City council, restore needed regulations


Editor’s Note: The following is an Open Letter to the Longmont City Council. On May 8, 2012, Longmont’s oil and gas regulations will appear on the council’s agenda on First Reading (Consent Agenda). Several necessary regulations were removed from the Draft Regulations prepared earlier this year.

I would like to see the following provisions become part of the city’s regulation of fracking wells and other wells.

1) RESTORE THE PROVISION REQUIRING CLOSED PITS.
Open pits are a source of contamination, both through evaporation (airborne contaminants), and through undue exposure to animals and, potentially, children on nearby playgrounds. A CLOSED SYSTEM WOULD BE BEST.

2) INCORPORATE THE NEW EPA REGULATIONS ON METHANE CONTAMINATION. The EPA has just issued new regulations regarding methane leakage in fracked wells. The city should require that any wells drilled now should be in conformity to these new regulations, since the new wells will be operating when the EPA regulations go into effect.

3) DO NOT ALLOW THE OPERATION OF WELLS DURING A DROUGHT. The state already has a mechanism for declaring a state of drought, and it should be strictly observed.

4) MONITOR SMOG POLLUTION, INCLUDING ADVANCE TESTING TO ESTABLISH A BASELINE.
The city should require testing using the new technique just published by NOAA, which is able to differentiate sources of smog pollution. There should be a baseline test of Longmont’s air quality at the present time, before the moratorium is lifted, and future tests should be measured against it. I am especially concerned about the numerous medical studies published by a variety of sources–easily found with an Internet search–that show strong links between smog and an increase in asthma, stroke, and heart attacks. The recent study in Erie that commented on 10 minutes of exposure is ridiculous. If there are wells, there is going to be chronic exposure. The studies of the effects of chronic exposure to smog need a detailed review and the city needs to fund its own monitoring of smog.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. I look forward to seeing these important elements of regulation incorporated into the City of Longmont regulations.

  1 comment for “City council, restore needed regulations

  1. Gregory Iwan
    May 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    HAte to tell you, but these oil and gas companies have their eye on FOREIGN markets. One LNG terminal has already been approved for Cheniere in Louisiana, and eight more are lining up for the Gulf and East Coasts. These folks can sell natural gas in Japan for eight times the going rate here. And the Japanese have contracted to buy millions of tons of LNG from Australia already. In other words, perhaps the lady is getting dressed up for a party that might be over before she can arrive. And then communities such as Longmont, who will not necessarily get to burn any of this gas, will be left to possibly look and feel like many parts of West (by God) Virginia. Oh, joy.

    P.S. Good luck in front of Council. Take a good book along.

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