Garfield County air quality is improving, state employee says
RIFLE — With several sites in Garfield County monitoring air quality related to the oil and gas industry, the county received a good report from the state at a recent Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting here.
Gordon Pierce, the technical services program manager for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, was the guest speaker at the meeting and told EAB members and the public audience that air quality in Garfield County is improving.
“On the Western Slope, the biggest problem is in Rangely,” Pierce said. “But we have air quality monitoring sites in Rifle, Parachute, Battlement Mesa and Carbondale. Air quality is not a big issue out here.”
The state began air quality studies in Garfield County in 2002, but most of the monitoring has been done on the Front Range.
“In Garfield County, we’ve done ozone monitoring in Rifle, Battlement Mesa and Carbondale,” Pierce said. “And air quality monitoring sites have been in Rifle, Parachute and Battlement Mesa. It’s really not a big issue out here.”
Leslie Robinson, with the Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance, questioned how the state is planning to regulate and monitor air quality.
Pierce assured her that studies were being done, including those guided by federal regulations, to monitor testing results.
Kirby Wynn, Garfield County oil and gas liaison officer, said he was happy with the results of the meeting.
“A lot of people do not realize just how much air quality data the county collects and that our air quality is improving,” Wynn said. “Annual county expense for the long-term trends monitoring at five sites is about $350,000, plus 1.5 staff positions.”
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