Don’t Let Colorado AQCC Pass This Gas!
This Thursday, March 19th the Colorado state Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will be considering whether or not to regulate climate-changing downstream fugitive methane emissions. Right now they’re only hearing from the oil and gas industry. We need them to hear from citizens that care about stabilizing the climate too!
AQCC needs to hear from you NOW!
They will decide Thursday whether downstream fugitive methane warrants further study. If they say no, then this opportunity is lost, perhaps for a long time.
The meeting will begin at 9:00 AM, in the Sabin Room at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South in Denver. This agenda item will likely begin at 9:30 AM. There will be an opportunity for public comment after the staff presentation. Add your name to our petition!
Downstream natural gas is almost pure methane, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Reducing fugitive methane emissions from our natural gas infrastructure is a very modest but cost effective strategy for reducing the climate impacts of our energy system. It can and should be pursued aggressively right now. Last year the AQCC adopted rules to control emissions from upstream operations like oil and gas drilling sites, but the Commission didn’t weigh in on downstream emissions (such as the big compressors used to push gas through transmission pipelines). This is because, historically, air quality regulations have focused on traditional air pollutants common in unprocessed upstream natural gas, and not climate changing gasses like methane.
When the AQCC handed down rules in February, 2014 covering emissions from the drilling site to the natural gas processing facilities, they also directed staff to investigate what measures would be appropriate to take in minimizing downstream fugitive methane emissions. This week staff is reporting back on that investigation. Unfortunately, the information packet that AQCC is receiving (download the PDF here) is almost entirely composed of presentation slides from the American Petroleum Institute, the American Gas Association, and Xcel Energy. Unsurprisingly, these industry players would like to avoid additional scrutiny of their emissions.
We need AQCC to initiate an independent assessment of the emissions control options on the table. We need you to tell AQCC that the regulation of downstream fugitive methane is important, and that it should be explored in more detail, through their own assessment and rule making process.
We need strong oversight of the oil and gas industry throughout the supply chain, and we need to set a precedent of regulating their emissions specifically because of their climate impact. If you wish, in addition to signing our petition, you can also write the AQCC commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also of potential interest at this meeting, the AQCC will be receiving a briefing on the mysterious methane plume that has been observed in the Four Corners area.
Thanks to Public Herald on Flickr for the Creative Commons licensed featured image.