Op-eds and Columns

The Hill Op-ed: Trump administration’s costly one-two punch for taxpayers

To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, a million here, several tens of thousands of dollars there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Much has been written in recent weeks about cabinet secretaries’ profligate use of charter aircraft at the taxpayers’ expense. While Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price racked up almost a million dollars in flights this year — a revelation that led to his abrupt resignation — other Trump administration officials including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have also been racking up the miles.

Zinke’s more than $12,000 charge for a charter flight home to Montana and Pruitt’s $58,000 in private and military flights should rightly raise the hackles of taxpayers.

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Denver Business Journal Op-ed: Strengthen Colorado’s air quality, preserve the economy

While Colorado has made huge strides in recent years to maintain a strong economy and strong environmental protections, air quality remains a challenge across the Front Range. From Fort Collins to Highlands Ranch, we still fail to meet national clean air standards.

Clean air is a nonnegotiable for Coloradans. Without it, we cannot enjoy our beautiful blue skies and our quality of life is degraded.

At current levels, the ozone (smog) in the Front Range poses a significant health risk to children and seniors – especially those with asthma or other respiratory problems. In Colorado, more than 30,000 childhood asthma attacks are attributable to our current ozone levels.

Santa Fe New Mexican Op-ed: Control of fugitive methane essential to health

I am a resident of Aztec, N.M. My family homesteaded here in the early 1900s — we’ve been farmers, ranchers and oil and gas workers. We are well-acquainted with the numerous gas wells in our city’s limits. Twenty-five of them are within a mile radius of my house. Twelve of those wells have directly impacted me, my family and hundreds of our close neighbors for decades. It is hard to understand how the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management can justify staying their methane rules.

My family and I “exist” under the Four Corners methane hot spot, which research has found to be mainly emitted from the 40,000 oil and gas wells and facilities in our area. The high level of ground-level ozone smog is extremely hazardous to our health. According to the state Department of Health, our children and the elderly have high incidences of asthma, respiratory disease, cancer and cardiac disease.

My daughter has serious asthma. She fights for every breath when she has an asthma attack. My first husband worked in the natural gas industry for over 20 years. He died of a massive heart attack at the age of 44 in 1989. Many of the men who worked with him have died from lung disease and cancer. Perhaps they are “collateral damage” victims of the fossil fuel industry.

Huffington Post Op-ed: For The Health Of Latino Families, The EPA Methane Rule Must Stay In Place

Public comments for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed two-year suspension of the Methane Rule are closing today—and the Agency may move ahead in suspending the rule in the coming weeks. If you haven’t been following this issue closely, allow me to catch you up.

From day one, the Trump Administration has worked to roll back or altogether block a number of rules and laws intended to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and to protect the planet we live on for generations to come. Unfortunately, while EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment, the agency’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, is building a record of prioritizing corporate polluters over American lives. Do not just take my word for it: When Administrator Pruitt proposed this delay, EPA career staff raised concerns acknowledging such a delay would hurt children’s health.

Arizona Republic Op-ed: Keeping methane regulations is a win for our health, security

Smart business leaders know that wasting resources is bad for your bottom line and the American
economy as a whole.

That is why we were so pleased when in mid-May, the U.S. Senate — including Arizona’s Sen. John McCain — stood up for good public policy and new American businesses by voting against a bill that would have rolled back the Bureau of Land Management’s
Methane Waste Rule.

The measure, which failed 51-49, would have led to the continued waste of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-owned energy resources.

The Washington Post LTE: Keep the methane rule

As members of the team that developed the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, we write to thank Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) for joining their Democratic and independent colleagues in successfully opposing a congressional resolution to overturn that rule.

The United States is the largest natural gas producer in the world, yet the public does not benefit fully from this energy resource. Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands leaked, released or flared enough gas to supply more than 6 million households for a year. This wasted gas pollutes the air and costs federal taxpayers, states and tribes millions in lost royalties. The BLM rule will require producers to repair leaks, replace outdated equipment and use industry-developed best practices to reduce other losses. But the rule faces another threat: At President Trump’s direction, the Interior Department stated that it will review and “suspend, revise, or rescind” the rule. Thus far, this administration has focused on environmental rules’ costs, willfully ignoring the climate crisis and the public-health benefits of reducing pollution. Any changes to the methane rule must be made through a fair and open rulemaking process. If the department engages in such a process, its experts will conclude — as before — that there are cost-effective ways to reduce gas waste, recoup appropriate royalties for the public, reduce impacts on nearby communities, and protect public and Indian lands, air, water and wildlife for future generations.

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Denver Post op-ed: Federal methane guidelines modeled on Colorado’s rule, also necessary

“And even though it’s still relatively new, positive results are already obvious. A survey of oil and gas operators in the state earlier this year, conducted by the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions, showed that Colorado’s rule has improved air quality and promoted worker safety. Also, many in industry are profiting because, instead of releasing natural gas into the atmosphere, it is being used to heat homes and power buildings.”

The Hill op-ed: Capturing methane: turning environmental costs into revenues

For companies motivated to be proactive, we recommend focusing on fixing the leaks from the wells that leak the most methane.  We would also strive for early compliance, that is comply with the rules at a faster pace than required by the new rules.  By capturing the methane revenue earlier in time the economic return from compliance will increase along with corporate social responsibility – both of which can attract investors.

Boulder Daily Camera-Cracking down on oil and gas and investing in renewables

NMPolitics.net: Land commissioner should back measures to end natural gas waste

Wasting our natural resources goes against what we teach our kids. Hunters and anglers use all of what we kill or catch, and we feel the same about our natural resources – including taxpayer-owned natural gas resources on our public lands.


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