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Hey Gov: You're Right on Zero Tolerance

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As an organization of young people, we're pretty protective of the state of Colorado. Obsessive, even -- just like most Coloradans. And we'd like to live here for, well, ever. So we're willing to work to make sure that stays true.

That's why we were excited to hear about Governor Hickenlooper's remarks on regulating air emissions from oil and gas operations at a recent event in Aspen -- because stringently regulating those emissions makes it easier and safer to breathe in Colorado. Which is a pretty important component of living here. Maybe the most important.

Since those emissions contribute to the creation of unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (read: things you do not want in your lungs), we were encouraged to hear our governor indicate that he understands our concerns about health and air quality.

The governor stated that he believes there should be a zero tolerance standard for methane emissions. We agree -- so if he is really working to implement strong rules regulating air emissions and is ready to hold industry to a zero tolerance standard for methane emissions, we at New Era Colorado are ready to loudly and enthusiastically stand with him and support his call for strong regulation of air emissions from oil and gas operations.

This could be a turning point for our governor and for Colorado. The governor has typically had what we believe is an all too-cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry -- but when it comes to air pollution, he has an opportunity to stand with the Colorado families and children who deserve clean air and like living here.

In raw audio footage posted by Aspen Public Radio, the governor told a group of people talking with him about their concerns about health impacts of oil and gas operations and methane specifically:

"The industry has to belly up to the bar and hold themselves to a zero tolerance and I think they'll do it."

The governor also validated concerns his administration has long dismissed about how close oil and gas operations have moved to neighborhoods when he said: "Oil and gas is an industrial process that none of us want in our backyard."

That's the kind of leadership we've been waiting for from our governor.

We're working to inherit a healthy planet, and specifically a healthy Colorado. Natural gas is only a better fuel source than coal and oil if extraction, storage and transportation is done right. And since emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds negate the positive impact this cleaner-burning fuel can have, creating a zero tolerance standard for harmful emissions -- which often come from leaky or improperly operated equipment -- is a critical and reasonable standard to set.

Colorado wouldn't be Colorado (aka, the place we want to live forever) without a clean environment or a high standard of public health -- so we hope that Governor Hickenlooper holds true to his promising statements. We want to work with Governor Hickenlooper to create common-sense regulations that work for our economy and our well-being. It's time for him to side with Colorado families and children and ensure that the oil and gas industry will "belly up to the bar" and do what's right.