Letter: Ritter should oppose greenhouse gas limits

While governors from 18 U.S. states spent last Wednesday urging Congress to nix the EPA’s “harmful” regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, Gov. Bill Ritter chose to stand idly by.
The EPA’s plan will directly impact five western counties: Mesa, Rio Blanco, Gunnison, La Plata and Montezuma, yet Gov. Ritter has thus far refused to stand up for our western counties.
The EPA is attempting to change the ozone standard from .075 parts per million (ppm) to somewhere between 60 and 70 ppm.
Fifteen counties will not meet the standard if it’s changed. And with this come the potential loss in federal highway dollars, compliance costs and job loss. The industry that will get hit the hardest if the standard changes? Oil and gas. If the rule is passed, our oil and gas operators will be hit with more federal regulations and, of course, more fees.
La Plata and Montezuma counties in the San Juan Basin had 340 active drilling permits issued last year, and Gunnison, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties in the Piceance basin held nearly 800 permits in 2009. These five counties produced more than 852 million MCF of natural gas last year and four million barrels of oil.
This proposed rule doesn’t have definitive science to back it up. If you read the Federal Register on the proposed rule, you’ll see the EPA states their decision is based on “inconclusive scientific and technical information” and that the risk of harm isn’t even “precisely identified.”
I don’t want a rule that isn’t based on science and will harm an industry that is the backbone of the Western Slope. Come on Ritter, it’s time to stand up for what is right. It’s time to tell the EPA we aren’t putting up with this political move.
Sam Susuras
City councilman, Grand Junction
Chairman, Colorado Energy Forum