With over 50,000 active oil & gas wells across Colorado, and thousands more planned, the state faces a severe threat to air quality, regional ozone and global climate.
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), through its Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), aims to reduce methane and ozone-related emissions from oil & gas facilities. State agencies and interested stakeholders are writing a plan to reduce gas leaks from storage tanks, valves and other types of equipment. In 2014, the state will provide a detailed plan to federal authorities like the Environmental Protection Act. During the interim, officials look to hold at least two public meetings: one November 21 in Denver, and another in February 2014.
Earlier, state officials proffered an underwhelming draft plan. At the time, conservation groups, residents of gas & oil fields, and community organizations called for better. Despite the Governor’s calls for “zero tolerance on methane emissions”, the draft did little to ensure public health protection, methane capture, and regulatory compliance. As just one example, the draft plan proposed to depend on the human nose, eyes and ears for inspections…not cutting-edge technology, sensors or infrared cameras.
Colorado has a chance to address both climate change and toxic emissions. That’s why we’re pushing to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help clean up our air. Let’s call for Leak Detection and Repair systems at all facilities, and use only Best Management Practices that keep tanks as close to airtight as possible. We need a final rule that also ensures oil & gas development near homes has emission monitors, more frequent inspections, and immediate reporting of emergencies or hazards.
Already, WCC has co-hosted community meetings in Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs. We’re working closely with WCC community groups like Grand Valley Citizens Alliance (Garfield County) and WCC-Mesa County, as well as other partners like “Citizens for Clean Air” and the Front Range’s “Weld Air & Water.”
Moving forward, we’re looking to bring your voice to Denver! WCC is renting a van and will coordinate a carpool for AQCC’s November 21 meeting. To get involved, contact Frank Smith at the WCC office at (970) 256-7650!
Can’t go to Denver? Send your thoughts today!
Air Quality Control Commission
c/o Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246-1530