Waiting for good air


I did attend the air quality meeting in Rifle on April 17. I showed up brandishing my cane. My broomstick was in the shop. I am undergoing regenerative therapy which is complicated by the damage done to my endocrine and nervous systems caused by contamination from long-term exposure to toxic drilling chemicals. I don’t always need a cane but we had rain mixed with snow. Rainy days are a real pain.

CDPHE Air Pollution Control Division Deputy Director Chris Colclasure and Leah Martland, Environmental Protection Specialist, led the meeting.

Turns out the Rifle meeting was just part of a two-year process of ongoing meetings to determine whether the people of Western Colorado are really serious about wanting to breathe clean air. The room was packed. Though it was a small room and for some strange reason full of tables. It looked like maybe one hundred citizens and industry reps showed up for a Tuesday mid-afternoon meeting. Evidently we are serious. Though it’s possible the oil & gas workers were only there because they were told to show up and were probably on the clock.

The first meeting was held last October in Denver in a likewise small room. Yes I was there, too. I’m a clean air junkie. I always wonder if the motivation for holding public meetings in small rooms is due to underestimation of turnout or the desire to discourage it. Since the meetings are usually held mid-morning or mid-afternoon on a weekday, I lean toward the latter. Anyway that morning it was an SRO crowd inside the room and out. You’d think they would’ve learned their lesson about small rooms and large crowds — but no.

After the Denver meeting, the commissioners adopted new state regulations that restrict air pollution from oil and gas development and require increased monitoring for leaks. But those regulations only apply to oil & gas facilities in select counties along the Front Range. They do not apply to any of the other counties across the state where drilling is ongoing.


According to Martland and Colclasure, the reason the rules applied to only specific Front Range counties is because they have been in noncompliance with the Clean Air Act for several years and the state was under pressure from the EPA. Though from what we’ve learned about Director Scott Pruitt’s antics of late, the only pressure from the EPA is on foreign governments to buy LNG. So we’ll just have to take the CDPHE’s word for it — unreliable as it is.

That brings us to the April 17th meeting in Rifle where most everyone talked about and asked for cleaner air for the West Slope.

Click here to read my comment

Everyone, that is, except Ursa’s Environmental Manager Dwayne Knudsen who lives with his family in Battlement Mesa and has no complaints or worries about the chemical odors because he can’t even smell them.  He probably doesn’t know that repeated exposure to high levels of drilling chemicals can block the olfactory nerve. My guess is he hasn’t actually smelled anything in years.

No state-sponsored meeting would be complete without an appearance and whiny lecture from WSCOGA’s David Ludlam. He accused us of belittling and bad-mouthing the oil & gas workers. The thing is, nobody did that. We never do. We like the workers. We think they deserve to know how they are being poisoned on a daily basis. Maybe he was worried they would hear the truth. Dave Devanney was so disgusted he walked out. I wanted to, but I’ve been working on my stink eye and needed the practice.

Ursa’s VP Don Simpson had the audacity to drag out that tired old canard blaming increased traffic for Colorado’s air pollution, urging the commission to take a closer look at vehicular emissions as the culprit. Shhh … don’t tell him that ozone pollution caused by oil & gas emissions — not vehicular traffic — was settled science last year with this NASA-funded study:  Surface ozone in the Colorado northern Front Range and the influence of oil and gas development during FRAPPE/DISCOVER-AQ in summer 2014.

Let him keep thinking he alone has the solution for ozone pollution. So Trump-y of him.

The next air quality meeting will be held in Fort Collins sometime in May. Supposedly the CDPHE will make a decision on statewide air quality recommendations by 2020.

Don’t hold your breath.

KDNK: Western Slope Considers Stricter Air Quality Standards

Audio:  Public Comment from 4/2018 AQCD Meeting in Rifle

Post IndependentResidents press for statewide air regulations for oil and gas

Aspen TimesGas-patch leaks part of discussion at Rifle meeting by John Colson

Daily SentinelWest Garfield County residents push for stricter air quality standards

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2 Comments on “Waiting for good air”

  1. David Mead Says:

    Thank you for being the Shabot in the works!

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    I don’t know what that means but you’re welcome.

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