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Intensity program not intense enough

On Dec. 17, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission, caving into oil and gas industry pressure, adopted an “intensity program” to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the industry’s production efforts.

It’s a multifaceted plan, but the precedent-setting feature is the commission gives the industry emissions goals established by the Buy Clean Colorado legislation passed this year and the drillers figure out how to do it.

The industry determines its own “intensity plan” and they have a year to do it. That’s one more year with no controls on oil and gas greenhouse gas emissions and the climate clock is ticking. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports we have eight years to achieve zero emissions before we initiate an irreversible climate catastrophe.



This begs the question of the ramifications of noncompliance: What if the industry doesn’t hit those targets? Gov. Polis has shown a reluctance to issuing mandates to private enterprise. Also, can we rely on the industry give the commission accurate accounts of the oil and gas produced? They’ve been known to fudge the numbers on severance tax issues in the past.

The AQCC further established a leak inspection schedule for oil and gas extraction; monthly, bimonthly, and quarterly. Only monthly is sufficient. Leaks can pop up fast and repair is required immediately.




Small operators will be given more leeway than the large drillers. This doesn’t make much sense as several little guys can equal the emissions of a single big boy.

AQCC commissioner Martha Rudolph said, “The intensity program will really push the industry to see what they can do.”

Don’t be disappointed, Martha, if that turns out to be not very much.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale


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