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Colorado’s Proposal Shows What it Takes to Make Progress on Climate

Colorado’s Proposal Shows What it Takes to Make Progress on Climate

This is a guest post from Eric Pooley, senior vice president of strategy and communications at Environmental Defense Fund.

At a time when partisan rancor is the order of the day, this week’s news out of Colorado is a tribute to the power of partnership. On Monday, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado proposed new regulations for oil and gas operations that, if adopted, will cut both conventional air pollution and climate pollution – by making Colorado the first state in the nation to tackle the problem of methane emissions. The big announcement showed that industry leaders, state officials and an environmental group like Environmental Defense Fund can sit down together to negotiate a plan to deliver cleaner, safer air. And just in time. As EDF’s Rocky Mountain Regional Director Dan Grossman told NPR this week, “the fundamental question [is] whether or not citizens will tolerate oil and gas development.”

On Election Day, four Colorado communities voted to ban hydraulic fracturing. State officials and industry leaders are getting the message: public trust has been badly damaged, and the only way to restore it is by putting in place strong rules to protect air, water, and communities. Not every community is going to ban oil and gas development, obviously, so we need to protect the many places where it is happening.

While the new Colorado proposal doesn’t address all the issues surrounding oil and gas development, the governor and the state’s regulators should be applauded for their efforts in bringing forward these commonsense air pollution measures, which were agreed to and supported by EDF, Anadarko Petroleum, Encana and Noble Energy. And we’re not the only ones who think so. Newspapers from Los Angeles to Denver to New York wrote in support of the new rules. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera praised both the proposed legislation and Environmental Defense Fund’s collaborative approach in an op-ed published Monday. Nocera writes:

“In 2011, [EDF] helped negotiate [Colorado] rules governing the disclosure of the chemicals in fracking compounds — a deal that was sealed with Hickenlooper, the industry and EDF representatives sharing a stage. [EDF] has negotiated rules to require groundwater testing near wells to detect any possible contamination. In Texas, it was involved in coming up with regulations for well integrity…In each case, EDF is pushing other states to adopt these rules, which, taken together, would help ensure that natural gas will live up to its promise of being a better, cleaner fuel.”

The proposed rules in Colorado are just one important step toward controlling climate pollution. There’s a long way to go before anyone can say that we’re meeting the climate challenge – or addressing the unacceptable impacts of oil and gas development. Right now we need to work even harder to see that Colorado’s proposed rules are adopted and that other states follow suit. Make no mistake: To win, we need the whole environmental community to keep up the pressure.

This article originally appeared on the EDF Voices blog and is reprinted with permission.

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Photo Credit: daveynin via Flickr

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53 comments

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1:33AM PST on Nov 27, 2013

Algae Systems (R&D funded by US Navy) expects to get its carbon negative (about algae carbon goes into biodiesel, about half into bio char byproduct) algal biodiesel cost-competitive with petroleum in 2016. The sooner federal government persuades our too big to fail oil firms to mass produce algal biodiesel instead of petroleum, the better.
There is methane leaking from unstable seabed deposits around both poles and near mouths of many rivers including the Mississippi. The sooner gas firms can be persuaded to round that up and leave off fracking until that methane hydrate that is leaking is used up, the better.

12:15AM PST on Nov 27, 2013

Applause to Colorado. Now, people, what about those guns?

6:36AM PST on Nov 26, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:11PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Thank you for posting this

6:02AM PST on Nov 25, 2013

We need to come together & all do our part for the sake of our grandchildren.

5:45PM PST on Nov 24, 2013

ty

4:46AM PST on Nov 24, 2013

Good for Colorado! Thanks for sharing.

11:54AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

I think that we need to start changing the way that we abuse this planet and Colorado seems to be going in the right direction. Having said that I think that there is more we can do as individuals, walk instead of taking the car would be a great start. Another thing, which I have done, is to have solar (PV) panels fitted to your property. I live in England, not the sunniest place in the world, but the 16 panels that sit on my roof produce 40% of the electricity I use, if we could all do this then we wouldn't need to worry about building more power stations, nuclear or not. If we don't then, very sadly, I am beginning to think that nuclear might be the least damaging of the alternatives open to us.

5:18AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

I am with you Alan

3:28AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

ty

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