DENVER — Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 — Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined today by representatives from the environmental community, the energy industry and state agencies to discuss the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission’s recent approval of comprehensive changes to rules governing oil and gas activities in the state.
The new rules include the nation’s first-ever regulations designed to detect and reduce methane emissions.
“All Coloradans deserve a healthy economy and a healthy environment, and we’ve taken yet another critical move to help make sure that Colorado will continue to have both. The new rules approved by Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission, after taking input from varied and often conflicting interests, will ensure Colorado has the cleanest and safest oil and gas industry in the country and help preserve jobs,” Hickenlooper said. “We want to thank the environmental community, the energy industry and our state agencies for working together so hard to take this significant step forward.
“We’re fortunate to live in this beautiful, vibrant state. We enjoy it every day, and we don’t for one second take it for granted. It’s collaborative efforts like this, the result of everyone working together, that will help ensure Colorado’s tomorrow is even brighter than today.”
Representatives from the environmental community, the energy industry and state agencies at the press conference today included: Fred Krupp from the Environmental Defense Fund; Pete Maysmith from Conservation Colorado; Ted Brown from Noble Energy; Craig Walters from Anadarko; Angie Binder from Encana; Dr. Larry Wolk from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE); and Gerald Nelson, an economist from Grand Junction.
The new Oil and Gas Emission Rules were adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The regulations resulted from the governor’s calls for further action to minimize potential negative air quality impacts associated with oil and gas development.
The rules continue Colorado’s leadership in ensuring responsible development under the most stringent and protective standards in the country. A coalition of environmental and industry interests worked with the administration on the rules. Highlights of the rules include:
The most comprehensive leak detection and repair program for oil and gas facilities in the country.
Regulation of a range of hydrocarbon emissions that can contribute to harmful ozone formation as well as climate change. The rules include first-in-the-nation provisions to reduce methane emissions.
Implementation of the rules will reduce more than 92,000 tons per year of volatile organic compound emissions. VOC emissions contribute to ground level ozone that has adverse impacts upon public health and environment, including increased asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Implementation of the rules also will reduce of more than 60,000 tons per year of methane emissions. As a natural gas, methane provides a clean and affordable domestic energy source. But when it leaks or vents to the atmosphere, it is a potent greenhouse gas.
Expanded control and inspection requirements for storage, including a first-in-the-nation standard to ensure emissions from tanks are captured and routed to the required control devices.
Expands ozone non-attainment area requirements for auto-igniters and low bleed pneumatics to the rest of the state
Require no-bleed (zero emission) pneumatics where electricity is available (in lieu of using gas to actuate pneumatic)
Require gas stream at well production facilities either be connected to a pipeline or routed to a control device from the date of first production.
Require more stringent control requirements for glycol dehydrators.
Require use of best management practices to minimize the need for – and emissions from – well maintenance.
Many operators will use infrared (IR) cameras, which allow people to see emissions that otherwise would be invisible to the naked eye. Colorado obtained IR cameras for CDPHE and the Department of Natural Resources inspectors last year. They are an effective tool in identifying leaking equipment and reducing pollution.
Comprehensive recordkeeping and reporting requirements to help ensure transparent and accurate information.
Adoption of federal oil and gas standards that complement the state-specific rules.
The unofficial draft of the rules now will be sent to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office for publication, prior to the rules becoming effective in the spring. Click on the highlighted “Regulations 3, 6 & 7” to view the complete regulations.