UPCOMING WEBINAR JUNE 15 ON AIR QUALITY, PRESENTED BY LARIMER ALLIANCE AND COLORADO RISING

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Wednesday, June 15 at 6:00 PM

Northern Colorado Air Quality: What Can We Do?

Second in a series of webinars brought to you by

The Larimer Alliance and Colorado Rising

In March, we presented the first in this ongoing series discussing air quality issues along Northern Colorado’s Front Range. In that session, experts detailed the nature of our poor air quality, with discussions of different ways of monitoring it and how it affects everyone’s health. You can view a recording of that informative session at this link. 

A It’s no secret that we have serious issues with air quality in our region, as noted by both the American Lung Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Larimer Alliance and Colorado Rising will once more host an online webinar on Wednesday, June 15, at 6:00 PM. We’ll highlight the nature of our poor air quality and what is being done to get a handle on it. We will feature the following speakers to address the ramifications of monitoring air quality and the advocacy for improved enforcement of relevant regulations:

  • Andrew Klooster: Colorado Field Advocate with Earthworks, and Certified Optical Gas Imaging Thermographer, Andrew uses industry-standard FLIR brand optical gas imaging cameras to document pollution not visible to the naked eye from oil and gas facilities. His field observations and videos of oil and gas operations in Colorado have been seen as part of testimony to state and local regulatory agencies, and have been featured recently in several news stories centered on some particularly problematic facilities.
  • Christiaan Van Woudenberg: As a former Trustee for the Town of Erie, Christiaan was instrumental in establishing a comprehensive air quality monitoring network in Erie to track emissions from local oil and gas sites, as well as regional air quality issues stemming from operations in the rest of Weld County. He is now focused on building an air quality monitoring application to aggregate these data and make them usable for residents across Colorado with a focus on disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Mike Foote: Mike served in the Colorado State Legislature for eight years, six as a State Representative, and two as a State Senator, where he was a key sponsor of Senate Bill 19-181, which altered the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. An attorney for twenty years, Mike is currently operating a public-interest law firm focused on environmental and energy issues, serving individuals, communities, and non-profits working in this complex field.

Following their presentations, our speakers will join in a panel discussion to discuss how to more effectively utilize the data for community alerts and potential enforcement action, as well as to guide future legislative initiatives to continue to meet this challenge. Included in this panel will be:

  • Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally.
  • Fort Collins City Council Member Tricia Canonico.
  • Broomfield City Council Member Laurie Anderson
  • Noted atmospheric scientist Detlev Helmig

The panel and audience will have the opportunity to raise questions, propose suggested action, and follow through on existing initiatives, such as:

Register for this air quality webinar

At this convenient link

   

For all you do, our thanks!

 

Or if you prefer, mail checks made out to Larimer Alliance to

401 E. Prospect Rd.  Fort Collins, CO 80525 

www.larimeralliance.org  www.corising.org

Check out relevant events on our Calendar Page!

DEAR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: WE HAVE THE POWER!

Inspired by the May/June newsletter from the Poudre Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club, I sent the following email to our Larimer County Commissioners. Why? Because I, and the rest of the Larimer Alliance, are of the fervent belief that the Commisioners HAVE NOT BEEN ENFORCING THE LAW as written in SB-181. It seems that the Commissioners have been under the impression that they do not have the legal authority to regulate existing O&G operations — this is emphatically not the case, in our humble opinion!

See my email below for my reasons why:

Dear Commissioner Kefalas, 

Dear Commissioner Stephens, 

Dear Commissioner Shadduck-McNally: 

I would like to call your attention to the May/June newsletter of the Poudre Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club (attached). 

In there, it asserts, on sound legal grounds, that our county administrators have full authority under SB-181 to regulate existing oil and gas operations — no matter how long they have been in existence. 

That being the case, I would urge the commissioners to take stronger action to protect county residents from existing operations, such as longtime leaky tanks in northern Fort Collins belonging to Prospect Energy. For far too long, this operator has been getting by on inadequate repairs and flimsy excuses, while all the while continuing to expose local residents to the poisonous fumes escaping from them, and fouling the ambient environment. 

Just read/watch the first hand experience of Von Bortz, who lives in enough proximity of the Krause facility to suffer from its air pollution:

 Oil company hasn’t replaced leaking tanks near Fort Collins despite months of complaints

I hope the commissioners will take this suggestion in a positive manner, and know that we, the citizens of Larimer County, are only trying to enforce SB-181 in the spirit and letter of the law in which it as written and intended — and not reinterpreted in some way to twist it to protect the oil and gas industry. 

Sincerely, 

–​ Rick​

Rick Casey

webmaster: larimeralliance.org, larimerallianceblog.org, focosustainability.org, colivableclimate.org, ncalf.org

Loveland Rally Against McWhinney Fracking Showed Great Community Spirit!

Despite a windy and chilly day, the “Keep Centerra Beautiful” rally was well attended, well organized and went on for hours. It showed there is real community spirit behind the movement to stop the McWhinney plan to drill at two fracking sites in Loveland.

Colorado Rising had organized and advertised the event, which the Larimer Alliance also helped to promote. The location was actually in Veterans Park, which is across from Lake Loveland, and the well known Loveland Heart sculpture on the north side of Eisenhower Boulevard. This was their nice graphic about it:

Colorado Rising’s graphic for the April 23, 2022 rally

The event was structured around a series of speakers that included elected government representatives, a doctor from Physicians for Social Responsibility, a nationwide nonprofit, members of Colorado Rising, our spokesperson from Larimer Alliance (Ed Behan), and several “affected residents.” There was also music, from a guitarist accompanied by a singer (though I failed to get their names).

First I helped Ed set up the Larimer Alliance table:

Ed and Keith man the Larimer Alliance table

As the crowd slowly started to gather, a musician played and sang:

A number of signs had been posted on the fence facing the busy traffic along Eisenhower Boulevard:

Protest signs along the road

The speakers got started with a prayer and invocation from Colorado Rising organizer Harmony Cummings about how the event was occurring on stolen land where the Arapaho and Ute tribes used to live, and then led off with a yoga breathing exercise:

Our first speaker leading us in a yoga stretch

Meanwhile, other protesters waved their signs at passing cars — some of which would honk their horns in support:

Waving signs at passing traffic

Soon after the starting time at 11am, a small crowd had started to gather. As you can tell from how people are bundled up, there was a stiff, chilly wind that kept up through the day, with whitecaps on Lake Loveland:

A small but spirited crowd began to gather…

This one visitor to the Larimer Alliance table shared her pet tortoise, Tiki, and their protest sign — small in size, big in heart:

The protest of Tiki, the tortoise

Another animal protester shared their sign:

Dogs can protest too!

First to speak was Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally:

Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally speaks at The Keep Centerra Beautiful rally

Commissioner Shadduck-McNally spoke powerfully and eloquently about the need for local governments to use their legal authority to regulate oil and gas operations, and for we citizens to continue to attend meetings, and “ask the hard questions” of their elected representatives. The crowd repeatedly applauded during her short speech, and gave her a resounding closing applause. It was a decidedly pro-community, pro-safety and pro-healthy environment stance.

Next to speak was a member of the Loveland city council, Andrea Samson:

Loveland city council member Andrea Samson addresses the rally

Councilmember Andrea Samson likewise asserted that local governments have the right — and the duty! — to protect the health, safety and environmental quality of their communities from the oil and gas industry. Reciting every other Loveland city council member by name and their respective wards, she exhorted Loveland residents to call up, write to or meet with their council representative, and demand that they take action on the McWhinney fracking proposal. The decision to allow the proposal to go forward or not rests entirely with the Loveland council; so this is why Loveland residents need to let their will known to them.

Next in the line of elected representatives to speak was Christiaan van Woudenberg:

Erie Trustee Christiaan van Woudenberg addresses the crowd

Mr van Woudenberg has been on the Erie Board of Trustees (their version of a city council) for four years, and was recently reelected to another term. He and his family have resided in Erie for over a decade, and his progressive views on how Erie should develop in a sustainable manner are well known. Christiaan was outspoken in his support for stopping residential drilling of any new fracking wells, and also called out to those in the crowd to “get engaged” and speak to their elected representatives — repeatedly! He also got a rousing round of applause for his impassioned delivery.

By now the crowd had grown to around 75 folks or so, as shown here:

The crowd hears from “an affected resident”

At the microphone is “an affected resident”, who identified as Ramone, and lives near where one of the proposed Centerra drilling sites could go in. He was rather upset at the prospect, and made it quite clear he did not want such a destructive and polluting operation be allowed to happen so close to residential neighborhoods.

Next up was Sandra Duggan, one of the organizers with Colorado Rising:

Colorado Rising organizer Sandra Duggan

She is also an Erie resident, and shared her personal story — or horror story, as it came across — of having to endure the nightmare of a fracking operation being conducted in proximity of her family’s home. The suffering was inflicted in multiple ways: by the inescapable noise of drilling rigs, generators and trucks, the blazing light panels that are kept on 24×7 during the drilling and fracking phases, and then the insidious air pollution, which could be tainted with who knows what VOCs and methane, besides the diesel fumes produced by the trucks and generators. She is now pregnant with her first child, and has real fears about the endocrine disruption that can occur, and potentially even transmitted to her baby. In an effort to protect themselves, her family has installed a thousand dollars worth of air filtering equipment in their home. Her moving story was painful to hear.

The next “afflicted resident” to speak was Kathy Kemper, who actually lives about 450 feet from the Knight Pad drilling site near Union Reservoir:

An afflicted resident, Kathy, shares her story

Kathy minced no words in her own “horror story” of how awful it is to have live just a few hundred feet from a massive fracking site. Her family’s quality of life that they had sought on their six acre property has been destroyed. Despite the operator’s placement of “sound barrier walls” around the perimeter of the operation, they still endured sleepless nights from the noise. The paintings on their walls would tremble from the vibrations of passing trucks. Cracks have appeared in their walls. One of their doors can no longer be closed since the door framed has skewed by the vibrations coming through the earth. Cathy was damn mad, and wanted the crowd to get damn mad with her, and then do something about it through their government.

Following Kathy, another organizer from Colorado Rising spoke next, Harmony Cummings:

Colorado Rising organizer Harmony Cummings shares her story

She shared that she had worked in the oil industry for eight years, in North Dakota, where the large Bakken fracked oil fields are located. She saw close up the industry does not care in the least for its environmental destruction, or how much it damages the health of people in the area affected by their activity, or even for the health and safety of its own workers — not to mention the effect the industry has on global warming. Witnessing this callous indifference to its life threatening actions, much less its refusal to take responsibility for global warming, motivated her to leave the industry, and to seek out an activist organization like Colorado Rising, so she could feel like she was past of the solution, not part of the problem.

Now to address the rally was an expert in human health: Dr. Cory Carroll, who was there representing Physicians for Social Responsibility, PSR (psr.org).

Dr Cory Corrall speaks to the many health hazards from fracking

He recounted stories of his own patients in the Fort Collins area, who if they describe any unusual symptoms, his first question is to ask if they know if they live near any oil and gas operations. He has had patients with unusual symptoms that defy diagnosis — other than a common characteristic being that they lived in proximity to an O&G operation. Brandishing the thick hardcopy book in the air, Dr. Carroll said the annual compendium from the PSR from the latest report about the dangers of fracking. (You can find out more about this annually updated report by clicking on this link.) This annal report, now in its 7th year, gets updated each year with new evidence of the medical dangers from fracking; it now contains over 2,000 abstracts of peer reviewed articles, reports, and studies. If you are ever challenged by anyone who wants some proof that fracking is dangerous, just show them this report!

Finally, wrapping up the lineup was the spokesperson for the Larimer Alliance, Ed Behan:

Ed Behan with the Larimer Alliance

Ed delivered a concise history of how the Larimer Alliance has been focused on the political side of the issue, since forming in summer 2019 for the purpose of seeing the proper implementation of the SB-181 in Larimer County. This was the historic law passed in May 2019 that, supposedly, gave local communities, i.e. our city councils and county commissioners, the legal power equal to the state to regulate oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions. Since I have been with the Alliance since they were formed as well, I am all too familiar with this story as well.

When the Alliance was formed, we decided that we needed to focus on the county level for an effective implementation of this new law — though city governments also have this power, if (and it’s a big if) they choose to use it. In the previous year, 2018, a lone Democrat, John Kefalas, had been elected to the three person board of Larimer County Commissioners. The other two Republican commissioners had both been there for nearly three terms (or twelve years!). As we might have expected, the ensuing struggle played out along party lines, with the two Republican commissioners outvoting the lone Democrat with just about a 100 per cent record. So in that first year after SB-181, the commissioners empowered an oil and gas “task force” to come up with recommendations; and they basically changed nothing. This is well documented on our website, on this page Past commentary on County O&G Regs. We testified many times at county commissioner public meetings to express our concerns, largely to no avail (other than the satisfaction of having packed the public record.)

So, when the election year of 2020 turned out the two male term-limited Republican commissioners, and elected two female Democratic commissioners, our hopes were raised. A new task force came up with stronger regulations, though still not as strong as we would like. And so we are still pushing the commissioners on this board to take action, and use their power to protect us from this destructive and predatory industry. Our current focus is on getting a real time, continuous air quality monitoring system, such as exists in Boulder, Longmont, Erie and Broomfield; and enjoying working with Colorado Rising on that project.

Here are some other nice pictures expressing the community spirit that was on grand display at the rally:

Dear Loveland city council: Just Say No to McWhinney!

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

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