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Colorado Governor targets oil & gas in move to reduce ozone levels. Operations above 50 TPY ozone precursors emissions become Major Sources under “Serious Non-Attainment” rules.

May 2, 2019

On March 26, 2019 Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced he was rescinding a request to the Environmental Protection Agency that would have given the state more time to come into compliance with ozone limits, according to an April 4, 2019 Denverite report.

Ozone levels around the Denver metro area have long been over EPA’s accepted limits. The agency first raised a red flag in 2004, then the region was officially designated as a “nonattainment” area in 2008 and again in 2012. Since then, levels have not improved, which means the EPA is may soon downgrade the state’s status to “serious nonattainment.”

As a result, oil and gas operations in the region that have not previously been deemed “major sources” could soon receive that designation, which comes with new hoops to jump through and higher fees.

Right now, any operation that emits more than 100 tons of ozone or ozone precursors each year are designated as “major sources” and have to file for a Title V operating permit, which was created under the Clean Air Act. When the Front Range slips into “serious nonattainment” in July, the threshold for requiring Title V permit will drop to 50 tons per year.

Garry Kaufman, director of Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division, told Denverite that local Title V permit holders currently represent all kinds of industries, from power generation to breweries. The Coors plant in Golden, for instance, is one of them. But the breakdown is less diverse when it comes to businesses that emit between 50 and 100 tons per year.

“They’re mostly oil and gas,” he said.

Some of those companies might find ways to lower their emissions, while others will be subject to the new regulation and be required to offset their releases.

The governor’s announcement came days before the Colorado Senate passed a controversial bill meant to give municipalities more control over where oil and gas development can take place inside their borders.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association said the “industry is a committed stakeholder” in lowering emissions across the state.

What this means to you
Colorado Governor Polis has rescinded a request to EPA to buy more time to meet ozone compliance levels. Under serious non-attainment (July 2019) the emission threshold for requiring Title V permits will drop to 50 tons per year ozone or ozone precursors. The breakdown of businesses that emit between 50 and 100 tons per year is mostly oil and gas according to Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division.

MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine emissions solutions in Colorado.