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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense
California, Colorado, New Mexico Win Local Bans On Fracking
The Environmental Defense Fund and 5 major Oil and Gas corporations with linked interstate operations, and global assets, wrote the Colorado Rules. I think Colorado residents could enact more local bans for their own health and safety. Having read all associated documents, I have to say, the headlines are a joke, thanks to the Environmental Defense Fracademia Headmaster Of Compromise And Concession.The EDF need to get out of the way and quit running interference for industry. Colorado faces serious deception, worse than in California's SB 4, if that's possible.
Air Quality Control Regulations Fix Persistent Leaks From Tanks And Pipes
Wow, just like that, problem solved. Colorado is so lucky! The state's largest oil and gas producers, worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to craft regulations approved by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission that would fix persistent leaks from tanks and pipes!
The regulations require companies to install equipment to minimize leakage of toxic gases and to control or capture 95 percent of emissions. Energy producers would be required to routinely inspect well sites for leaks, as often as once a month, depending on how much oil or gas a well produces. When leaks are discovered, they must be fixed within 15 days.
Over the course of a year, the new regulations will remove enough volatile organic compounds from the air to equal those emitted by every car and truck in the state, backers said. The Air Quality Control Commission approved the rules 8 to 1 after five days of hearings.
"This is a model for the country," said Dan Grossman, the EDF Rocky Mountain regional director. Here's another model for the country:
Colorado Communities Are Banning Fracking
So far, only Boulder has escaped a lawsuit since there currently are no active wells there. U.S. House Representative. Jared Polis (D-CO), whose district contains all of the embattled cities, defended their efforts to ban fracking within their borders. Polis posted a YouTube video in which he tells COGA to stop their lawsuits, saying it's "unAmerican" for COGA to sue Colorado communities "just because they didn't like the outcome at the ballot box."
Colorado communities are enacting bans against fracking, and against corporate privilege. Additionally, the haze of ground level ozone, prompted Governor John Hickenlooper, to ask energy companies and environmentalists to come together to write some rules.
“The regulations require companies to install equipment to minimize leakage of toxic gases and to control or capture 95 percent of emissions. Energy producers would be required to routinely inspect well sites for leaks, as often as once a month, depending on how much oil or gas a well produces. When leaks are discovered, they must be fixed within 15 days.”
“Emissions during oil and gas operations represent the state's largest source of volatile organic compounds that contribute to the formation of ozone, a ground-level pollutant linked to respiratory problems and decreased crop yields.” Parts of Colorado violate national air quality standards for ozone, known as non-attainment areas.
"Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Encana, are among the state's largest oil and gas producers." The 3 corporations worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to craft regulations approved by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission that would fix persistent leaks from tanks and pipes.
"This is a model for the country," said the EDF Rocky Mountain regional director. "We've got this simmering battle between the oil and gas industry and neighborhoods throughout the state” that are being faced with fracking and industrial development. The degree of acrimony is pushing the industry and policy makers to look for ways to get some wins."
The drilling in Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania and Ohio that is fueling the nation's energy boom is moving closer to rural communities and municipalities, and is forcing state regulators to address complaints of noise and traffic and concerns about contamination risks to air and water, along with potential impacts to health.
Let's back up here
HEADLINES READ ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS and Industry Groups, both in the plural. But only the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is listed, with 2 Colorado State agencies, and Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, Encana and then DCP Midstream.
DCP Midstream, LLC is equally owned by Phillips 66 and Spectra Energy. Headquartered in Denver, Colo., DCP Midstream leads the midstream industry as one of the nation's largest natural gas gatherers and processors, and one of the largest producers and marketers of NGL in the United States. Operations include gathering and transporting raw natural gas through approximately 63,000 miles of pipeline. The collected gas is processed at 62 owned or operated plants and treaters. Additionally, DCP Midstream owns or operates 12 fractionators.
So the EDF and 5 major Oil and Gas corporations with linked interstate operations, and global assets, wrote the Colorado Rules. I think Colorado residents need to enact more local bans for their own health and safety. Having read all associated documents, I have to say, the headlines are a joke, thanks to the Environmental Defense Fracademia Headmaster Of Compromise And Concession. I think the EDF need to get out of the way and quit running interference for industry. Colorado faces serious deception, worse than in California's SB 4, if that's possible.
More PR bs Including A Gubernatorial Bout
“The new regulations will remove enough VOCs from the air to equal those emitted by every car and truck in the state, backers said.” Of course cars and trucks don't emit gross quantities of methane.
“Air quality rules in other states are often driven by regulatory agencies, which highlights the unusual collaboration between environmentalists and energy companies on Colorado's measures governing methane emissions.”
"These rules punish rural Colorado for smog created by Boulder and Denver," said state Senator Greg Brophy, a Republican seeking his party's nomination to run against Hickenlooper for governor in November.”
Fracking opponents say Hickenlooper, a former oil company geologist, is too cozy with the industry. Anadarko, Encana and Noble jointly stated: “As citizens of Colorado, we all want clean air, and we support this joint proposal initiated by Gov. Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper's Republican challengers say regulations such as those requiring companies to test groundwater and disclose chemicals used in fracking which the governor hails as among the toughest in the nation, restrict production.
The Colorado mandates are also the first attempt by a state to regulate methane emissions from fracking. The main component of natural gas, methane is 72-105 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years (and then 25 times that of CO2 over a 100 year time span) after it's escape or intentional release, according to the NASA (105 x) and the EPA, IPCC (72x).
That's the level of heat trapping potency by which methane exceeds carbon dioxide, over a 20-year time frame according to NASA research. “Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University and researchers took things even further, incorporating data from Drew T. Shindell at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who published a study in 2009 in the journal Science that suggested that the interaction of methane with certain atmospheric aerosols might well amplify the global warming potential of methane, rendering it up to 105 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the 20-year time frame.
Although the 100-year time horizon is more commonly used by climate scientists, Mr. Howarth relies on the shorter time-horizon, which would greatly intensify the impact of leaking methane on climate. Combining that with the novel methane leakage estimates at various points along the production and transmission life cycles, he and his co-authors were able to push the climate impact, per unit of energy, of unconventional natural gas industry well beyond that of the perennial environmental and climate demon, coal." (Tom Zeller Jr., “Methane Losses Stir Debate on Natural Gas,” The New York Times, April 12, 2011
Infrared cameras show that methane and other gases escape during operations that pushed Colorado's 2012 oil production to the highest in 55 years. The state is the U.S.'s sixth-largest producer of natural gas and ninth-biggest oil producer.
What do Fugitive Methane Emissions look like? Watch these three short videos, and realize that the quantity you can see with the aid of the FLIR cameras, rising up, up, and away, as GHG, has been escaping for as long as industry has been fracking. Longer of course, but with the wild expansion across new landscapes by horizontal drilling and fracking and the attendant surface disturbance for storage tanks and vessels of all kinds, all leaking into the atmosphere, or spilling onto the ground, impacts have increased exponentially.
1) Fugitive Methane Emissions And Methane Loading Of The Atmosphere (8 minutes)
2) Fugitive Methane Emissions Seen With A FLIR Camera (5 minutes)
3) FME (4 minutes)
"This is a national issue that a lot of states that have significant oil and gas emissions are struggling with," said Garry Kaufman, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Air Pollution Control Division, in testimony during the hearings. "When I talk with my counterparts about air pollution issues, the first thing that comes up is tanks," he told the air quality board. "We're proposing a first-in-the-nation set of rules that would address this very important problem."
Storage tanks are also known as vessels, called storage vessels in the vernacular of the EPA, and include multiple storage tanks or vessels hooked to a single manifold. Perhaps that makes the picture clearer, now put the whole thing on wheels; and it is a mobile vessel of multiple tanks for storage of flowback and wastewater. And not covered under the new regulations.
The regulations require companies to install equipment to minimize leakage of toxic gases and to control or capture 95 percent of emissions. Energy producers would be required to routinely inspect well sites for leaks, as often as once a month, depending on how much oil or gas a well produces. When leaks are discovered, they must be fixed within 15 days.
Sounds good, but those aren't the actual rules, that's just the PR.
Noble Energy estimates an additional $3 million dollars a year to comply with this rule," testified Brian Lockard, the company's director of environmental, health, safety and regulatory, at the hearing. "We project we're going to have to hire 16 additional people."
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs... great!
Noble runs about 8,000 wells in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, where it plans to invest $12 billion over the next five years. Noble and Anadarko undertake 80 percent of all operations in the basin. Anadarko operates about 5,000 wells there and expects to invest $2 billion in the region this year.
More Corporate Social Media At Work
To: Governor John Hickenlooper
“We commend Colorado for becoming the first state to regulate methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas! These regulations will monitor emissions from oil and gas operations, ensuring that methane doesn’t leak into our atmosphere. The governor is responsible for prompting the creation of this legislation and should be commended.”
Great headlines - a coalition between energy companies and environmental activists has forged groundbreaking regulations in the state, making Colorado the first state to regulate emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. These regulations will monitor emissions from oil and gas operations, ensuring that methane doesn’t leak into our atmosphere.
That's What The News Headlines Made Of Colorado's New Methane Emissions Regulations
But besides methane Colorado does have sour gas wells, as in Weld County. Hydrogen Sulfide has been compared to cyanide in its lethality. “Hydrogen Sulfide or sour gas (H2S) is a flammable, colorless gas that is toxic at extremely low concentrations. It is heavier than air, and may accumulate in low-lying areas. It smells like “rotten eggs” at low concentrations and causes you to quickly lose your sense of smell. Many areas where the gas is found have been identified, but pockets of the gas can occur anywhere. Iron sulfide is a byproduct of many production operations and may spontaneously combust with air. To read a good summary of the health effects of exposure to Hydrogen Sulfide:
“Sour” Wells and Hydrogen Sulfide
“Sour gas is a term used to refer to gas which contains hydrogen sulfide in concentrations greater than four parts per million. The term “sour gas” is usually used with reference to natural gas, although it can be used to discuss other gases as well. Gas with impurities such as hydrogen sulfide needs to be treated before it can be safely used. The gas refining process includes a step known as “sweetening” to remove hydrogen sulfide and other materials.
When natural gas is initially accessed in the field, it usually contains an assortment of impurities, which can depend on where natural gas drilling sites are located. These impurities must be removed at a refinery to ensure that the gas performs in a stable and predictable way when it is used. In the case of sour gas, the hydrogen sulfide gives the gas a distinctively strong odor which makes it easy to identify, and the sweetening process removes much of the odor.”
In another February 18, 2014 news story that was jointly reported by the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel, communities in south Texas are suffering from health impacts due to Hydrogen Sulfide.
Additionally, a case in Michigan where hydrogen sulfide was detected 80 miles from the source of a leak made the news.
Hydrogen Sulfide in Colorado
“In 2010, Ryan Beaver’s job was to monitor for hydrogen sulfide in the same kinds of tanks.
“I’ve seen the levels with my own eyes and I know what that stuff can do,” Beaver said.
Beaver worked for On-Site Safety, a company contracted by Noble Energy in De Beque, Colorado. Outfitted with a monitoring device and gas mask, Beaver found multiple dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide in just four months, levels of hydrogen sulfide exceeding 2,000 parts per million, which is triple the lethal level. Beaver says he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, other than his supervisors, what the levels were.
“700 ppm will knock you out and kill you with the second breath,” Beaver said. “I was getting three times that. It’s a very well-kept secret.” One time, while workers were on site, Beaver’s monitoring device read a level so high it maxed out his device. “It just said ‘error, error,’ Beaver said. “I couldn’t get anyone’s attention, so I cracked my gas mask and yelled as loud as I could.”
In the effort, Beaver was stricken with a near-lethal dose of hydrogen sulfide. “My right eye felt like it was about to explode it hurt so bad,” Beaver said. “I had a migraine for a week and a half, and I lost my voice for three days.”
The dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide Beaver recorded in four months were never reported to the county or state, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says. Beaver says he would enter the numbers from his field log book into a master log book with On-Site Safety, which presumably went to Noble Energy.” http://dallasdrilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/hydrogen-sulfide-may-have-killed-gas-drilling-worker/
Gas production laces the air with toxic substances like hydrogen sulfide and benzene, a volatile organic compound, or VOC, and emits pollutants that form smog, which blankets many Western gas fields. Ozone the main component of smog is created when VOCs and nitrogen oxide interact with sunlight. It can cause respiratory ailments, while VOCs themselves can be carcinogenic.
The Front Range of Colorado is out of compliance with federal limits on ground-level ozone pollution, also known as smog. The area was designated as “nonattainment” in 2007.
Drilling in and around Weld County is a significant factor in the region’s smog pollution. Fracking and production continue to release more ozone forming compounds than cars and trucks along the Front Range, according to WildEarth Guardians; Summit County Voice
A relationship has also been observed between ozone and school absences in two studies.
In spite of the inconclusive nature of the epidemiologic literature, the repeated cycles of damage, inflammation, and repair in humans and the morphological findings from the animal toxicological studies suggest that it would be prudent to avoid repeated short-term exposures, particularly in young children, until more is known about the effects of long-term ozone exposure.” EPA
Denver study links fracking to higher concentration of air pollutants – The Denver Post
What The New Colorado Regulations Actually Say Is Twofold
The (new) Regulations are actually a Revision of existing laws.
The revisions do not require AVO/visual inspections or AIMM inspections where it is unsafe, difficult, or inaccessible to monitor. The revisions require records be made available to the Division upon request. The revisions also require monitoring records be kept for 2 years and also be made available to the Division. The revisions do not require storage tank reporting.
Storage Tanks (Section XVII.C.)
• Revisions require that all storage tanks, except temporary frac tanks, utilized during the first 90 days of production to control emissions.
• Beginning January 1, 2015, the revisions require that open-ended valves or lines (except flowback) be sealed or become subject to leak detection and repair (“LDAR”) requirements,
• The revisions expand the requirement to use auto-igniters. Combustion devices installed on or after May 1, 2014, must utilize an auto-igniter upon installation. Combustion devices installed before May 1, 2014, must utilize auto-igniters beginning May 1, 2016. That just means that the flaring will stay lit.
But the sources of HAPS, VOCs and FME, otherwise subject to Federal New Source Performance Standard (“NSPS”) or National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) as incorporated into Colorado Regulation Numbers 6 or 8 are no longer subject to reporting and permitting subject to NSPS or NESHAP.
These sources now only trigger reporting and permitting if the source’s emissions exceed the reporting and permitting thresholds. But, there are voluminous gaps in the rolling 12-month period monitoring of levels of FME, VOC, and HAPs which may exceed the reporting and permitting thresholds. But are minimized by averaging the real data in columns and ledgers.
The revisions also remove the crude oil storage tank permitting exemptions, and the revisions regulate hydrocarbon emissions from oil and gas on a state-only, state-wide basis.
So What Does That Really Mean In Orwellian Translation
“These oil and gas control measures are estimated to reduce VOC emissions by approximately 93,500 tons per year and methane/ethane emissions by approximately 65,000 tons per year.
Because these revisions apply on a state-wide, state-only basis, and are not a part of Colorado’s SIP, the Commission, the Division, and stakeholders have the opportunity to further assess the implementation and effectiveness of these requirements, to better inform future actions.”
That's Orwellian For No Record Keeping, No Reporting To EPA on NSPS and NESHAPS.
Leaks discovered pursuant to the leak detection methods of Section XVII.F.6. shall not be subject to enforcement by the Division unless the owner or operator fails to perform the required repairs.
Expert Witness To Paid Authority Made A Priority To Deceive The Majority - Lauryn Hill
Back in 2011, the EPA proposed to approve revisions and additions to the Colorado State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) to EPA on May 25, 2011. The proposed SIP revision addresses the permitting of sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Specifically, EPA proposed to approve revisions to Portions of Parts A, B and D of Regulation Number 3 to incorporate the provisions of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule.
The proposed SIP revisions establish emission thresholds for determining which new stationary pollution sources and modifications to existing stationary sources become subject to Colorado's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting requirements for their GHG emissions. EPA is proposing to approve the May 25, 2011 SIP revision to the Colorado PSD permitting program as being consistent with federal requirements for PSD permitting under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Frac the Record Keeping!
Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the CAA and applicable federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a).
Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role (is) to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this action merely approves state law that meets federal requirements and disapproves state law that does not meet federal requirements; when finalized, this action would not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law.
For that reason, this action: 1) does not impose an information collection burden under the
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.); 2)is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.); 3) is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997);
4) is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001); 5) does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to address, as appropriate, disproportionate human health or environmental effects, using practicable and legally permissible methods, under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).
List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52
Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, and Volatile organic compounds. Federal Register Volume 79, Number 8 Monday, January 13, 2014 Proposed Rules
Revisions Bury Actuality
Just six months earlier, in May of 2013, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission adopted and incorporated by reference the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, published at 40 CFR Part 72 (July 1, 2005) and Part 76 (July 1, 2005) for the purposes of implementing an acid rain program that meets the requirements of Title IV of the Clean Air Act.
But the October 24, 1997 revisions to Part 72 already included the following exemptions:
“Additional exemptions for new sources that burn clean fuels.”
Regulation Number 7, Sections XII. and XVII. have historically contained a prohibition on visible emissions from combustion devices, such as flares. The Commission is not proposing to relax this requirement, the Commission is clarifying how Division inspectors and the regulated community are to determine compliance with the prohibition on visible emissions. The Commission has qualified that visible emissions are emissions of smoke that are observed for a period in duration of greater than or equal to one (1) minute during a fifteen (15) minute time period, pursuant to EPA Method 22. The Commission expects that both Division inspectors and the regulated community will, if any smoke is observed, determine whether the emissions are considered visible emissions for purposes of Regulation Number 7.
Fugitive methane emissions from natural gas production, transportation and distribution are the single largest U.S. source of short-term climate forcing gases. The EPA estimates that 2.3 percent of total natural gas production is lost to leakage, but this estimate, based on early 1990’s data, is sorely in need of updating. The industry claims a leakage rate of about 1.6 percent. Cornell University professor Robert Howarth has estimated that total fugitive emissions of 3.6 to 7.9 percent over the lifetime of a well.
What is Method 22 and what are fugitive emissions?
• Method 22 is a simple procedure that uses the human eye to determine the total time an
industrial activity causes visible emissions.
No certification is required because it is a simple method that just requires you to record
the amount of time you see emissions. You do not have to be certified to determine the
opacity (or density) of the emissions so you do not need Method 9 certification.
• However, you must know and understand the effects of background contrast, ambient
lighting, and where you should stand to make your observation (for example, with respect
to lighting, wind, and the presence of condensing water vapor).
Check the rule that applies to your plant and process and find out how long you must
observe for fugitive emissions (15 minutes to one hour is typical).
• Check for what the rule allows for visible emissions. For example, if the rule says
emissions must not be visible for more than 6 minutes in any hour, you may quit after
observing 6 minutes of emissions before the hour elapses; otherwise, continue observing
for one hour.
• In any case, no matter what the applicable rule lists as the visible emission requirement,
the observation period must not be less than a total of 6 minutes.
During the observation period, continuously watch the source, and if you see any
emissions, start the second stopwatch (SW2) and then stop it when the emissions stop.
Restart it without resetting it if emissions occur again, and stop it if the emissions stop.
Continue doing this throughout the observation period.
• Remember that steam and other forms of condensed water vapor are not emissions and
are not a reason to start the stopwatch.
If the rule requires continuous observations for more than 20 minutes, you must get another observer to help you make the observations. However, this is not common. Method 22 was designed for buildings, dust from roads, etc.
Back to the Frac Fantastic:
“Storage tank,” means a single storage tank or a storage tank battery if the storage tanks are manifolded together. In recent years, it has become more common for multiple storage tank batteries, sometimes containing different hydrocarbon liquids, to be manifolded at the emissions line and routed to a common control device.
EPA has revised the definition of storage vessel to clarify that a storage vessel is subject to 40 CFR part 60, subpart (Quad 0) if it remains on a given site for more than 180 consecutive days.
The Commission’s definition, and Colorado’s approach to emissions reporting and
permitting for storage tanks, differs from EPA’s definition of “storage vessel” and the description of an affected storage vessel facility in NSPS Quad 0, because EPA considers each individual tank, even those in a battery manifolded by liquid line, to be a storage vessel for comparison against the applicability threshold.
Storage Tanks Controls (Section XVII.C.)
The Commission intends that under Regulation Number 7, Section XVII., air pollution control equipment may be removed if: (1) the storage tank (including manifolded tanks) emissions fall below the uncontrolled actual six (tpy) threshold, on a rolling twelve month basis; and (2) those controls are not required by other applicable requirements. Conversely, if storage tank emissions increase above the uncontrolled actual six (6) tpy threshold on a rolling twelve month basis, air pollution control equipment must be installed within sixty (60) days of discovery of the increase.
A 12-month rolling average, also known as a "moving average," provides companies with a useful long-term perspective. As new months roll on, the indicator updates. Each shifting 12-month period generates a new average. This calculation requires holding on to more data, longer, and that's why the companies don't want the extra burden of reporting to Colorado Division or EPA. Try this same maneuver with vacation days per yer at any job. If you're allowed 15 vacation days a year, just keep adjusting the rollback period, and take 5 more days off in each additional month as it comes up. Hah, in a year, one can take another 3 times the total allotted vacations, or almost 60 days, could be 55. I didn't actually run it out. But about 4 times the allotted amount.
The Colorado Commission does not intend for the storage tank control, or related, requirements to apply to frac tanks that are located at a well production facility for less than 180 consecutive days.
Division’s inventory shows that the oil and gas industry contributes more than 50% of the VOC emissions outside the non-attainment area. This monitoring, modeling, and inventory data, considered with the likelihood of a lower ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and the expected continued growth of the oil and gas sector state-wide, supports the application of the Regulation Number 7 revisions to oil and gas sources in both the non-attainment and attainment areas.
The majority of sources subject to the revised rules in Regulation Number 7 will not be subject to federal procedural, reporting, or monitoring requirements. Those few sources subject to both NSPS Quad 0 (e.g. storage vessels emitting 120 tpy uncontrolled actual VOC emissions) or NESHAP HH and HHH (e.g. glycol natural gas dehydrators at major sources of HAPs and TEG glycol natural gas dehydrators at area sources of HAPs) and Regulation Number 7 will be required to comply with both regulations, see further discussion above. The procedural, reporting, and monitoring requirements of Regulation Number 7, to the extent different than federal requirements, are necessary to ensure compliance with and document the effectiveness of the revisions
Regulation Number 7 – Adopted February 23, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT Air Quality Control Commission
REGULATION NUMBER 3 STATIONARY SOURCE PERMITTING AND AIR POLLUTANT EMISSION NOTICE REQUIREMENTS 5 CCR 1001-5
Said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, “If this package is adopted, Coloradans will breathe easier, knowing they have the best rules in the country for controlling air pollution from oil and gas activities.”
If a storage tank or associated equipment is unsafe, difficult, or inaccessible to monitor, the owner or operator is not required to monitor such equipment until it becomes feasible to do so. XVII.C.1.e.(i) Difficult to monitor means it cannot be monitored without elevating the monitoring personnel more than two meters above a supported surface or is unable to be reached via a wheeled scissor-lift or hydraulic type scaffold that allows access up to 7.6 meters (25 feet) above the ground.
Leaks discovered pursuant to the leak detection methods of Section XVII.F.6. shall not be subject to enforcement by the Colorado Division unless the owner or operator fails to perform the required repairs in accordance with Section XVII.F.7 Section XVII is tied to EPA Method 22.
Orwellian Doublespeak Repeated Until You Will Believe In It
Oil and gas operators have had difficulty meeting the current 95% control requirements in Regulation Number 7 established for condensate tanks in 2004 and 2006 due to “flash” emissions. Improved technologies and business practices, many already utilized by Colorado oil and gas operators, can reduce emissions of hydrocarbons such as VOCs and methane in a cost-effective manner. For these reasons and more, the Commission believes additional control measures beyond the current requirements in Regulation Number 7 and NSPS Quad 0 are appropriate. Colorado’s considerable experience with the regulation of oil and gas sources involves both SIP and state-only requirements.
NSPS OOOO (Quad Zero) (Quad 0)
“Facility” means all petroleum or natural gas equipment on a well pad or associated with a well pad under common ownership or control, including leased, rented, or contracted activities by an onshore petroleum and natural gas production owner or operator, that are located in a single hydrocarbon basin.
Wells are drilled into reservoirs and become producing fields in a regional play. Plays are based on the petrochemical geology of a hydrocarbon basin. Basin criteria includes relative oil and/or gas technical and chemical constituent properties (paraphrasing).
Petroleum and Produced Water Storage Tanks (VOC emissions threshold >6 tpy) installed after August 23, 2011 must control vapors to 95%. 'Installed' means new or replacement of components (reconstructed) of an existing affected facility to such an extent that the fixed capital cost of the new components exceeds 50% of the fixed capital cost that would be required to construct a comparable entirely new affected facility. If the source has been 'modified' resulting in an emission increase it also is a new affected facility.
All this sounds pretty good eh?
But the industry has gone mobile. Frac tank trucks, leave the drilling site in under 180 days. Drilling acids, solvents, and muds are mixed onsite from vessels that are mounted, and equipped with manifolds, on tractor trailers, that remain for a specified length of time.
The regulatory revisions regarding implementation of federal GHG emissions reporting for Unconventional Natural Gas Production systems by the Colorado Commission, known as Regulation Number 7, and adopted February 23, 2014 are:
1) in-house; unless requested by the State (with one exception >120 tpy)
2) not based on Hydrocarbon Basin emissions but averaged state-wide;
3) averaged across a rolling 12 month period;
4) 'good behavior' (ed license) allows for removal of monitoring equipment;
5) based on keywords 'installed' 'facility' 'visible emissions' 'statewide, state-only basis'
“Specifically; the stationary aspect of a storage vessel is typically addressed by the EPA in terms of whether it is reasonably portable, although the EPA sometimes addresses portability based on the size of the vessel. A nother criterion specified by the EPA in several regulations is that 'vessels permanently attached to motor vehicles' are not storage vessels, and the EPA has issued a determination that this exemption extends to storage vessels 'equipped with a permanently attached wheel assembly and a truck hitch'' (EPA, September 2, 2004). This renders most so-called frac tanks, Baker tanks, etc., exempt from the storage vessel provisions.” EPA
Eminent Domain vs Local Control, The Corporations Loses In Court, Again
The 2014 version of granting eminent domain authority to oil pipeline companies went through a strange couple of days in the past week and by week’s end had lost its chief Senate and House sponsors.
Senate Bill 14-093 was an attempt to overturn a 2012 Colorado Supreme Court decision that told oil pipeline companies they did not have eminent domain authority. The companies have used their perceived authority for decades to obtain easements where they can place oil pipelines.
In 2013, they got pushback from several Weld County residents, Ivar and Donna Larson and some of their neighbors. Sinclair Transportation wanted to obtain another easement, and a 10-inch pipeline, to an existing easement that had been in place since 1963.
The Larsons bought the property near Johnstown years after the first easement, and a six-inch pipeline, was installed. But they refused the second easement request, because a subdivision had been built in the ensuing years, with one home just 25 feet from the pipeline. They asked for a greater distance, or setback, of about 1,500 feet, which Sinclair refused.
Sinclair sued under their alleged eminent domain authority. The Larsons borrowed $2 million to cover the legal bills for the fight, which went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. The court ruled that oil pipeline companies did not have eminent domain authority; the statute that they relied upon for close to 100 years pertained only to natural gas pipelines and other public utilities.
Longmont area native Sam Schabacker, Food & Water Watch’s mountain west director, says he expects oil and gas interests to spend more than $1 million trying to defeat the fracking ban.
Thinking about it, the manufacturing sector of our 'economy' has been busting it out. Miles of pipeline sections, tank cars for rail transport of hydrocarbons, fleets of tanker trucks to haul sand, water, oil, stationary tanks, new technology routing devices and infrastructure. But they can't build enough emission controls, or green completion units. The industry whines at the drop of a hardhat, followed by two arguments which usually serve to win compromise as sponsored regulations move forward in a state's legislature.
1) The costs would be too great for industry to bear, and 2) Industry can't halt production and wait for the manufacture of 'new emissions control devices', and there aren't enough to go around.
And that's all bs.
The story of Wall Street money behind the Drilling, is long and complex. Lease and Lien is a new slogan befitting yet another hidden impact to land values around drilling.
Let's Ban Fracking in California, even if we have to work our way up to it city by city, county by county. And let's get Jerry Brownwater out of office.