Colorado Oil and Gas Association Crying Wolf Again?

Governor Hickenlooper recently announced new rules for the oil and gas industry to address Colorado’s growing pollution problem. If the rules are passed, they’ll require that the oil and gas industry capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and greenhouse gas methane – which is linked to climate change.

The Denver Post reports that “…the oil and gas industry has become Colorado’s largest source of toxic pollutants called volatile organic compounds, as well as the greenhouse gas methane, linked to climate change, and hazardous chemicals including cancer-causing benzene.”

Yet, this fact hasn’t stopped some industry players from complaining about the new rules and it’s already been reported that the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and the Colorado Petroleum Association are likely to oppose the rules.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association were not standing behind Hickenlooper on Monday; both groups are likely to fight the proposal as it goes forward, knowing that it could set a precedent for other states to tackle methane emissions if it is adopted as currently written. –  KDVR FOX 31, 11/18/13

This isn’t the first time that the oil and gas industry has complained or opposed new rules to protect Coloradan’s water, public health and communities. The oil and gas industry railed against the rules passed in 2008, which brought more balance to oil and gas development – going so far as to sue the state. The industry claimed that the 2008 rules would drive them out of business and damage Colorado’s economy, but the exact opposite happened.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s (COGA) John Swartout called the 2008 rules “…a sad day for Colorado’s economic well-being.”  Yet, since 2010, oil and gas production in Colorado has spiked. In fact, Colorado oil production broke a 50 year record in 2012 and is on pace to top that record in 2013.

Industry executives also argued that new rules would make it harder to operate in Colorado and would divert investments to other, more favorable areas. Just this past summer, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. announced their plans to expand drilling in Colorado to thousands of new locations.

In 2008, COGA claimed the rules were “threatening to the industry”. Conversely, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business found that the oil and gas industry has grown substantially in Colorado over the past five years.

It’s past time for the naysayers in the oil and gas industry to stop crying wolf and to move forward towards finding balance.  Reasonable safeguards for our air and water are essential for protecting our quality of life and building our economy. We think everyone can be on board with that.

2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    US Methane Levels Higher Than Thought

    By Becky Oskin


    US Methane Levels Higher Than Thought



    These maps show (A) two-year averaged methane emissions found in the new study; (B) methane emissions …

    Thanks in large part to gas wells and cow farms, the United States is spewing 50 percent more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than previous estimates have measured, according to a new study.

    For the study, published Monday (Nov. 25) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from universities and government labs fanned out across the United States in 2007 and 2008 and measured levels of methane gas in the air. Though methane breaks down in the atmosphere after only 10 years, faster than carbon dioxide, it's about 30 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat escaping the Earth — the greenhouse effect that leads to global warming.

    Total methane emissions in the United States were 1.5 to 1.7 times higher than amounts previously estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency and by the International Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), respectively, the study found.

  2. Duke Cox says:

    Governor Hickenlooper recently announced new rules for the oil and gas industry

    Well…actually…no he didn't.

    He proposed, along with three companies (out of dozens) some new rules, which, if enacted and enforced, would be very beneficial. Knowing full well that COGA and the CPA are not going to go along with this, he makes the announcement. He needed something to take attention off the results of the "fracking" referenda.

    Governor Frackenlooper is, no doubt, hoping this publicity stunt will take some heat off of him personally, until the middle of the session when most people won't notice the failure of this contrivance. If Stan and Tisha and Hick can work this out between the big producers and the rest of the industry, I will be pleasantly astonished and will be happy to turn criticism into praise…

    I guess we'll have to wait until February to know…

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