Oil and gas operators must have equipment to catch and cut down on methane leaks. That’s part of new air quality requirements chosen yesterday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Colorado is the first state in the nation to require drilling companies to monitor and prevent methane air pollution.
The health department’s decision came after days of testimony, some from Western Slope residents and representatives of local governments, groups, and operators. That included Kirby Winn. He’s the Oil and Gas Liaison for Garfield County. He said a consortium of counties with drilling suggested some modifications to the rules… but supported the overall idea saying, “The energy producing attainment counties are categorically in stronger of regulation of oil and gas emissions. Period.”
Jannette Whitcomb is with the City of Aspen’s Environmental Health Department, and spoke in favor of the rules. She said during testimony, "Given Aspen’s economic dependence on a stable climate, and methane’s significant heat trapping potential, The City of Aspen supports the State of Colorado's effort to quantify and reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.”
The new rules were originally drawn up with a collaboration of major oil and gas companies and environmental groups; some of the state's more powerful drilling trade groups voiced concern when the rules were approved.