Category Archives: Conservation Colorado

Patagonia sponsors local activists fighting ozone pollution by…running?

Fighting air pollution by running? Yes, there is such a thing…and I and Ed Behan attended this event that proved it is happening.

Ed & I at Patagonia Boulder…where we didn’t realize we were being photo-bombed!

On Friday night, February 9, 2024, Ed Behan and I drove down from Fort Collins to the Patagonia store in Boulder. ‘Step Up for Air’ was sponsored Colorado Rising, Suffer Better and the Colorado Regional Air Quality Council. It was billed as the “RUFA Pre-Race Event this year!” on their Facebook page. (RUFA, if you couldn’t guess, is Run Up For Air — of course!)

Neither I nor Ed are runners, of course; we were there for the free food and drink, and the chance to meet other activists in person.

The event was slow to get started…because some of the participants were still out on a run!

Talked with Christiaan van Hooteberg and Brent Goodlet, both local activists. Christiaan is with the Erie Protectors, and actually was on Erie’s city council for 4 years recently. He’s an IT guy, and informed me he has downloaded the ENTIRE ECMC database, and is using the information to good effect! He showed me a cool map he had made recently of all the wells, included the underground horizontal well bores, that are in the Erie vicinity — an alarming graphic which looks a crowded pincushion. I hope to work with him in the future.

The main organizer of the event, Patrick, with Run Up for Air, encouraged people to sign up for a local running event, coming up soon — this group seems to prefer running in the winter! — which would raise money for this environmental cause.

Patrick’s introduction was followed by an excellent film made by Patagonia about the origins and continuing winter running event in Salt Lake City by a 24 hr run up and down Grandeur Mountain. Started about 10 years ago, the type of event has spread to a few other cities scattered across the West, for the same purpose: calling attention to air pollution and raising money to help develop legislation to change it.

Next were several presentations by local representatives who are working on this. I did not get a picture of the presentation by the representative from the Regional Air Quality Council, but who vouched that the issue if of real concern to local governments; however, her presentation lacked information about what can be done to remedy the situation.

The next two presenters did address this question:

This is Jared Bynum of Colorado Rising, who gave quite an animated delievery of why the impacts of fracking so harmful, but which has been allowed to affect so many residential communities in the Front Range.

Helena Gonzalez of Conservation Colorado gave a quite thorough walkthrough of current analysis they use in their lobbying of the Colorado legislature. They are tackling the O&G industry head-on, and presenting the strong case for why they are the primary cause of our ozone pollution problem — and helping to develop the necessary legislation to correct it.

Poster of why surface level ozone is not good for you! Very good to see this detailed information getting out to the public.

The evening ended in a raffle, where a lucky few won some good gear.

And with that, Ed and I drove home in a snowstorm back up the Fort Collins. It was worth it!