Here is a link to a Denver Post story on new Colorado rules..the reason I’m posting it (other than I suspect oil and gas is not covered well in other places) is to “catch people doing something right.” It seems like a great environmental step forward, so I would like to give a shout-out to the environmental groups who worked on this (assuming as always, that this is reported accurately).
Environment groups, led by the Environmental Defense Fund, helped craft the proposed rules.
“First in the nation, direct regulation of methane from oil and gas production facilities is a big, exciting step forward,” Conservation Colorado director Pete Maysmith said.
Below is the description of the draft regulations.
State health officials rolled out groundbreaking rules for the oil and gas industry Monday to address worsening air pollution, including a requirement that companies control emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, linked to climate change.
The rules would force companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emit.
This would cut overall air pollution by 92,000 tons a year — roughly equivalent to taking every car in the state off the road for a year, state health chief Larry Wolk said. Such reductions could help bring Colorado’s heavily populated Front Range, where smog and ozone are on the rise, back into compliance with federal air quality standards.
No state has adopted rules directly limiting methane emitted by oil and gas operations. Federal government and United Nations authorities are developing rules to try to reduce such emissions because they are a large factor in global warming.
“These are going to amount to the very best air quality regulations in the country,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
He credited executives from Anadarko, Encana and Noble Energy — the state’s largest producers — for compromising and helping minimize environmental harm from drilling before the cost implications are fully known.
“They understand it is a shared responsibility,” he said, “and they have really stepped up.”
Under the rules, companies would have to:
• Detect leaks from tanks, pipelines, wells and other facilities using devices such as infrared cameras.
• Inspect for leaks at least once a month at large facilities and plug leaks.
• Adhere to more stringent limits on emissions from equipment near where people live and play.
• Use flare devices to burn off emissions from facilities not connected to pipelines.
Noble Vice President Ted Brown said the prescribed practices are “the right thing to do” but added that “it’s a tough rule.”
He and counterparts from Anadarko and Encana said they support the proposed rules as a way to operate more safely and build public trust.
“Regulatory certainty is important to the company, and doing the right thing also is important to the company,” Encana’s Lem Smith said. Reducing industry air pollution will bring a “quantifiable environmental benefit.”