Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
EPA challenged on decision to designate polluted region as unclassifiable
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Environmental advocates and the EPA are facing off in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. today over air quality in Utah’s remote Uinta Basin, where ozone levels often exceed standards set to protect human health.
In a weird twist to the case, the fossil fuel industry is claiming that its own air pollution data is of poor quality and unreliable, and shouldn’t be used by the EPA to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area, despite the fact that the area regularly sees some of the highest ozone pollution levels in the country.
At issue in the oral arguments is the EPA’s refusal to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area despite monitoring showing serious air quality degradation in northeastern Utah. The EPA’s decision to designate the area as unclassifiable is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act, according to WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, fracking, oil and gas drilling, ozone, public health, Uinta Basin | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A spreading network of oil and gas drilling rigs has heightened public concern over potential impacts to public health and the environment.
Proposed bills would up fines, reduce perceived conflicts of interest
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With many Colorado residents feeling that Gov. Hickenlooper has tilted the playing field in favor of fossil fuel development, the Colorado General Assembly will begin to explore new laws that could help balance fossil fuel extraction with public health and safety and concerns about impacts to the environment.
House Bill 13-1267 would increase the maximum daily fine for serious accidents from $1,000 to $15,000 per day and set a minimum fine of $5,000 per violation per day for violations that have a significant adverse impact on public health, safety, or welfare, including the environment. It would also repeal the cap on the maximum total fine.
House Bill 12-1269 would make it clear that the primary mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is to make sure that public health and safety and natural resources are adequately protected during the course of fossil fuel development. It also addresses the inherent conflict of interest that currently exists on the commission by prohibiting future commissioners from being employees, officers, or directors of oil and gas companies. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, energy, Environment, fracking, House Bill 1267, House Bill 1268, House Bill 1269, Petroleum industry, public health | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Methane leakage from the gas production fields of northeastern Colorado may be twice as high as previously estimated, according to new research from NOAA.
Energy boom contributes to regional haze problems and potential health impacts
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado officials took another small step to address growing public concerns about the impacts of the state’s energy boom by announcing a $1.3 million study of emissions from oil and gas drilling operations.
According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the study will help provide information about how oil and gas emissions behave, how they travel and their characteristics in areas along the northern Front Range.
A second phase would assess possible health effects using data collected in the first phase. Testimony at this week’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rulemaking hearing reinforced the views of experts for both industry and the conservation community that more and better science is needed related to oil and gas emissions. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air quality, benzene emissions, Colorado, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Environment, methane emissions, oil and gas drilling, public health | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 18, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter. Please click on the image to learn more.
Conservation advocates want 1,000-foot buffer that offers ‘presumptive protection’
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — With no end in sight to Colorado’s fracking boom, state officials are preparing to publish new rules on setbacks and groundwater monitoring — but those rules don’t do enough to protect the health and welfare of residents near gas drilling sites, according to a coalition of conservation groups.
“The state’s proposed change to minimum distances between fracking and homes is to keep current policy virtually unchanged,” said Charlie Montgomery, energy organizer of Conservation Colorado. “The current separation in urban and suburban areas is 350 feet. The state’s proposed separation is 350 feet.”
State officials say they’ve been meeting with stakeholders for several months to develop the proposed new rules. Documents from the stakeholder process are online here. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, business, Colorado, economy, energy, Environment, gas drilling | Tagged: Colorado, fracking, fracking setbacks, hydraulic fracturing, public health | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 5, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New hearing to meet legal requirements for noticing and public comments.
State’s previous approval voided as unlawful
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Residents of southwest Colorado will have their chance to scrutinize plans for the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill in the Paradox Valley later this year at a court-ordered hearing in Montrose County.
The new hearing was scheduled after Denver District Court Judge John McMullen ruled in June that the state’s previous review process was unlawful. Conservation groups and community activists and towns in the area have repeatedly expressed concerns about potential impacts to air and water quality from the proposed mill.
McMullen found that the state had denied the public its right to a formal, adjudicatory hearing and ordered the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to start a new public review process.
“We are pleased that the public will finally get a formal chance to scrutinize this proposal,” said Hilary White, executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance. “As a party in this hearing process, we will continue to ensure that the clean air and clean water of this region are protected.” Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, Energy Fuels, Environment, nuclear energy, Paradox Valley, public health, Sheep Mountain Alliance | Leave a comment »