Colorado Mayor and Mom, Christine Berg: “Good Stewardship is Good for Health”

BY ON March 15, 2016

Lafayette, Colorado Mayor, Christine BergThis is the methane rule testimony of Lafayette, Colorado Mayor, Christine Berg:

Hello everyone, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak today, and for all of your work on this rule. My name is Christine Berg. I am the mother of an almost 3 year old, and I live in beautiful Lafayette, Colorado, where I also happen to serve as the city’s Mayor.

As the Mayor, an integral part of my role is good stewardship, stewardship of the city’s coffers, stewardship of our open space and public property, stewardship of our cultural and environmental resources.

Each year, oil and gas companies waste $330 million worth of natural gas (Tweet this) through venting, flaring, and leaks of methane on public and tribal lands. In Colorado alone, taxpayers have lost out on over $36 million in royalties since 2009 due to wasted natural gas on federal lands.

Imagine as an elected official, if I knowingly left $36 million dollars on the table – dollars that could potentially fund services, schools, health care, bridges, roads and other infrastructure improvements. I don’t think I would stay in office very long, nor do I think that would qualify as good stewardship of public resources.

Good Stewardship is Good for Business

  • Colorado broke new ground by becoming the first state in the nation to adopt strong air rules to cut methane waste. Colorado is the case study on how strong methane protections can coexist with a strong economy.
  • Since Colorado put its nationally leading methane rules in place, natural gas production and number of active wells have increased, and the state’s economy as a whole has outpaced national economic indicators. Efforts to reduce methane waste there have proven to be extremely cost effective; cutting methane emissions is among the best deals in the energy industry.
  • Innovation is the key – New methane protections in Colorado have actually created new industries in the state. A recent report from Datu Research ranks Colorado 3rdin the nation for methane mitigation technologies.
  • While Colorado is on track to prevent wasted gas, Colorado taxpayers still lose tens of millions in federal dollars that support important conservation programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the general treasury.
  • Because of Colorado’s leadership, operators in the state are well-positioned to comply with the new standards proposed by BLM.

Good Stewardship is Good for Your Health

  • Along with methane, oil and gas operations spew other toxics into the air — polluting the air we breathe and causing rates of asthma attacks in children to increase. As a mom, I think this may be the most beneficial side of good stewardship, protecting our children’s health and well-being.

Two former BLM directors sent a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget calling for tough new rules on methane emissions. Bob Abbey and Mike Dombeck wrote that the Bureau “has the obligation to the American taxpayer to minimize the waste of public resources and avoid harm to public health and the environment.” That sounds like the definition of good stewardship to me!

The BLM’s proposed Natural Gas Rule is about better air quality, better health outcomes for our children, and providing revenues to positively impact our tribes and communities by not leaving any money on the table.

For me as a mom and a mayor, it’s all about good stewardship.

Thank you.
Christine Berg
Mayor, City of Lafayette


Christine Berg is a mom, and also happens to be the mayor of Lafayette, Colorado. Lafayette is an historic mining town home to a 1 Megawatt solar garden, great outdoor recreation and curbside composting. Her community champions sustainability, but also borders significant oil and gas extraction (with nearly 20,000 oil and gas wells in the adjacent county). Christine advocates that regardless of borders, we all share the same air – our children deserve to have the same protections against air pollution regardless of income, political influence or geography.



TOPICS: Clean Air Rules and Regulations, Colorado, Fracking, Natural Gas, Politics