Colorado proposes new controls on oil and gas industry in an effort to combat air pollution
Colorado health officials on Monday proposed a ratcheting of controls on the oil and gas industry to reduce air pollution — aiming to comply with federal ozone limits, obey lawmakers who ordered a cleanup and sync the state with efforts to contain climate change.
The measures that officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment unveiled would broaden and strengthen existing regulations. They include:
- Requiring oil and gas companies to inspect their facilities statewide twice a year to detect leaks and fix them
- Eliminating a 90-day exemption that lets oil and gas companies drill and frack before they obtain required permits that limit air pollution
- Measuring and regulating air pollution along the industry’s expanding array of pipelines using infrared, aerial and other devices
- Requiring companies to produce comprehensive annual reports detailing levels of pollutants they emit, including nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, methane and heat-trapping greenhouse gases linked to climate change
- Tightening rules that companies control emissions from storage tanks and during truck unloading at facilities, and requiring better valves be installed so that less gas is vented into the atmosphere
“We’re going to reduce statewide emissions by 80% by 2030,” John Putnam, the state health department’s environmental programs director, told the 70 or so participants at a public meeting in Denver on Monday.