Moms Clean Air Force Calls for Stronger Protections from Oil and Gas Air Pollution
December 17, 2019
Moms Clean Air Force gave oral testimony on Monday to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) at a public hearing in Loveland. Representatives from the organization urged the agency to adopt strong new statewide standards to protect families and communities from oil and gas methane and ozone smog pollution. At a time when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to rollback federal methane rules, it is crucial that Colorado continues their leadership and strengthens the protections for families in the state from oil and gas pollution.
The public hearing in Loveland was the third and final hearing about these standards. Hearings were also held earlier this month in Rifle and Durango in response to Senate Bill, 19-181 signed into law by Governor Polis in April. The bill directs the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to minimize air pollution from oil and gas facilities.
After the public comment hearing in Loveland, the Colorado chapter of Moms Clean Air Force issued the following statements:
“As a mother living with oil and gas operations in my community, I am deeply concerned about the air pollution that puts my children’s health and safety at risk,” said Laurie Anderson, Colorado Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force who lives in Broomfield County. “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s November 2019 study made it clear that those living closest to oil and gas wells are at higher risk of health impacts. This is why the commission should also include tighter monitoring and stronger leak detection and repair requirements to protect children who live, learn, and play near oil and gas facilities. It is essential that communities like mine get the strongest methane protections to help clean up the air while at the same time reducing climate pollution,” said Laurie Anderson.
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is responsible for about 25 percent of the global warming we are experiencing today. With over 50,000 active oil and gas facilities in the state, the oil and gas industry is a significant source of methane pollution in Colorado.
“Colorado is already suffering the devastating effects of the climate crisis,” said Shaina Oliver, who is a Moms Clean Air Force Field Organizer living with her four children in Denver. Oliver is a Native American member of the Navajo nation. “More than a third of the snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has disappeared since 1982. My people rely on the snowpack in the mountains to supply water to the Colorado River, which provides water to my tribe south of Colorado.This river is connected to the Navajo people culturally and traditionally and is a part of our oral history. In addition, last year, Denver saw less rainfall than Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona, coupled with more intense wildfire seasons and devastating forest fires. The Air Quality Control Commission now has an opportunity with strong rulemaking to clean up methane pollution contributing to climate change,” said Oliver.
Though progress has been made in cutting the amount of methane and ozone-forming air pollutants emitted by the oil and gas industry, Colorado’s Front Range is still failing to meet federal ozone standards, and the state still has a methane pollution problem.
“Oil and gas air pollution contributes to the formation of ground level ozone, or smog, and threatens the health of people living in the Front Range and across the state,” said Elizabeth Brandt, Moms Clean Air Force Field Manager, who also testified at the Loveland hearing. “Last summer, there were multiple Ozone Alert days on the Front Range with children, the elderly, and those with asthma warned to stay inside because of poor air quality. Colorado’s families have a right to live in a clean environment and breathe clean air. Moms Clean Air Force’s over 43,000 members in Colorado want the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to act boldly and swiftly to adopt a more protective oil and gas air pollution standards that are essential to fighting climate change—and safeguarding the health and future of our children,” said Brandt.
On December 17-19, the Commission will meet in Denver to consider recommendations from the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division to reduce methane and ozone emissions from oil and gas operations around the state. For more information about how Colorado is impacted by oil and gas pollution please see this blog post Climate Change Threatens Colorado. For more information on how Moms Clean Air Force in Colorado is fighting methane and climate change visit the Colorado chapter website here.
About Moms Clean Air Force: Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over one million moms—and dads—working together to fight air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate. For more information, go to http://www.momscleanairforce.org/or follow us on Twitter @CleanAirMoms, Instagram @cleanairmoms, or Facebook.