New air quality rules are necessary 
to protect Grand Valley, West Slope

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Based on the companion guest editorial, it seems that even our County Commissioner, who is a farmer, is throwing agriculture under the bus in favor of oil and gas. Breathing is a pretty important human function, but air quality also impacts crop yields. Both deserve more attention from our elected officials.

Don’t let the environmentalists fool you into believing this is something new and hasn’t been done and therefore needs a regulation to require it.

The oil and gas developers have already been doing this closed system recovery process for years. The process of flow-back and flow testing uses an inline separator to trap gas released from the well while cleaning out the excess sand from a frac operation. Very little gas escapes to the atmosphere and gas is only vented briefly when the returning high velocity sand from a frac could potentially cut through the piping from the well or plug up separator. If a leak develops, The well is immediately shut in by the flowback operators until repairs are made.

Also, drilling rigs have separators on their drilling mud return lines to separate and trap the gas from the drilling mud. This USED TO be flared off to prevent the possibility of an explosion or vented to atmosphere, but improvements have been made in these areas too.

Energy companies do take it upon themselves to contain their petroleum emissions from a well. After all, it’s product and money lost if it gets away.

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