Improving Air Quality

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) has the primary authority and jurisdiction to ensure that Colorado’s oil and natural gas operations comply with federal and state air quality laws and regulations. APCD administers rules that have been developed and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (CAQCC).

To meet air quality emission standards in the Denver metro area, Colorado’s largest utility converted several of its oldest coal-fired plants to clean burning natural gas.

Adding to that effort, in February 2014, the oil and natural gas industry, environmental groups, and the Hickenlooper Administration teamed up to pass the strictest air quality regulations in the nation. These regulations:

  • Require companies capture 95% of toxic pollutants they emit, cutting air pollution by 92,000 tons per a year. That’s equal to taking every car in Colorado off the road for one year.
  • Curb methane emissions—a dangerous greenhouse gas—by more than 60,000 tons per a year. Colorado was the first state to adopt rules regulating methane emissions from oil and natural gas production. (Colorado.gov, 2014)

At the drilling site, engine efficiencies and new technologies are constantly evolving, resulting in lower air emissions per unit of energy produced.  Oil and natural gas companies must also comply with air quality requirements enforced by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, as well as some local counties and communities.

Anyone can check the air quality in real time, any time. Check out the air quality today:

  • Data from continuous monitors is available here.
  • Air quality advisories are available here.

 

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