EPA eyes oil and gas impacts on Colorado air quality even as Jackson takes more heat in Copenhagen

Hard on the heels of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announcing greenhouse gas emissions pose a public health threat, the agency’s Denver office said it will review air pollution standards for oil and gas operations.

According to the Associated Press, the latest announcement comes in response to a January complaint filed by WildEarth Guardians and the San Juan Citizens Alliance arguing the EPA hasn’t updated oil and gas drilling air quality standards for years despite increased a recent drilling boom in Colorado.

The groups also contend the feds should set standards for greenhouse gas emissions caused by the industry. An industry trade group based in Denver, the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, countered that oil and gas operators have made major strides in reducing emissions associated with production.

Jackson, meanwhile, continued to answer questions about the timing of the EPA greenhouse gas emissions announcement, made just ahead of the ongoing United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.
Speaking there today, Jackson said the timing was coincidental and that any EPA regulation of greenhouses gases would compliment badly needed legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. The House has already passed a climate change bill.

Some European nations are viewing the EPA announcement as a sign by the Obama administration that it will regulate emissions regardless of whether Congress produces a tough climate bill, complete with cap and trade.

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