Stronger air quality regs should apply statewide – not just to Front Range

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Stronger air quality regs should apply statewide – not just to Front Range

Residents on the Western Slope appreciate our clear views and blue skies.  However, smog from oil and gas operations is fouling our air – causing localized health concerns and putting some areas on the Western Slope in danger of exceeding federal clean air standards.

Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission is currently considering whether to strengthen statewide air pollution standards for oil and gas operations – and they’re taking official input at a hearing on October 19th from Coloradans like you.  Stronger protections could significantly improve our air quality and our health, improve the safety of the oil and gas locations, and combat climate change.

Unfortunately, the State and industry groups have taken the position that increased air quality protections should only be applied on the Front Range – where ozone air pollution is regularly exceeding federal limits. Western Colorado Congress believes that the cost-effective air pollution protections they are applying on the Front Range should be applied on the Western Slope as well. We should not wait until the Western Slope exceeds federal pollution limits before we act!

The public is invited to this hearing to give public comments, and we need a strong showing on our side to get the strengthened standards we deserve statewide. Come join us! We have a team of six who will be attending the hearing.

Public Hearing

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

Please show up as early as possible to ensure that you get a chance to speak. Public comments will likely be limited to 3 minutes each. If you want to sign up to speak, you will need to provide your name, address, and contact information on a blue card that should be available at a sign-in table. Please personalize your comments with any stories of how oil and gas development or air pollution has affected you.

Other suggested talking points:

  • The oil and gas industry is one of the biggest ozone (or smog) polluters in Colorado, due to natural gas that leaks from wells, tanks, and other equipment. A recent study estimates that each summer kids in Colorado suffer more than 30,000 asthma attacks linked to the oil and gas industry’s smog pollution.
  • Although the state is proposing limited measures to reduce oil and gas pollution—such as requiring companies to find and fix leaks—this proposal applies only to parts of the Front Range. It needs to be strengthened and applied statewide. Strong statewide protections will make our air healthier and reduce Colorado’s contribution to global climate change by curbing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas, methane.
  • As oil and gas wells creep closer and closer to houses, schools, and churches, the people who live, study, and worship there are exposed to more toxic air pollution. A recent proposal in Battlement Mesa will place 24 gas wells within 500 feet of seven homes and within 1,000 feet of 51 homes.   Everyone deserves to know that companies are regularly checking the wells near their homes for leaks to ensure they are not exposed to carcinogens like benzene.
  • More inspections of oil and gas facilities will also lead to safer locations. State records show that there is at least one oil and gas industry fire or explosion every month. More inspections will help keep neighborhoods safe.
  • Never has it been more important for states like Colorado to take the lead in tackling climate change. Governor Hickenlooper recently committed to reduce greenhouse gas emission in Colorado. Regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry is an important step towards meeting this goal.
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