Letter: Continuous gas well monitoring needed
On Dec. 10, I attended the governors task force meeting in Rifle. I wanted to introduce an idea of establishing a different type of system management for the oil and gas industry. I was hoping Colorado would establish its own oil and gas system management organization, which has dotted-line responsibility to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee and Colorado Health and Environmental Department.
Under this organization Colorado would develop its own good management practice using EPA and BLM guidelines for producers and vendors. The producers and vendors would be graded and permits would be dependent on compliance in multiple management areas. The idea is to create a management climate of continuous improvement leading to zero errors such as zero emissions, zero spills and zero injuries.
The system management organization would continuously remotely monitor drill sites for potential harmful chemicals release to the atmosphere.
All of this information would be collected in an infographic system that would basically be a map showing each wellhead entry and the vector of the well under the ground. The National Geographic had such an infographic in its March 2013 issue on North Dakota. People could see clearly which wells are under their houses, schools and bodies of water, and they would also see historical emission and spills.
I inadvertently went to the wrong meeting at first. It was a Western COGA meeting with vendors and producers. The mantra of the meeting was no new regulations and the Western Slope Way was the best, producing lots of jobs and money for different municipalities. There was the mention of freeing us from foreign fuels and also lowering our gasoline prices.
The testimony changed when I went to the task force meeting next door where people testified to being sickened by the wells and fearing how new wells would impact water and farming. It seems clear that some people’s immune systems cannot tolerate the emissions from these drill sites, especially when they breathe it 24/7.
I was impressed by how the task force moderators handled the meeting.
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