According to the Denver Post, Oil and gas industry leaders in Colorado are pointing to a new study that revealed that methane emissions from drilling have not increased by large amounts despite the uptick in energy production across America over the past decade.
These oil and gas interests point to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder which also determined that previous studies overestimated the amount of pollution coming from oil and gas activity.
According to the UC Boulder paper, “The assumption of a time‐constant relationship between methane and ethane emissions has resulted in major overestimation of an oil and gas emissions trend in some previous studies.”
A news release dealing with this topic claimed that previous studies failed to observe that ethane-to-methane ratios are increasing, which causes major overestimations of oil and gas emissions trends.
The paper’s main author Xin Lan said in the release, “What this means is if you want to track methane, you have to measure methane.”
A post published by Energy in Depth highlighted how natural gas production was up 51% and oil production rose 80% from 1990 to 2017 without emissions increasing as much. This demonstrates that recent extraction ventures have not polluted as much as those in the past.
This study has unfortunately come at a time when Colorado just passed one of its most anti-growth economic policies, SB 181. Under SB 181, local municipalities and Colorado’s Oil & Gas Commission will have more flexibility in micro-managing the oil and gas industry. Communities can now invent ways to impede drilling and other mineral extraction methods from taking place within their jurisdictions.
Since Jared Polis was elected in 2018 and Democrats gained control of all chambers of the Colorado State government, Colorado has shifted leftward in both governance and policy. For the past decade, Colorado has embraced policies like gun control, which has continued with Jared Polis’ recent signing of “red flag” gun confiscation orders.
If these political trends continue, Colorado can expect more infringements on economic and personal freedoms.
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