District Three Candidate Tricia Canonico provided this response to our questionnaire:
1. Have you received, will you accept, or will you refuse to accept campaign contributions from donors and companies from the O&G industry or with strong financial interests in O&G development? If your campaign has already accepted O&G donations will it give them back? Please explain.
** I will not knowingly take contributions from donors advocating for O&G development nor will I accept contributions from the industry. I would be willing to return such donations. I applaud the Council’s recent decision to further restrict donations from LLC’s and political action committees. This is a positive action that will help ensure no group has undue influence on our City races.
2. SB19-181 substantially revised Colorado’s law governing O&G development: establishing clear priority to protect public health, safety, environment, and wildlife resources. SB181 also provides for significant local government authority to regulate O&G development, allowing local governments to increase protection of public health, safety, environment and wildlife resources beyond state minimum standards.
Do you think that Fort Collins should adopt new regulations for O&G development? If yes, what scope of regulations will you advocate the City to adopt?
A substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific research shows significant negative health impacts from close proximity to O&G operations.
Do you support a 2000’ or 2500’ setback from homes, schools & their playgrounds, high occupancy buildings, outdoor recreation areas (such as parks and trails), and water sources from new O&G operations? Please explain.
Fort Collins currently has a reverse setback of 500’ for new residential construction from existing O&G facilities, and allows exceptions for reduced reverse setbacks.
Do you support increasing the reverse setback without exception? Please explain.
** I believe Fort Collins should adopt new regulations for O&G development when there are gaps in SB19-181’s regulations and/or enforcement. I support at minimum a 2000’ setback for new O&G operations. In addition, on Council, I would advocate for stronger noise and air quality monitoring as well. Oil and gas operators should also be required to provide financial assurances to reduce the risk of future orphaned wells and sites.
I support increasing reverse setbacks as well. I’m reluctant to say there should be a hard and fast rule of no exceptions. I would instead support an appeal and variance process that would allow for some appeals.
3. The American Lung Association gives Fort Collins’ air quality an “F” grade, and ranks it the 19th worst out of 229 American cities. NCAR’s FRAPPÉ study found conclusively that O&G emissions are the major driver of unhealthy air quality in the northern Front Range. Emissions from O&G operations also cause significant spikes in pollutants that impact 1) local areas in proximity to O&G sites and facilities, and 2) regional air quality harming entire Front Range communities. A growing number of local governments have undertaken air quality monitoring programs capable of measuring and reporting pollutants in real time, including signature pollutants emitted from O&G operations and facilities.
What do you think Fort Collins should do to address its air quality problem(s)?
Would you support 24/7 monitoring and real-time reporting of air quality and emissions at all O&G sites and facilities in proximity to Fort Collins? Should this monitoring and reporting be paid for by the operator? Please explain.
** I support monitoring and reporting by the operator. New state rules will require oil and gas operators to monitor all new facilities. However, for both new and existing facilities, I support robust air quality monitoring as well as monitoring other aspects of facility compliance. Transparency about monitoring should be an important component of a comprehensive program and real-time reporting may be the best approach. I would also support supplementing monitoring with established action levels that place obligations on sites when certain emission thresholds are exceeded. I support operators paying for the monitoring and reporting about their facilities.
Would you support 24/7 monitoring and real-time reporting of air quality and signature O&G pollutant emissions for addressing regional air quality problems affecting Fort Collins? Should this regional monitoring and reporting be paid for by the O&G industry? Please explain.
** Yes I would support regional monitoring for Ozone and other emissions. I believe emitters should shoulder costs associated with pollution controls, monitoring and regulation. Colorado requires permitting and emissions fees to be paid by O&G industry. If additional monitoring is approved in Fort Collins, I support the City creating a fee structure associated with those costs that should also be paid by Oil & Gas.
Would you support collaboration by Fort Collins with other Front Range communities in taking legal action against polluters responsible for emissions that harm Fort Collins air quality, such as polluters in neighboring counties? Please explain.
** Yes. If polluters are operating outside of regulatory requirements or causing undue harm, legal action may be appropriate. Collaboration with other similarly harmed municipalities in a multi-party action is a reasonable and potentially effective approach.
4. Fort Collins is one of four municipalities that own and govern the Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) which provides electricity to the four municipalities including Fort Collins. In 2019, PRPA committed to achieving 100% clean energy generation by 2030. PRPA recently adopted a plan that includes building and operating a new natural gas-powered turbine around the same time it retires its Rawhide Coal Plant, which will be in conflict with PRPA’s stated commitment to 100% clean energy.
Would you support holding PRPA to the goal of 100% clean energy by 2030? Please explain.
Would you support requiring PRPA to establish and report with interim
targets (such as for 2023, 2025, 2027) for achieving 100% clean energy? Please explain.
** I support PRPA’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2030 and I support establishing and reporting interim targets. I applaud PRPA for currently producing nearly half of the energy delivered to customers from non-carbon resources with the addition of the Roundhouse wind project this past summer. I would like to see PRPA continue to make progress towards its 2030 clean energy generation goal in this manner. However, as PRPA is responsible for delivering reliable electricity to four municipalities it must also be prepared in case it is unable to meet its 2030 goal. I prefer to see a portion of PRPA’s energy produced by a natural gas-powered turbine to electricity generated by the Rawhide Coal Plant.
5. An investment company is advancing a proposal to drill hundreds of wells in northern Larimer County which could negatively impact local residents, air quality, City-owned natural area and wildlife, and the environment in northern Larimer County.
Would you take a strong position for the City to actively oppose this type of O&G development? Please explain.
** I would actively oppose this type of oil and gas development. Larimer County has a critical shortage of affordable and attainable housing. If land is to be developed in our County, affordable and attainable housing should be prioritized so that more of those who work in Fort Collins or Larimer County are also able to afford to live here. Otherwise, I support keeping as much of this undeveloped land as possible as Open Space. Additionally, air quality in Fort Collins is among the worst in the country; more oil and gas drilling would only exacerbate an already serious problem.