Email Letter: September 13, 2017

We need to hold constructive conversation between oil and gas industry and citizens

Why can’t we move ahead from the same old industry assertions that “oil and gas industry is good for our economy,” “regulations restrict the industry to produce,” and “regulations restrict the industry to hire people,” and have a constructive conversation between industry and the citizens?

Western Colorado Congress is not aware of responsible citizens disagreeing with the first phrase – it is a no-brainer. As to the second, regulations are developed to protect someone or something. Speed limits on the streets of Grand Junction could be considered burdensome to drivers, but are necessary to protect public safety. Our legislators, the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Health and Environment) the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission), and WCC all have indicated that any regulations that are out of date, or are otherwise ineffective, should be considered for elimination. Industry, in this case, Ursa, needs to produce the list of specific ineffective regulations. Regarding the third, it is the tired old scare phrase used since the 1960s and still used by some in industry whenever they are facing something they don’t like. It is equivalent to environmentalists claiming that all industry impacts would be “baby killers.” These phrases are meant to evoke emotion and are rarely, if ever, true. WCC is aware that there are many responsible oil and gas companies in Colorado that do not make these assertions.

Although only implied in the Sept. 27 article, “Senate Prez: Technology is outpacing energy rules,” I assume Senate President Grantham was echoing Ursa’s complaints that are directed at the environmental rules. No person or industry has a right to pollute more than the minimum necessary, nor to create an unhealthy environment, which is codified in our Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Polluting the minimum necessary in practice means operating with “best control technology” with the additional restriction that we cannot pollute beyond the national health standards. That means that our cars, wood-burning stoves, ATVs, the Craig and Hayden power plants, and oil and gas production equipment, etc. are required to have current-technology pollution controls installed and operated properly.

Clean air and water are a public right. Allowing cars, trucks, airplanes, industry, etc. to consume a small amount of our clean air is an allowance from the public in exchange for the product. Installation of current-technology and properly operating emission controls are built into our 1970s environmental laws, not some recent concoction of environmentalists.

RODGER STEEN
Chairman, Western Colorado Congress Oil & Gas Committee
Routt County


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