Colorado to consider new air quality rules for oil, gas companies

Nov. 20, 2013

The proposals include changes to rules that would see streamlined emission reporting requirements and the abolishment of crude oil storage tank permit exemptions.

The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) has called on the state Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to review its regulations regarding air quality standards for oil and gas companies.

The APCD believes that several rules need to be changed and some new ones should be introduced to ensure that the state is able to secure air quality protection through enforcement. If the regulations are updated, Colorado may become the first state to introduce methane emission standards.

The proposals include other changes to rules that would see streamlined emission reporting requirements and the abolishment of crude oil storage tank permit exemptions. Under the recommended changes, oil and gas companies would have to capture 95 percent of all toxic chemicals released as a result of their operations, including volatile organic compounds, the Denver Post reported.

RELATED: Wyoming proposes rules to protect groundwater from fracking operations

In a bid to promote air quality, the APCD proposes that oil and gas companies be required to use infrared cameras to examine wells, tanks and pipelines for leaks. Larger facilities should undergo inspections at least once every 30 days. Companies operating in Colorado may also be required to use flare devices to burn off emissions.

State health chief Larry Wolk commented that the new rules would result in a reduction in emissions of 92,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to the emissions that could be cut if all cars in the state were kept off the road for a year, the Denver Post said.

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