According to a recent report in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, oil and gas companies violated Colorado air quality rules 73 times in the first three months of this year alone–nearly 75 percent of all Colorado air pollution enforcement cases during that period.
I don’t think anyone needs me to tell them that that is 73 times too many, endangering human health. According to my colleague, NRDC health expert Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, oil and gas production releases air pollutants that are very dangerous to human health, including benzene, xylene, and other hydrocarbons that can cause respiratory and neurological impacts and increase the risk of cancer. This pollution also contributes to the formation of ozone, a powerful respiratory irritant that is especially dangerous for people with asthma, particularly children.
The oil and gas industry continues to violate our laws on a regular basis. Companies need to clean up their act and make it a priority to comply with the rules on the books, and regulators need to impose penalties that are meaningful enough to change business practices. Otherwise, the public has every reason to continue fearing the risks of oil and gas development in their communities.