PEOPLE: WHERE DOES THE LARIMER ALLIANCE GO FROM HERE?

A version of the following was posted to our community and allies on September 7. Do fee free to comment. . . 

 

The Larimer Board of County Commissioners passed an amended set of regulations for oil and gas development in a marathon session on the night of Thursday, July 29th.

For over two years, the Larimer Alliance has worked to inform our members and community, rallying their support to key hearings at both the County and State level for improved regulation of this environmentally dangerous industry. The support and input of our membership and many allied groups have been key in securing improved regulations. . . which still leave much to be desired in terms of comprehensive protection.

The question is: Where do we go from here?

While it is clear the County Commissioners have paid attention to some of our concerns, there is much that needs to be done to ensure the regulations as they exist are enacted effectively, and to continue advocating for improvements to the regulation of oil and gas projects in Larimer County. 

What does our membership at large think of future activity on behalf of health and environmental protections in Larimer County? What elements of the new regulations concern you? What activity would you be interested in participating in to move the cause of environmental protections forward? What do you actually think of further activity in this regard?

We need to hear from you. . . and your HELP

in implementing your ideas going forward!

An ad hoc gathering of some of our steering committee has identified a few areas of potential activity, which we have listed below. But we wouldn’t be here without your interest and energy. . . and we need  your continued interest and energy to define and pursue the way forward! 

Suggested areas of focus:

  • Advocating at both the County level and with the City of Fort Collins for improved air quality monitoring, possibly using state and federal severance tax and mineral extraction proceeds to fund such stations.
  • Monitoring the implementation of the new State and County oil and gas regulations, including tracking the permit applications as they are filed and processed.
  • Monitoring the water quality issues associated with the “recycling” of “produced” (read: “waste”) water from drilling sites, assuring compliance with relevant State and Federal regulation.
  • Working alongside allied groups to encourage the Platte River Power Authority to stick to their commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2030, with no additional natural gas units.
  • Lobbying our State legislators for an expansion of the Office of Just Transition to ensure oil and gas workers displaced by shifts to renewable energy sources have opportunities to train for new jobs in an expanding green energy sector. 

These are only a few potential initiatives the Larimer Alliance

could pursue going forward from here. 

What do YOU think should be the vital point of focus?

 

As ever, we rely on the support and input

of our members and community!

For all you do, we thank you!

www.larimeralliance.org

Check on relevant events on our Calendar Page!

 

My question for the O&G GHG Roadmap

The O&G GHG Roadmap is a major policy objective of the Polis administration, as explained at https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/climate-energy/ghg-pollution-reduction-roadmap.  However, some have questioned the intentions of the administration.  Nonetheless, the CDPHE is charged with soliciting public input  on the issues, as its part in this policy action, which will happen in two meetings, on August 16 and 31, 2021.
I registered to have some public input, and sent the message below as my questions for them.
You can still register to attend the August 31 meeting; see this link.
—————————————————————-
Dear CDPHE:
One question I have as a concerned citizen is this: the current air quality monitors maintained by the CDPHE only detect the presence of ozone; but as we all know, ozone can be created from various constituent gasses.
The technology exists to measure not just ozone, but those constituent gasses as well, and it is my understanding that the technology used by BoulderAIR monitoring stations (see https://bouldair.com/) are capable of measuring these constituent gasses. This is especially important in order to determine how much of the ozone is being caused by vehicular traffic and how much is being caused by oil and gas operations.
There are five such stations already in place, operating in a coordinated fashion, providing a comprehensive picture of regional air quality in those areas, and building a legally defensible dataset of pollution sources. Would it not make sense to enlarge this network to cover the entire regions where ozone is a problem? Otherwise, how are you ever going to know the true source of this highly problematic pollution, and therefore manage the problem?
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Rick Casey
Fort Collins, CO

Larimer County has finally passed new Oil and Gas Regulations!

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE WENT OUT AS AN EMAIL TO OUR COMMUNITY FOLLOWING PASSAGE OF NEW OIL AND GAS REGULATIONS IN LARIMER COUNTY BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS:

The Larimer Board of County Commissioners passed an amended set of regulations for oil and gas development in a marathon session on the night of Thursday, July 29th, a continuation of another hearing earlier that week. Our side made a good pitch for even stronger regulations, and the oil and gas opposition clearly indicated they wanted no further regulation whatsoever. 

The new regulations are clearly better than the weak set of rules passed by the previous, predominantly Republican Board in 2020. But we still find there are omissions in key protections for our communities, our environment, the county’s natural open lands, and critical wildlife habitat. Both Commissioners Jody Shadduck-McNally and Kristin Stephens submitted amendments to improve protections, particularly in regards to setting wider setbacks and keeping natural resources and forestry lands out of development. Significantly, Commissioner Stephens said this about the new regulations:

 “(I) wanted to make sure that we are protecting health and welfare and protecting our environment, which is so important here in Northern Colorado, I think that we’ve achieved that. We may not have created a perfect product. And the good thing about it is it’s not set in stone; this is something that we can revise and review periodically to make sure we have it right.”

In describing her “north star” in proposing amendments to the proposed regulations, Commissioner Shadduck-McNally stated:

“The question was not where the oil and gas facility is located … but whether any location proposed should be approved in the first place. I feel SB-181 gave us those tools to really use that north star to really take seriously this responsibility of not just current residents but future residents.”

See the attached transcripts of coverage from the Fort Collins Coloradoan and Loveland Reporter-Herald.

None of this would have happened without you!

The comments and messages you got into the County Commissioners in favor of

strong, comprehensive oil and gas rules were critical to this process!

At this point, we are all heaving a bit of a sigh of relief that the revision process is done. We will be contemplating other avenues to stay on top of related issues as the new regulations go into effect on September 15th:

  • Air Quality Monitoring – There is still a need for comprehensive site-based and regional air quality monitoring, possibly in conjunction with city and state entities within the Larimer County area.
  • Water Quality – Recent research by some of our members indicates we may have to closely watch what is done in terms of disposal of “produced water” from drilling sites, with concerns about a particular section of land that has already been a site of discharges into the Box Elder Creek drainage.
  • State Regulatory Processes – We have been party to some of the rulemaking programs at the State level, and continued work on that is in the offing as the COGCC and other agencies look to correct some of the deficiencies of their recent regulatory revisions.

Whatever is happening, the Larimer Alliance will work to see that the key protections of our health, safety, and environment are correctly implemented and strengthened whenever possible. Our community will be an important source for information on critical issues as they arise. Your input on things affecting your neighborhood and family will help us as we move forward. 

Remember that your voice is important

in defense of our community and our planet!

Thank you all once again for all you do!

www.larimeralliance.org

Check on relevant events on our Calendar Page!

ALLIANCE - Coloradoan Article on Larimer O and G Regs

ALLIANCE - Reporter Herald First Article on Larimer O and G Regs
ALLIANCE - Reporter Herald Second Article on Larimer O and G Regs

Garfield County Commissioners are misusing tax dollars

A very informative article from Peggy Tibbetts, who’s been writing about the anti-fracking and other environmental issues in western Colorado for some time. What’s quite interesting is how locals created a website to show exactly how the county commissioners used tax dollars to resist the implementation of SB-181, which is supposed to protect the health and environment and make that the priority, over promoting the oil and gas industry. It would appear that the Garfield County Commissioners are acting against the intent of the law:

Garfield County Commissioners are misusing tax dollars

Larimer Alliance Blog