In the USA, Colorado takes the safety of oil and gas regulations very seriously and it has arguably the toughest oil and gas safety regulations in the country. However a new report has found that Colorado ranks in third place for adverse health impacts from pollution related to oil and gas. With regards the metropolitan areas, Denver doesn’t fair much better coming in at 5th on the table according to an article by the Colorado Independent.
The reports were prepared by the Clean Air Task Force and the Earthworks organisation who used data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s inventory of national emissions. They used this information to try and isolate the specific health impacts of smog and pollution resulting from the oil and gas industry across the United States.
Many people are becoming increasingly concerned by the public health impacts of pollution and this study was an attempt to isolate the real health impact specifically from the smog and air pollution resulting from the gas and oil industry in Colorado.
The data used was sourced from state, county and local air quality regulators relating to ozone pollution. That data was then run through an industry recognized computer model to project the health consequences of these pollution levels. The sort of conditions that the model covered were things like asthma attacks, sickness and lost school days directly related to this pollution.
It’s surprising because Colorado really does make a significant effort to combat this sort of pollution – however the problem is that such pollution doesn’t stop at state borders. If Colorado is making a significant effort this can be superseded if a nearby state doesn’t match those efforts. Often the source of the pollution affecting Colorado originates somewhere completely different and the impact is felt locally.
It demonstrates that these efforts although useful need to replicated on a national level not just by individual states. Colorado is effectively being punished by other areas which are not taking the issue of pollution as seriously at they are.
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