Infuence of Oil and Gas Emissions on Ambient Atmospheric Non-methane Hydrocarbons in Residential Areas of Northeastern Colorado

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene (2004, v2, p35; doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000035) / by Chelsea R. Tompson, et al.

[Durango Herald] Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, once again hit the spotlight in Colorado on Thursday, with a report suggesting air-quality regulations are not keeping up with the industry’s rapid growth…The report focused on emissions near gas and oil sites in the northern Front Range, which has seen expanded fracking, such as near Erie and Longmont. It took into account emissions regulations implemented in 2008 in Colorado that aim to capture 90 percent of energy development-caused emissions.

The report does not factor in first-of-its-kind methane regulations passed by state regulators earlier this year, as it would be too soon to analyze that data.

In some cases, the emissions in close proximity to wells were more than 77 times above levels away from those sites, such as near metro Denver, according to the emissions report. A focus was placed on non-methane hydrocarbons, such as benzene, a known carcinogen. Benzene is also known as a volatile organic compound, or VOC.

The highest levels were found within the Greater Wattenberg Gas Field, which runs from Northglenn to Eaton.

The issue is familiar to Southwest Colorado, where one small so-called “hot spot” near the Four Corners is responsible for producing the largest concentration of methane, according to a report released by NASA scientists in October.

State air-quality officials, however, say they are making progress…


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