

Facilities on the Active April 2012 CAA Watch List

Please note:  “The list helps the EPA identify ‘recidivist and chronically noncomplying facilities whose violations have not been formally addressed by either the state or the EPA’.

Rio Blanco County facilities on EPA watch list:
Enterprise Gas Processing –Meeker Gas Plant
ETC Canyon Pipeline – Greasewood

I found 3 more –
ETC Canyon Pipeline – Foundation Creek, Rangely, CO
ETC Canyon Pipeline – N. Douglas Creek
Exxonmobil Corp – Piceance Creek 57-19 – Meeker, CO

Current compliance status of Serious Violation(s):
Enterprise Gas-Piceance Dev. Project – Rifle, CO
(The address is listed as Rifle, but you can see from the map the location is north of Rifle in Rio Blanco County.)

Garfield County facilities on EPA watch list:
Enterprise Products Op- Jackrabbit Cs – Parachute, CO
ETC Canyon Pipeline – Rifle Boulton Station (7.1 miles SW of Silt, CO)
Oxy USA Wtp Lp – Conn Creek Gas – Parachute, CO

But wait, I found 4 more in Garfield County –
Wildhorse Energy Partners LLC – Rifle, CO
Williams Prod – Doe 9-17mv – Rifle, CO  and their neighbor,
ETC Canyon Pipeline, LLC- Holmes Mesa Cs – Rifle, CO
Tri-state Generation & Trans.-rifle Stat – Rifle, CO (private company, generates electrical power from natural gas)

Silt update:  In September Kirby Wynn told me via phone conversation that Paul Reaser (GarCo environmental health program manager) had been “tasked” to work with the town of Silt on the issue of air quality monitoring, including the different types of programs, costs, etc.

According to Silt Town Administrator Pam Woods: “Paul Reaser, Garfield County Environmental Health Manager, will attend the November 26, 2012 Board of Trustee meeting to discuss ambient air quality and national air quality standards.”

Doesn’t sound like a discussion about air quality monitoring. Sounds more like another sales pitch for their CSU Study. I’m no scientist but perhaps they should begin their study by looking at the companies who are currently in violation of the Clean Air Act.

So while we wait three years for the results of the CSU Study, here is what we already know is happening to us:  Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

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2 Comments on “BOCC plays politics with air quality”

  1. Anita Sherman (@MomMakingChange) Says:

    We have entered the dark abyss of the industry’s rabbit hole logic with Samson, Martin, and Jankovsky- AKA “Whea, Cheetham, and Howe” – beckoning us to jump in.

    The only thing the air quality study will provide is the fact that industrial poisoning will probably meet current acceptable state and national standards set by the industry. Three years to increase drilling operations, only to tell us, they’re compliant with state and national standards; funding private “supportive” agencies with taxpayer fund. Health impacts to residents be damned.

    No worries, though. Club 20 and Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas are now in the “health care” game. Lester H. Smith from SG Interests, wants to replicate his Houston based cancer research facility, somewhere in Colorado. Any guesses where?

    As a cancer survivor, Smith has served on his cancer research facility’s board for years. It’s a facility, which receives government and private tax deductible monies to support his passion for cancer treatment. The logic being, ‘there is no need for prevention, because we have facilities that can treat the people we poison.’

    We live in a time when hospitals can be sold to the highest bidder. Valley View’s new cancer treatment facility is a nice carrot on a stick for potential investors like SG Interests with principal characters that make money off drilling and cancer treatment. If you haven’t voted, please take the time to read endorsements. There is a considerable amount of hypocrisy with the Colorado Medical Society giving industry supported candidates their support.

    http://www.cms.org/pdf/COMPAC_ensorsements.pdf

    There was a time when prevention was worth a pound of cure. Strange bedfellows are being made between the medical industry and the mineral extraction industries. This is a very dark rabbit hole, indeed.

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Connect the dots people! The same industry making billions from poisoning us is now in the business to make billions from treating our sicknesses. This is the future of Garfield County if Martin and Samson are in charge. The first step toward ending this madness is to VOTE. Sonja Linman and Aleks Briedis will return sanity to Garfield County

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