Recording of March 16 Webinar “Northern Colorado Air Quality”

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.

See this link to a YouTube recording of the webinar, which was a resounding success: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfuViYOE940

Sign on to our petition calling on the City of Fort Collins and Larimer County to establish comprehensive 2/7 real-time air quality monitoring: https://secure.ngpvan.com/7UocbEb5yE–XV1viRSpNQ2https://secure.ngpvan.com/7UocbEb5yE–XV1viRSpNQ2

Suncor Permits Are Renewed by APCD: How to Commit a Legal Crime

On February 15, the state approved the permit renewal for the Suncor refinery in Commerce City. Clues as to how they were able to justify this decision can be found in the Responses from APCD to Public Comment regarding Suncor.

The lawyers at the APCD have been busy. Their response to Earthjustice is a 103 page report! I found that a little intimidating (which seems to be part of the game we are playing) so I pulled up the response to Commerce City and quickly scanned through the 16 page document. It is a case book example of how legal complexities can be used to obfuscate moral imperatives and excuse regulatory agencies of all accountability. If I were living in the neighborhoods around Suncor, I would be devastated. For many of those people this permit renewal will prove to be a death sentence.

The APCD states repeatedly that the only purpose of the permit is “to improve compliance by requiring recordkeeping, monitoring, reporting and annual compliance certifications.” The implication being that the APCD has no legal authority to shut down the plant. But then who on earth does?

In 2019, the Permanent People’s Tribunal came to following conclusion in their hearings regarding the fracking industry, “The mega-corporations, more wealthy than many nation-states and seen almost universally…as essential ‘growth machines’ providing ‘development,’ have gained a dominant position vis-à-vis states…In effect, they have established a new form of sovereignty or quasi-sovereignty. They do not derive sovereignty from the people nor do they exercise their power on behalf of the people. Rather they operate, according to law, in the interests of the corporation and its major shareholders. Too often this means they are in conflict with the interests of the citizenry and nature, even of the governments who are beholden to them.” 1

Enforcement is primarily dependent on self-reporting from Suncor with the addition of annual inspections and performance test oversight by the state. Unfortunately, we all know how effective “self-reporting” is, or rather isn’t.

A request by Commerce City for increased transparency in reporting elicited the following patronizing response, “While the Division understands that information regarding the Suncor facility is not always easy to understand, many of the reports have specific requirements for what must be reported and legal documents, such as Compliance Orders on Consent (COCs), cannot always be simplified.”


Although there are plans for fence line monitoring to be installed, the response to other forms of community monitoring was discouraging, “Conducting air monitoring in the community may certainly provide useful information but there is no ability under the Title V permit regulations to include new requirements to conduct community air monitoring.”


And it appears that the primary purpose of the fence line monitoring is limited to providing better communications systems in order to let people know when the chronic exposure to airborne toxins to which they are regularly subjected has unexpectedly increased.


The conclusion of the report states that, “The Division is bound by the permitting requirements in Colorado Regulations. The Division is incorporating comments when it is legally appropriate to do so. Unfortunately, there are no provisions under the Title V permitting regulations that allow the addition of many of Commerce City’s suggestions.”


The translation of this statement is that it is legally appropriate to poison people in and around their homes.

Gayla Maxwell Martinez

1 Ed. Kerns, Thomas A. and Moore, Kathleen Dean (2021). Bearing Witness: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change, p. 141.

Larimer County manager sends message to COGCC about Prospect Energy

Today the Larimer Alliance learned that the Larimer County Community Director sent a letter to the COGCC regarding Prospect Energy, requesting that Prospect submit a Form 2A (location application for oil and gas operations) because the recompletions (redrilling the wells to a different formation) of 3 wells Prospect applied for last year are considered to be a significant change to the current operations. Prospect had originally applied only for drilling permits to drill to a different formation for the 3 existing wells.

A letter was also sent to Prospect Energy asking Prospect to comply with County oil and gas regulations.

The two letters are attached to this post.

The 41 page letter to the COGCC begins by stressing the proximity of the Prospect wells to residences (290 feet to the closest, and 22 homes within 1,000 feet), how this is in an Urban Mitigation Area, and is a “disproportionately impacted community”…and goes on from there, requesting the COGCC grant the request for a “Form 2A” review. The upshot seems to be, if granted, this will result in a delay and extra cost to Prospect…but a greater emphasis on proceeding safely, thereby increasing the chances that residents are not going to get exposed to more harmful pollution from unsafe operations — which Prospect has been known to do in the recent past.

COGCC-Letter-re-Prospect-Energy-Feb-9-2022

Prospect-Energy-Letter-Feb-9-2022

Larimer Alliance Blog