THE PODIUM | Environmental stewardship comes naturally to those who work Colorado’s land
Authors: Tracee Bentley, Mary Kraft - April 26, 2018 - Updated: April 26, 2018
Coloradans, by virtue of our surrounding beauty, are environmentalists. We respect the land, our water, and our air while we enjoy our earth’s resources. For those of us for whom the land and its vast resources are our livelihood, we are encouraged to see the momentous strides to bolster American security, economic growth and environmental sustainability. We celebrate them this Earth Day and National Environmental Education Week. Our land in Colorado provides for our families and communities, and industries, such as natural gas and oil as well as agriculture, are vital to fulfilling modern expectations for life, health and prosperity.
In our industries, environmental stewardship is one of the core values that are practiced every day. As industry leaders, we have an important responsibility to the environment. Our industry continues to look forward, to grow in technologically advanced and efficient ways to help preserve the environment.
The natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship is seen through the advancement of technologies that allow for precise, efficient exploration and development with minimal environmental impact. In fact, according to the EPA, methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum systems decreased 14 percent between 1990 and 2016, at a time when natural gas production increased by more than 50 percent. That is real environmental stewardship.
Some examples of new technologies that are advancing the industry’s efforts to reduce environmental impact include virtual reality, which trains crew members by providing learning without ever stepping outside; big data, which allows operators to identify the safest and most productive methods to develop, transport, and process natural gas; and fiber
optics, which can collect data allowing operators to observe a well’s performance in real time while also measuring production flow and overall effectiveness of a well. Between 1990 and 2016, the natural gas and oil industry invested more than $339 billion to improve the environmental performance of fuels, operations, and facilities, to leave a smaller footprint on our land.
The natural gas and oil industry isn’t alone in this endeavor. The dairy industry, which also is dependent on Colorado’s rich land, also has embraced sustainability efforts that stretch across the supply chain and reach from member-owners and transportation networks to manufacturing facilities and employees. For example, the Dairy Farmers of America members work to increase transportation efficiency because the production, transport, and manufacturing of milk and dairy products consumes natural resources. The industry continuously works to optimize transportation routes, use idle-monitoring technology to conserve fuel and develop and adapt technologies and strategies that reduce the impacts of its operations on the surrounding environment.
Farms are more than areas of production for milk, cattle, and grain. Farms are homes in which generations upon generations have toiled, failed and thrived again. Farms are where families grow and where children will not only play but learn to appreciate the land where they live. Farming has been a family business in Colorado for centuries, and farmers embrace environmental stewardship so our lands can stay viable for generations to come. Keeping land pristine is of the utmost importance.
In Colorado, environmental stewardship hinges on the work of dedicated professionals, who do what they do because of their strong commitment to industry and our land. In celebration of Earth Day and National Environmental Education Week, we encourage everyone to find ways to improve operations to increase efficiency to leave a smaller footprint to make for a better Colorado today, tomorrow, and for future generations.