Letter: Cut methane waste
Living in Battlement Mesa, I am very familiar with the impacts of oil and gas development, including the utter waste of this resource that occurs when operators flare excess gas off their sites. In 2011, we could see a flare in Parachute that probably burned off enough gas in one day to power our community for a month. It is hard to believe that the rules allow for such waste while at the same time the companies are seeking to drill in our community, threatening people’s health and wellbeing, developing the same resource that was treated as waste.
In 2014, people across this state came together and passed some of the strongest air quality rules to curb methane waste in this country. These rules have been effective and affordable to implement for industry.
However, as we are making strides to clean up our air in Colorado, we cannot do it alone. Unless strong nationwide rules are enacted, pollution from neighboring states with active industry easily crosses into our air shed. All residents of our country should benefit from improved rules to cut emissions and to stop the unnecessary waste of our nation’s natural resources.
Greater health studies about the impact of well production chemicals point to possible negative effects on human health. We can’t forget that other chemicals, like the BTEX group, are also released into the air from a gas pad. While a release from one well may not seem problematic, what are the cumulative impacts from thousands of wells? More science is needed; so reducing methane waste is a needed cautionary action.
In conclusion, we appreciate the BLM for proposing these rules. However, we believe that the rules could be strengthened in four key areas:
1) Requiring quarterly inspections of sites to prevent leaks.
2) Ensuring operators are using the best available technologies.
3) Increasing the limits on flaring and tightening exemptions.
4) And ensuring that there is a strong plan to enforce these rules.
Betsy A. Leonard
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