Regulators Worry Oil and Gas Development Means More Ozone

Surely you’ve noticed that it’s hooooooooot outside. Bake your brains kind of hot. You-shouldn’t-be-working-in-an-upstairs-office-without-air conditioning-kind-of-hot (yes, that, unfortunately, means me.)

Along with the heat comes high ozone levels, higher than the federal health limit of 80 parts per billion. Lots of ozone means trouble for kids-or anyone-with asthma.

Some 120,000 kids in Colorado reportedly had asthma as of 2003, according to a report by the American Lung Institute. The same report shows that number of cases of asthma in Colorado adults increased by a whopping 47% from 2000 to 2003, from 289,301 to 424,685.Local air pollution regulators are “wary,” reports the Rocky Mountain News, that high ozone levels are due in part to increased oil and gas activity in Weld and Adams counties northeast of Denver. Apparently recent figures show that ozone-forming compounds that are a side product of oil and gas activity may be more than 60 percent above projections.

Vickie Patton, a senior attorney with Environmental Defense put her finger directly on the problem when she told the Rocky:

The question is, whether state policy makers sit back and wait until . . . there’s a formal declaration that we’re out of compliance with federal health standards or put preventative measures in place that will protect human health sooner.

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About the Author

Nancy Watzman

is a Denver-based writer.

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