In case you missed it, last week, Gov. Hickenlooper was roundly criticized as a draft rule from Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission found its way into the hands of a few reporters. As many of you know, oil and gas industry expansion in Colorado has renewed concerns about deteriorating air quality across the state. But perhaps more worrisome, is the seeming lack of follow through from those we elect who are supposed to have our back when it comes to drafting the new rules.
Just a few weeks ago, Noble Energy executives and Gov. Hickenlooper called for zero methane emissions saying, “In the end, it’s got to be close to zero,” and “getting methane emissions to zero, or as close to zero as we can get them, remains an administration goal,” respectively.
One would think the obvious solution to growing air quality worries is reasonable safeguards for our air. Even industry knows regulations can have positive impacts not only for our environment but for their bottom line as well. Referring to public confidence in oil and gas operations, an industry executive said recently, “regulation is one of the components that can help.”
That’s why it comes as such a surprise to see the Hickenlooper administration back-pedaling so quickly from comments they made just weeks ago. On Tuesday, Gov. Hickenlooper told the Denver Business Journal, “I think we can have less emissions. Natural gas producers, if they have a leak, they want to fix it. My goal is to get to zero [emissions], but that’s decades away.” Unfortunately, Coloradans are tired of waiting.
In September, the University of Texas released its study of green completions and found the technology reduced methane emissions by 99%. We have the technology now to drastically reduce methane emissions. Now we need our elected officials to stand up for commonsense solutions that protect our health. Making the new air quality rules work for everyone, not just industry, is the right thing to do. Colorado’s quality of life and economy depend on it.