Air Quality Forum – Ozone Alert Series

Second in the Larimer Alliance Ozone Alert series, come join a panel discussion with elected officials and local experts in the science and health implications of our poor air quality, especially as it relates to the emissions from regional oil and gas operations.

This event will take place on Thursday June 27 at 6:00 PM in the Old Town Public Library in Fort Collins. Details on the panel participants will be coming soon.

“Fracking the System” Film Screening – Ozone Alert Series

Fracking the System is a political thriller documentary from the front lines of climate justice activism in Colorado, exposing the harms of fracking, the lengths to which the government is complicit with industrial pollution, and the nefarious tactics the oil and gas industry uses to undermine democratic elections.

Come view this important film which gets at the root of our poor air quality issues in Northern Colorado, as well as the dirty politics behind the continued staying power of the fossil fuel industry in the face of global climate change and those local impacts. The screening will take place on Thursday, June 13 at 5:30 PM in the Old Town Public Library in Fort Collins. A brief discussion with local activists will follow the screening.

This will be the first in the Larimer Alliance Ozone Alert Series. Details of another public forum at the Old Town Library discussing these issues June 27 will be announced after the screening.

 

Public comment about Town of Berthoud Oil & Gas Regulation

Editor’s comment: Berthoud’s Board of Trustees, their city council, is in the process of adopting their version of local oil and gas regulations as a consequence of SB-181 that was passed in 2019. They have hired attorney Mike Foote to assist them to do so; he was one of the principal authors of that law. They were scheduled to hold a meeting on May 28, 204 to allow public comment, where Mr Foote was to lead off with the first public presentation of the new regulations; however, Mr Foote fell ill, and the meeting was postponed.

Nonetheless, I filed these comments earlier that day for the Board’s consideration, which will still be relevant when the meeting is rescheduled.


Greetings Mayor Karspeck and Berthoud Board of Trustees: 

I would respectfully like to submit these written comments for your consideration as part of public input for your meeting tonight on the topic of local regulation of oil and gas operations. 

While I am not a Berthoud resident, I have resided in Fort Collins since 2018, and in the Front Range since 1981. I have been involved in public participation seeking better regulation of local oil and gas operations since 2012, when I helped pass the Lafayette Community Rights Act in 2013. I have taught a course in environmental economics at Front Range Community College since 2012, and was heavily involved in the adoption of the local O&G regs for Fort Collins in 2020, as part of the Larimer Alliance. I have also been in communication with residents in Berthoud who are concerned about the encroaching O&G activity around Berthoud, which could possibly occur within the city limits in the future. Therefore, I think sharing some of our experiences with you could be beneficial.

I believe someone else from the Larimer Alliance will be speaking at this meeting, so I will keep my remarks short. 

It was reassuring to us to see that you hired Mike Foote to help you draft your regulations. We have confidence in Mr Foote that he will help guide you towards crafting strong rules that will help to protect your community’s human safety and environmental quality. 

However, creating regulations is only the beginning, not the end, of the process. Implementation of those regulations is the real crux of the matter, as this is an area that is totally new to local jurisdictions in the O&G area. There is some assistance available here from the ECMC through your liaison contact, and I would urge you to take advantage of that, particularly in the area of technical assistance of O&G drilling and maintenance operations. 

Beyond that, planning ahead and allocating staff time and personnel for monitoring local operations, and responding to community requests resulting from incidents, particularly accidents, will also help to build public trust. The lack of transparency when dealing with the state agencies who regulated O&G in the past has been a barrier to building such trust; that has been slowly changing since the passage of SB-181 in 2019, but still has a ways to go.

Finally, as I’m sure you and your Board are aware, the air pollution from O&G operations is a regional issue, and is not just a matter for any one jurisdiction. The existing agencies for this have not been particularly effective — the lack of compliance with EPA ozone standards since 2004 speaks to this — and local jurisdictions should consider how they can tackle this issue among themselves. This could help to prod the existing agencies into recognizing their past failure, and commit to some new actions for remedy. Therefore, building communication channels between Berthoud and other jurisdictions dealing with this issue is something that we would encourage. 

The local public awareness of this air pollution has been growing in concern and urgency since fracking took off in 2012 in the Front Range. There is mounting recognition of the injustice that so many innocent residents should be made to suffer the harmful effects of this air pollution at the hands of an industry that has operated without contrition, and apparently with a free hand, under past administrations. The Larimer Alliance is striving to assist these injured citizens, and bringing their voice to our local elected officials, and raising awareness of the seriousness of the issue. 

We would welcome you and the Board of Trustees in working towards that same goal, and keeping the public and the environment safe when you adopt your local O&G regulations. 

Thank you. 

Sincerely, 

Rick Casey  

——————————-

webmaster of the following:

Larimer Alliance Speaks to the Climate Activists of Tomorrow at Dunn Elementary Dolphin Dash Event

Fifth Graders getting ready to visit their chosen pledge stations.

Visitors to the Larimer Alliance Station on Climate Change Knowledge

The Larimer Alliance had a unique opportunity to speak with the next generation of potential climate activists. On May 3, we set up an informational table at Dunn Elementary, a unique school that is part of the globally recognized International Baccalaureate program based in over 5,000 schools in 158 countries. Our display and discussion were part of Dunn’s Dolphin Dash and Learner Profile Pledge event.

Starting with Fifth Graders in the morning, groups of up to ten students selected to visit tables to visit focusing on hunger, social justice, reading and education, affordable energy, water quality, and air quality. The students are seeking ways to tie what they are learning in Dunn’s IB program to these issues and what they can do to work on them. In speaking of the Alliance’s work, we emphasized air quality and how it is affected along the Front Range by oil and gas activity.

A large number of those who visited the Larimer Alliance table indicated they had picked up trash and/or planted trees and native plants for Earth Day and were aware of the need to shift off fossil fuels. By the end of the day with the kindergarten kiddos, we were just asking some pretty basic questions. But all the students expressed understanding of the various issues, and recognized they will be working on them in the future. It is encouraging to see them paying attention. . .

Larimer Alliance Blog