(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Colorado stands to become the first state to impose regulations on the sometimes copious amounts of methane that leaks during all stages of natural gas development and production. Methane is a super potent greenhouse gas, contributing to climate change which in turn increases the likelihood and severity of extreme weather events from super fires to thousand year floods, from extreme cold to deadly heat.
Now the silly pundits over at Fox News like to pretend that cold in the Winter means climate change is not happening, or that environmentalists are trying to fool America by referring to it as such rather than as Global Warming.
Global warming, global weirding, and climate change are different terms that describe related parts of what is happening right now to our planet—Lifeship Earth.
Not so long ago the Natural gas industry loved talking about climate change, presumably because it was seen as a way to sell more of their product.
— Tisha Schuller (@tishaschuller) August 15, 2013
That was Then, This is Now
That was almost a year ago, before all the talk of regulating methane leakage and a deal hammered out to address this serious issue between some environmental groups, the State of Colorado, and three major natural gas developers operating in their Colorado energy colony: Canadian giant EnCana, and Texas-based Noble and Anadarko.
The damaging, dangerous and sometimes debilitating impacts from oil and gas development has long been a battle in the hinterlands, which was mostly ignored at the State House. But once the fracking wars hit the Front Range people and politicians suddenly took some notice. Now concerns over all aspects of fracking, drilling and development have exploded onto the scene like a poorly sealed wellhead in a Pennsylvania shale field.
And now that the Colorado Oil and Gas industry is being asked to actually DO SOMETHING about their out-sized contribution to greenhouse gas emission– rather than just benefitting from the need to address climate change– they have flip flopped.
Joined by a few majors like Chevron and ExxonMobil, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association—headed up by Tisha ‘I Will Act on Climate’ Schuller—has suddenly decided there is no need to act after all. More studies perhaps on this whole ozone thing? Why bother stopping pollution now (on the Western Slope) when we have not yet fouled up the air, let’s wait until we do! And why should old equipment that has not yet been shown to be leaking methane need tested at all? This is the line being taken by these scions to the world’s richest industry. It might actually cost almost 0.5% in profit to do so!
You May Think I'm Cheap, But It Had Melted Cheese…
I had pizza last night and I understand it regularly ranks as among America’s favorite food. Some significant percentage of American men eat pizza every day according to one survey. And all manner of astroturf firms have popped up spending cash on slick PR with pictures of pretty places no well would ever go, telling lies (like the need to use water from, well water sources, is a myth), and generally sowing confusion about the safety of fracking.
But then something happens, an old badly plugged well gets frack hit and sends toxic spew into the shared environment. Or a well explodes into flames, raging for days, and requiring a specialized team flown in from a thousands of miles distant to control. Or the CEO of the world’s richest energy company decides that ‘Fracking is Fine for Thee but not for Me’ and all that external affairs money evaporates like VOCs on a hot day into a big, choking cloud of nonsense.
The very companies pledging they are not part of the problem and thus need no such rules to protect public health and the environment—firms like Chevron or ExxonMobil—are engaged in a smoke and mirrors campaign: look over here! (Not over there).
Even as wells explode (have a free pizza!) and their CEOs file suits to block fracking near their own homes (wanting to preserve the rural character, and worried about the decline in property values). Just as the primary lobbyist organization in the state, COGA, reveals its inherently duplicitous nature.
So here is the question: What will the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission do? Will it listen to Coloradans that turned out in overwhelming numbers to ask that they Act for Climate (and strong statewide air quality rules), or can it be distracted with coupons and lies?