Colorado’s methane regulations considered to be “gold standard”

Cross Currents, a column by Bill Christopher
Posted 12/12/18

Let’s hear it for Colorado! Recently, the policy question was raised on whether federal government oversight is still needed on rules and regulations pertaining to methane. Given the increased …

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Colorado’s methane regulations considered to be “gold standard”

Posted

Let’s hear it for Colorado! Recently, the policy question was raised on whether federal government oversight is still needed on rules and regulations pertaining to methane. Given the increased drilling and production of oil and natural gas both in Colorado and the nation as well as increased climate change issues, it is a fair and important question.

According to a report released by The Wilderness Society and Taxpayers for Common Sense, Colorado has become a leader in reducing methane pollution which is a potent green-house gas.

The 2016 EPA requirements, adopted during the Obama Administration, were modeled after Colorado’s standard. However, other energy-producing Western states have done little to curb its release. The Trump Administration previously announced its intent to roll back federal methane regulations and standards to the more relaxed level of 30 years ago, stating that the 2016 version “was too burdensome for companies.

Oil and gas profits versus public health

Trump’s plan to relax methane emissions begs the public policy question of what is more important — reducing possible burdensome regulations on private businesses or attempting to slow down climate change and to some degree improve protecting the health of millions of Americans.

It’s really a simple answer. With climate change continuing to worsen and show its potent consequences, we must opt for making as many changes as possible to reduce green-house gas emissions. Just look at the increase in major forest fires and their intensity, increasing average temperatures and extended droughts which both America and the world are facing.

It is an alarming picture and we darn well better be doing all we can to slow it down and hopefully turn it around. We should be thinking and acting in the best interest of our children and grandchildren; not corporate America’s profit margin.

Texas oil country is an example

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my wife Ann and I had an eye-opening experience. Driving back from Boerne, Texas, northwest of San Antonio, where our daughter Heather and her family live, we observed flaring methane in the Texas Panhandle.

It was at night so the large yellow flames really stood out. Plus, the odor was quite noticeable. There were 12-15 separate tall stand- pipes spread across an area as far as the eye could see flaring methane gas.

When the Wilderness Society’s report noted that other Western energy-producing states were not taking action to curb methane emissions, we quickly validated their conclusion when it came to Texas.

As the report noted, emissions and the wind do not honor or know state boundaries So, if you are concerned like we are, contact the EPA, our U.S. Senators and Congress members and give them your feedback no later than December 17 on relaxing the federal methane emissions standard.

The message calls for change

As a registered unaffiliated voter, I was hoping that the mid-term election results which produced “The Blue Wave” in the U.S. House of Representatives was a sign of change.

I was hoping it was not only a sign of change as far as leveling the playing field in Congress but also with the Democratic Party. By that I mean changing the leadership of the House Democrats as well as looking ahead to decide who would be the best Presidential candidate for the party.

But alas, at least the next Speaker of the House to lead the Democrat majority looks like the same-old, same-old. The Dems have indicated in their Congressional caucus that Nancy Pelosi will again return to being their leader.

This is really disappointing and a big mistake by the Democrats. Don’t you get it?

The Blue Wave had a message behind it: People want change. They don’t want the same Congressional leadership pushing the same policies or the tyrannical executive approach in the White House.

Pelosi is the same old look and approach on what legislation is pushed forward. If you want to reflect what us Americans said on November 6, you will elect a fresh face with a contemporary approach.

Our own Congressman Ed Perlmutter understands what I am talking about. And by the way, thank you Congressman for having the manhood to take a stand and say it is time for a different Speaker of the House guiding the Democratic Party.

I also mentioned change when it comes to Presidential candidates. If the Democratic Party is smart, the party will NOT trot out Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren. The party needs a new face, a fresh approach and someone with “center of the road” reasonable policy direction and charisma which won’t cost taxpayers more out of their pockets.

And then there were three

Boy oh boy, change keeps coming at a faster and faster pace at the City of Westminster. Now, there are three city council seats to fill.

Besides City Councilors Shannon Bird and Emma Pinter leaving the city, Mayor Pro Tem Maria de Cambra announced on December 3 that she resigned immediately to accept an important appointment in Governor-elect Jared Polis’ Administration.

Congrats to Maria in assuming the Director of Communications and Community Engagement position. De Cambra’s vacancy will be filled yet in December by city council since she has resigned.

The other two upcoming vacancies will not occur until both women are sworn in at their new elected positions in early January. Having five of the seven seats turn over in little over a 12-month period is unprecedented in Westminster.

Stability is an important factor in the governance of any organization. A certain degree of turnover is healthy and stimulating to a governing board or council.

However, when you have a seasoned-veteran Mayor, one Councilor with five years on the council, two councilors with slightly over a year of experience and three brand new folks with no experience, it takes longer to make important decisions and puts more pressure and workload on the administration.

Given the fact that Westminster is a full-service city with so many moving parts, the learning curve is steep. City Manager Don Tripp and key staff will be working extra hard getting the new Councilors up-to-speed.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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