Online even co-sponsored with Colorado Rising, featuring the following speakers:
Andrew Klooster, Colorado Field Advocate with Earthworks, is an expert videographer and a certified optical gas imaging thermographer. He has been working with local environmental groups in the Front Range for years, has documented many instances of VOC and methane pollution sources in the region, and is very familiar with the situations of many of the afflicted communities.
Dr Cory Carroll, MD, Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado, will detail health impacts he has seen in his patients from being exposed to ozone, VOCs, and other dangerous air emissions, based on his professional experience with patients.
Dr. Detlev Helmig, CEO of BoulderAIR, will discuss findings from his continuous air quality monitoring study at 5 installations in the Front Range (Boulder, Longmont (2), Erie & Broomfield), which have identified quantity and source of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) contributing to the formation of ozone along the Front Range. Many of these VOCs are toxic and can traced directly to oil and gas operations in the region.
The images paired above do not begin to do justice to the issue of long abandoned oil and gas facilities in Colorado. Earthworks conducts extensive field surveys of producing, temporarily shut down, and abandoned facilities around the country. Their optical gas imaging using FLIR camera technology illustrates the continued venting from supposedly inactive units. These screen captures were taken from one of the videos posted below.
This highlights the critical need for comprehensive financial assurance regulation, which is being discussed at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in January and February of 2022. Public comment opportunities are scheduled and information on that can be found in this previous blog post.
The residents who live in the vicinity of the oil and gas wells in northern Larimer County — such as the Hearthfire neighborhood and County Road 13 — know all too well all about leaking tanks, foul odors and unsafe air pollution; and finally this attracted some media attention. The Larimer Alliance is thankful for this story in the Coloradodoan that was published December 6, 2021:
It was certainly a great effort by the reporter Jacy Marmaduke, the people she interviewed, and especially the videographic work by Earthworks’ Andrew Klooster.
As Ms Marmaduke accurately described, existing oil and gas wells and transmission facilities have fallen through the cracks of industry regulations. Even though SB-181, the 2019 law that dramatically reformed how oil and gas is regulated, and empowered local city and county authorities, in theory, to write their own regulations about oil and gas operations, these have only applied to new wells — leaving existing operations to continue to be regulated by the state. This has come as quite the disappointment of local residents who were hoping for some help and relief from the continuing air pollution.
As we’ve come to find out, when existing tanks start leaking, the state regulators have been slow to react; as the hapless residents having to endure the foul air have found out. It has taken months of effort by local residents complaining to the authorities responsible, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, to get them to inspect the sites.
Unfortunately, it will likely take many more months of efforts by citizens calling out for redress to fix the problem. Please show your support by either commenting here, sending your thanks to the Coloradoan for the above story, or contacting your city and county offices to express your concerns.