Letter: Ozone standards
Currently the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is in the process of revising Colorado’s 2014 oil and 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 and gas facilities on a statewide basis.
Reducing hydrocarbon emissions places no additional regulatory burden on the oil and 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.
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 suffer from respiratory ailments. We can do better than this.
When the AQCC adopted methane emissions regulations in 2014, those rules applied to the oil and 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.