Colorado’s Opportunity to Set an Example for the Nation:

Why Stronger Methane Rules Matter

  • Beautiful lake in Colorado mountain landscape.

There’s no question that the growing climate, air, water, and wildlife impacts of oil and gas activities — particularly those that are caused by methane and other smog-forming pollutants — are taking a serious toll on our health and environment. 

Thankfully, we have an opportunity to shape policies that will better protect us from these pollutants.

Right now, air quality regulators are considering stronger methane rules that will clean our air and protect our climate, but they need to hear from Coloradans like you about why we support them. 

To help us get a better idea of what these rules will do and what they will mean for Colorado, we sat down with Sophia Mayott-Guerrero, our Energy & Transportation Advocate, to fill us in on all the details. 

Learn more about why stronger methane rules matter and share your support to ensure Colorado enacts these nationally leading rules!

Methane is one of the single most potent climate-warming gases — up to 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. When it leaks from oil and gas operations, it’s extremely hazardous, not only because of its flammability but because it is accompanied by other smog- and ozone-forming air toxics known or suspected to cause cancer.

Unfortunately, leaks are not always caught and fixed promptly, which puts our communities and environment at risk.

Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas production across the state is critical for mitigating Colorado’s impact on our climate and improving our air.

Colorado is said to have some of the best methane regulations in the nation. Why are regulators considering new rules?

Indeed, Colorado’s methane rules were once the strongest in the country, but current regulations have not kept pace with the rapid growth in oil and gas activities.

Across our state, there are more than 53,000 active oil and gas wells and yet current regulations do not address the prevention of leaks from wells, controllers, compressors, or storage tanks, nor do they require leaks to be repaired even after they are located. As a consequence, our environment and communities are left to deal with long-term health and climate impacts.

These impacts make it clear that Colorado’s current methane rules are falling short.

For Colorado to continue to be a leader on climate policy and clean air, it’s time for an update. 

New rules will mean better inspection and enforcement in the whole production process. From extraction to storage to transmission, these improvements will help prevent methane and other toxic oil and gas pollutants from leaking into our environment and damaging our health.

What will the new rules do?

These rules will work to do a number of things, but most importantly they will:

  • Reduce dangerous, climate-warming pollution by minimizing hazardous emissions through...

    • Semi-annual leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs for facilities of all sizes, in all parts of the state
    • Statewide best practices and enforcement of emissions reductions of the transmission sector
    • Emissions reductions for pneumatic devices
  • Better protect public health and our environment with...

    • Plans to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at least 30 percent
  • Hold polluters accountable by...

    • Closing loopholes that previously allowed 1) oil and gas companies to operate 90 days without pollution limits and 2) exempted transmission pipelines from regulations

How will Coloradans benefit from stronger methane rules?

Increased leak detection and requirements to reduce hazardous emissions across the state will help Colorado clean our air and spur future innovation. 

Air pollution from the oil and gas industry is putting Coloradans at risk every day, especially those who are vulnerable to poor air quality including people with respiratory sensitivities such as asthma.

These rule changes will ensure that all Coloradans have equal protection under the law to live and breathe in a healthy environment.

What can I do to ensure that Colorado enacts these new rules?

The oil and gas industry has deep pockets. But Coloradans have a loud collective voice. It is critical that Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commissioners hear it.

Our future depends on clean air. We need pollution reduction strategies across the state that will help us solve our air pollution problems. That starts with stronger methane rules. 

Use your voice to help us protect our air, our climate, and our Colorado.