I am pleased to know that regulations endorsed by John Hickenlooper are being considered by the Air Quality Control Commission in February. Governor Hickenlooper certainly understands our current need for natural gas and has been a friend of the oil and gas industry.
Further, he knows that stricter regulation will not bring an end to the lucrative business of gas development. He knows that there is technology available right now to help detect dangerous gas leaks and fix them. The governor understands that by implementing these rules, we have the real possibility of lowering emissions of volatile organic compounds by gas development to an amount which is the equivalent of annual Colorado auto emissions. The business-man in Mr. Hickenlooper knows that lowering VOCs in our air means bluer skies, healthier air that we and our children breathe, while helping us keep a vital driver of our state's economy, tourism, vibrant.
What has this got to do with Delta County? We currently have mostly good air quality and do not have all of the problems of the Denver metro area. There is, though, the completely natural phenomenon of frequent, long-lasting thermal inversions in our valleys. These cold air masses locked in next to the ground prevent the removal of pollutants by natural mixing. The result can be a concentration of potentially harmful gasses right where most of our population lives. While gas and oil exploration and production in Delta County is now at a minimum we cannot assume that it will stay that way in the future. Low natural gas prices have slowed development here but continued rising demand promises that sometime in the future activity will resume and grow.