Colorado ahead of the curve on methane, VOC regs
August 28, 2015
With all the worry over the future of coal, residents of Northwest Colorado can breathe a sigh relief knowing the state is ahead of the curve on the Environmental Protection Agency's new methane and volatile organic compound regulations.
"While the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is still in the process of reviewing the EPA's proposed rule, they anticipate it will complement and not interfere with steps Colorado has already taken in striking a balance between the state’s need for a healthy oil and gas industry and resident concern about health, safety and the environment," said Gov. John Hickenlooper in a statement.
Chris Colclasure, planning and policy program manager for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Air Pollution Control Division, said he doesn't think oil and gas developers in the state have much to adapt to under the federal regulations.
"It's certainly easier for the state to implement, because we've got some experience," he said.
Colorado has stricter regulations on leak inspections and requires storage tank emissions to be gauged without taking into account devices that control venting and tank pressure. Colclasure said the federal plan's evaluation of storage tanks looks at emissions after control devices are considered, making it less stringent.
Oil and gas developers must also have a Storage Tank Emission Management Plan, which proves they can operate without venting emissions.
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On the other hand, Colclasure said the EPA regulations contain language about pneumatic pumps that do not exist on the state level.
A joint news release from American Energy Alliance, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Petroleum Association, American Petroleum Institute, Western Energy Alliance and La Plata County Energy Council, took the opportunity to endorse natural gas as a good way to meet the country's emission goals.
According to the release: "The results of increased use of natural gas continues to demonstrate that Colorado can meet the targeted emission reduction goals without disrupting electric supply, while avoiding regressive price impacts to consumers. Natural gas can achieve this in a manner that improves quality of life both environmentally and economically."