The Colorado front range air quality and Denver's will never be acceptable until Oil and Gas companies follow the law and contain their emissions (see map below for Front Range wells). Many companies regularly violate our state's law. Additionally the acceptable pollution laws for oil wells are often not strict enough. We advocate for a strong state policy for monitoring and enforcing the emission laws at oil and gas wells.
The Suncor Oil Refinery is not technically in Denver but its pollution reaches Denver. It will require state action to contain this extremely large polluter. The facility continues to emit toxins in exceedance of EPA standards despite being fined continuously for those violations. The state has recently begun to escalate fines and require stricter monitoring standards but lacks the power to close the facility.
The oilfields north of Denver are home to over 60 thousand individual oil wells. Most of these are fracking wells. If not properly monitored, these wells release methane and other pollutants that can create ozone. This pollution does not stay in one place and does not have to travel far to reach Denver and exacerbate the Brown Cloud and cause Ozone Alert days for Air Pollution.
It will take large organized efforts to get the changes we need to control the air pollution being emitted by the oil and gas industry. Fortunately, there are many grassroots organizations already working hard in this area. They need your help and support. Consider joining Colorado Rising to help stop fracking near schools and neighborhoods, or the Colorado Sierra Club who are standing up to the oil and gas lobby, or 350 Colorado and 350 Metro Denver who are blazing a path toward a fossil-fuel free world.
There are two state level agencies who have strong influence over emissions from the oil and gas industry (and all industries). The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) was set up to develop and propose effective and cost-efficient air quality planning initiatives with input from local government agencies, the private sector, stakeholder groups, and citizens of the Denver metropolitan area and the North Front Range Ozone Non-Attainment Area.
The AQCC hears public comments and the Colorado Sierra Club has a signup page where you can register to coordinate with others in testifying at a series of AQCC meetings this year.