Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CEMEX Improving? Not Really.

An article in the Lyons, Colorado Recorder asks if CEMEX is improving.

Remember, CEMEX is the same cement plant that has chronically violated clean air laws. Most recently, a major breakdown at the plant spewed dark-grey pollution from the smokestack for several minutes. And earlier this year, both Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action and the Environmental Protection Agency put CEMEX on notice of an impending lawsuit over numerous clean air violations dating back to the early 1980's.

From Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action's standpoint, the big question is, is CEMEX fully safeguarding public health? The answer is NO. They're still operating without legally required air pollution controls, controls that would help everyone in the community of Lyons breathe easier. What's more, installing up-to-date air pollution controls would help reduce smog and help safeguard Rocky Mountain National Park, the crown jewel of the Rockies.

As far as public health goes, CEMEX seems to have yet to make any improvements.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kansas Coal Burning Power Plant Denied

Read it for yourself. The state of Kansas denied an air pollution permit for a new coal burning power plant because of its greenhouse gas emissions. This is the paradigm change, folks. Kansas took the lead and we guarantee you everyone else will follow.

So long, coal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Terrible Air in Grand Junction

Grand Junction has been suffering some terrible air pollution lately. Yesterday, fine particle pollution exceeded federal health standards in this western Colorado city.

While federal regulations limit fine particle pollution to no more than 35 micrograms/cubic meter over a 24-hour period, concentrations reached 36 micrograms/cubic meter in the Junction.

Fine particles are 2.5 microns in diameter, or less than 1/28th the size of a human hair. They're exceptionally harmful. They're linked to heart disease, asthma, and premature death. Yesterday, the Air Quality Index reached over 180, meaning "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should [have] avoid[ed] prolonged or heavy exertion [and] everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

Although things cleared up in Grand Junction today (fine particle pollution only reached 33 micrograms/cubic meter), the pollution levels reported in Grand Junction were higher than those recorded in Denver over the last few days.

Because the Good Lord Put 'Em There

Here's a gem of a quote from the coal industry in today's Casper Star Tribune in Wyoming:

People use fossil fuels because the good Lord put them on earth for us to use.
Right, and did the good Lord put the atmosphere in place for us to trash with pollution?

Monday, October 08, 2007

We've Been in New Mexico

Everyone's probably wondering why we haven't posted since September 17th. No, it's not because there's been no news--there's been plenty (like the state of Colorado considering adopting clean car standards). Part of it's because we've been in New Mexico.

Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action is dedicated to protecting clean air in Colorado, as well as the surrounding region. And last week, we took our week south to Santa Fe, New Mexico this time achieving a key win in the fight against climate change.

At a two-day rulemaking hearing, we provided critical testimony supporting efforts to require the oil and gas industry to report their greenhouse gas pollution. The oil and gas industry is responsible for nearly 24% of all greenhouse gases in the state, second only to coal burning power plants. And of the oil and gas industry's greenhouse gases, 32% is methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

The state of New Mexico is working toward a 75% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. Of the options on the table, methane reductions from the oil and gas industry promise to yield the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions for the state. Methane reductions are so effective at fighting climate change that the Governor of New Mexico has called for a 20% reduction in methane by 2020.

Despite all this, the state was proposing to exclude the oil and gas industry from key greenhouse gas reporting rules. The rules would require large sources of greenhouse gases to report their emissions to set up future reductions.

Working alongside the Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Western Environmental Law Center, Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action helped convince the independent Environmental Improvement Board to require the oil and gas industry to report their greenhouse gases.

The new rules are pioneering. In fact, they are the first set of greenhouse gas reporting rules that specifically target the oil and gas industry. But really, they're about common sense. Because methane is money, there is an inherent incentive for the industry to keep track of its pollution. In fact, BP, a major natural gas producer in New Mexico, is already keeping close tabs on its methane emissions.

Remember, climate change is a clean air issue and Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action is helping mount the charge to make sure the oil and gas industry, like everyone else, helps do their part to tackle global warming. We've done it in New Mexico, now it's time to go to back to Colorado.