Sunday, October 22, 2006

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Air Concerns Rise with Gas Drilling

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel's Mike McKibbon excellently reported today on air pollution from oil and gas development in western Colorado. The article explains the obvious: that booming oil and gas development, particularly in Garfield County, is fouling our air and jeopardizing the health of families and local communities.

Beth Dardynski of Silt, who lives next to condensate tanks at a natural gas well drilled near her house, commented "the air would bring the fumes down into our homes each night. It smelled like I had an open diesel can next to my bed.” Beth and other people in close proximity to these wells are reporting headaches, nausea, and other illnesses along with the foul fumes.

Oil and gas developments release xylene, which is used as a paint thinner, and other toxic air pollutants. Can you imagine living daily with the smell of paint thinner in your home?

What is happening in Garfield County is a sure sign that oil and gas development is not being done right. Yet, as Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action is quoted, doing it right is easy.

In fact, industry can profit off of controlling air pollution. Most of the pollution released is natural gas, which can be captured and sold. Estimates from field studies show that industry could make upwards of $600,000/year by recovering gas from condensate tanks at just one natural gas well. EnCana Oil and Gas is already utilizing cost-effective technologies to eliminate air pollution from its North Parachute Ranch gas processing plant in Garfield County. Sadly, the oil and gas industry is simply throwing away money, while at the same time filling our air with toxic chemicals.

Doing it right is easy, yet the oil and gas industry opposed to reducing its pollution.
In a companion article, McKibbon reports that the Bill Barrett Corporation is opposed to a proposal to reduce air pollution from oil and gas developments.

With headaches mounting and money being thrown away, Barrett's opposition to clean air seems to be the epitome of arrogance and ignorance. One can't help but be reminded of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Fortunately, Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action and its partners are poised to hold the oil and gas industry accountable to clean air. You can help by voicing your support for smog reductions in Colorado!


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