(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. When invisible volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) get cooked in our Grand Valley sunlight, they form ozone. These compounds result largely from oil and gas operation pollution. Methane is another invisible contribution to our dirty air, also caused by oil and gas pollution. This is bad news for over 25,000 asthma sufferers; and doesn’t even include all the kids, elderly and outdoor athletes in the valley and throughout the state who suffer from these invisible attackers.
The good news is that the AQCC (state Air Quality Control Commission) is working on changing safety measures that could help put an end to this ubiquitous bad air condition. That is, unless they get the idea that the problem doesn’t exist because they can’t see it. The early draft has appeared and it doesn’t look very promising. The working draft produced by the Air Pollution Control Division allows for the use of audio, visual and olfactory methods to detect emission leaks at oil and gas operation sites, rather than infrared cameras that scientifically detect dangerous emissions. The infrared cameras are an existing, cost effective system that, combined with monthly inspections, could make a change for the better in our air quality.
Here’s a question for you: Why is it that we, the breathers, have to prove with expensive air monitors, endless data and research that the pollutants are real, while the oil and gas industry gets to use sight, smell and hearing to measure the same thing? (The latest efforts of Citizens for Clean Air and others is to advocate for an expensive “speciation monitor” that depends on data to measure pollutants.)
So what do we do? Even though we may have other things to keep us occupied, like show up for work 5 days a week, or look for work, or take care of aging parents, or raise children, or enjoy this beautiful place we call home, we simply must take the extra time to let the AQCC know that we care about our air. Not only that, but we must let Governor Hickenlooper know, too.
As for me, I can tell by the way it looks and smells during the infamous Grand Valley cold weather inversions that the air here stinks, but since I am required to prove it with scientific data; shouldn’t the oil and gas industry be required to use technology, too?
Karen Sjoberg – Citizens for Clean Air, Grand Junction, CO