I know that being in charge of fixing our air pollution problem here in the must be a difficult job. And I know that the oil and gas industry has long been a strong political force in Colorado. I get that.
But when I learned that the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) has had a backlog of air permits dating to back over a decade ago, I was incredulous. Applications that have not been processed since they were made over ten years ago? How is that even possible? And does this mean that the original polluters have simply been allowed to continue polluting without a permit?
However incredulous this may seem, it was nonetheless reported on in this recent story in the Colorado Sun on December 16, 2022:
This lapse by a critical regulatory agency to perform its crucial role in protecting our air quality has not gone unnoticed — and has been a serious enough lapse to get them sued. And to then lose the lawsuit, since the Adams county judge agreed with the plaintiff, the Wildearth Guardians. As the director, Jeremy Nichols, noted, the APCD seems to “just let polluters run the roost and systematically it doesn’t seem like things are changing.” This does not inspire confidence that the agency’s staff is acting in the public’s interest — and that it has not been doing so for quite a while.
But the APCD is not the only culprit. In fact, the entire O&G regulatory framework under the Polis administration has a “light touch”, shall we say, when it comes to making industry comply with environmental law. This has been described in gruesome detail in this article by longtime activist and knowledgeable commentator Phil Doe, published in CounterPunch on December 9, 2022:
As the article makes clear, the other major regulatory body, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), more or less opens the door to industry “bottom feeders” to invade our neighborhoods and poison us. And this will continue until we, the people, start speaking up, making our voices heard, and demanding real regulatory enforcement.