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SPONSORED CONTENT: Colorado leads in reducing air emissions, ozone problems

Author: Jared Wright - November 6, 2017 - Updated: August 1, 2018


Colorado has led the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a partnership between government officials and the energy industry.

“It is worth noting that ozone levels have remained relatively flat over the last decade or two, yet we’ve seen tremendous growth in Colorado,” said Will Allison, the state’s Director of the Air Pollution Control Division in an Energy in Depth interview. “I think that is a testament to the fact that we’ve had a lot of very effective regulations in place and business practices in place to drive down emissions despite the growth.”

A state report released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the state’s Regional Air Quality Council in November 2016 shows a reduction in emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) by the state’s oil and natural gas industry of roughly 50 percent between 2011 and 2017. VOC’s mix with sunlight to produce ozone.

As a result, the number of ozone non-attainment days in the Denver and north Front Range areas have decreased from a high of 60 days in 2012 to fewer than 30 in the past three years, according to data collected at monitoring stations by the CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division.

The reductions in emissions are the result of collaboration among the state’s oil and natural gas industry and Colorado elected officials and regulators.

The landmark 2010 “Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act” established a framework for reducing emissions in the state over time by increasing the use of natural gas in electrical generation. In 2014, Colorado became the first state in the nation to limit methane emissions, requiring the oil and natural gas industry to capture 95 percent of methane and VOCs.

At the same time, the energy industry proactively put forward several initiatives to reduce VOC emissions, including adopting practices to promote efficiency, and working with state colleges and private companies to develop better technology for air monitoring and leak detection.

The oil and gas industry in Colorado is reducing emissions as part of its ongoing commitment to responsibly develop our natural resources for the betterment of society.” – Scott Prestidge, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association

“Protecting our Colorado landscape and our environment is an important part of that effort. Colorado leak detection and repair regulations, combined with a number of industry innovations, are lowering emissions like methane and volatile organic compounds in significant ways,” said Scott Prestidge, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. “Over the past six years, the state’s oil and gas industry nearly halved its emissions of VOCs in the Metro Denver and North Front Range Area, while oil production quadrupled statewide.”

Jared Wright

Jared Wright

Jared Wright runs the business side of Colorado Politics, including circulation, advertising and marketing. He started as CEO and Publisher of the Statesman in 2015 and served as editor-in-chief for the journal during part of that time. He has worked in politics at both the state and federal levels, serving on a U.S. Congressman’s staff and working in government affairs in the private sector. Wright was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2012 and served as member of Colorado’s 69th General Assembly from 2013-2014. He is also a writer, photographer and cartoonist.