CDPHE: Air Quality Control Commission approves first-in-the-nation rules improving monitoring at oil and gas sites, reduces emissions of ozone precursors
REMOTE (Sept. 23): The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission tonight approved new rules that will require emissions monitoring at oil and gas sites during the early stages of operations at new oil and gas wells. The new monitoring program represents the first state regulatory system of its kind in the country.
The commission’s vote was unanimous.
“Today is further proof that Colorado leads the way in regulating emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said John Putnam, director of environmental programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Our mandate is to minimize emissions, and collecting the most accurate possible data is a crucial component of our long-term plan. This new monitoring regime will provide the state and operators with invaluable data on emissions from oil and gas sites, and that will inform our rulemaking as we move forward with this ambitious agenda.”
The new monitoring rules were written under SB19-181, the state’s pioneering oil and gas law. They require operators to monitor emissions during pre-production, which starts with the drilling phase and ends with flowback, and early production activities. The new rules also require operators to report carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.
The new rules also set emissions standards for natural gas-fired reciprocating internal combustion engines equal or greater to 1,000 horsepower. The Air Pollution Control Division estimates that the rules will cut statewide emissions of nitrous oxide, an ozone precursor, by more than 2,300 tons annually. Additional controls on flowback tanks at oil and gas sites will also reduce emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds.
“As a result of today’s vote, Colorado has enhanced emissions monitoring at oil and gas sites, reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and methane and improved our ability to bring the Front Range into attainment with federal ozone pollution standards,” said Garry Kaufman, director of the Air Pollution Control Division. “It’s a good day’s work. But we’re not done — we’re going to build on this step and further enhance air quality monitoring at oil and gas sites, while we continue to push forward on new rules that will protect the public health and environment in Colorado.”