AQCC public hearing on October 19

Denver’s brown cloud, December 2014 [Source: CBS]

The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is in the process of revising Colorado’s 2014 oil & gas regulations that control methane emissions to meet new EPA recommendations to control ozone pollution. The proposed revisions would reduce hydrocarbon emissions in the Denver Metro Area and Front Range. Even though the current proposal does not include the West Slope, the commissioners will consider imposing similar requirements to oil & gas facilities on a statewide basis.

Your comments are welcome at the AQCC public hearing this Thursday. We need a strong showing from the West Slope to get the statewide standards we deserve. Please join us!

AQCC Public Hearing
Thursday, October 19, 2017
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m
Sabin Conference Room,
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South,
Denver, Colorado

Click here to review the hearing documents.

Click here to read comments submitted by Western Colorado Congress.

Reducing hydrocarbon emissions places no additional regulatory burden on the oil & gas industry. Capturing emissions is cost-effective for operators. Finding and fixing leaks is regular maintenance already required by the state.

Nothing is more vital to our health and our economy than clean air. While it’s of utmost importance to address ozone pollution in Denver and the Front Range, we all deserve to breathe clean air. Whether it’s fugitive emissions from the Uintah Basin in Utah, or the San Juan Basin in the Four Corners region, or our own Piceance Basin in western Colorado, we continue to be plagued with ozone pollution.

Even though drilling has declined in the past two years, it continues in Battlement Mesa. Plus there are existing producing wells and therefore the unloading processes occur on a regular basis. There are processing plants, compressor stations, tank farms, pipeline transfer stations, etc. All these sites and facilities constantly emit methane and other fugitive emissions.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the Garfield County FLIR tour.

On average Garfield County is meeting national ambient air quality standards. But all it takes is one air inversion to shroud us in the brown cloud and remind us of the hydrocarbon pollutants we are exposed to daily. According to the American Lung Association, close to 7,000 children and adults in Garfield County suffer from respiratory ailments. That’s 12 percent of the population. We can do better than this.

When the AQCC adopted methane emissions regulations in 2014, those rules applied to the oil & gas industry statewide in order to protect the health of all Coloradans. In keeping with the spirit of that rulemaking process, the commissioners must support strong ozone standards statewide.

We don’t want to go back to this —

Sunday morning 3/30/14 — Looking east from West Rifle — Click to enlarge [Photo by Ema Thornton]

Or this —

This photo was taken in the Grand Valley on Jan. 7, 2013, during a cold air inversion in which pollutants become trapped when a warmer air mass moves over cooler air. [Photo courtesy: Colo. Dept. of Public Health and Environment Air Pollution Control Division]

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