NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 1ST

OIL & GAS COMMISSION TO CONSIDER STRICT NEW RULES

Colorado state oil and gas regulators yesterday completed groundbreaking proposals for groundwater protection and the reduction of drilling impacts near homes for consideration next week before the nine-member Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The draft rules follow months of stakeholder meetings and public participation, including nearly a year of presentations and comment on the issue of how best to balance energy production with the need to minimize impacts on residences from nearby oil and gas development.

The two sets of rules were developed with extensive input from local governments, farmers and ranchers, the environmental community, homeowners, the energy industry, home builders, mineral owners, environmental health specialists and business leaders. COGCC staff spent much of 2012 engaging these stakeholders in order to develop rules that protect the public health and environment while providing the flexibility needed to allow for production of energy that all Coloradans depend upon in everyday life, creates and sustains thousands of jobs and is critical to the state’s economy.

“These proposed rules reinforce Colorado’s role as a national pacesetter in the comprehensive and progressive regulation of oil and gas exploration and production,” said Matt Lepore, director of the COGCC, the state’s regulatory agency that staffs the Governor-appointed Commission. “These proposals contain mitigation standards unprecedented nationally and mark yet another step forward in fashioning a model regulatory framework that strikes a balance that’s right for Colorado.”

“At the same time, we understand that our draft rules will leave no one set of interests completely satisfied, and provide various targets for those who want to see it done differently,” Lepore said. “And yet, we expect most everyone who participated will see elements and concepts in these proposals that they helped initiate and push forward.”

Components of the proposals include:

- The new rules will require operators to meet enhanced mitigation, notice and outreach requirements when drilling near residences beginning at 1,000 feet. Setbacks in previous rules of 350 feet (urban) and 150 feet (rural) will now be 500 feet statewide.

- New measures to limit impacts may include pit-less drilling, steel berms and underground liners, strict dust and lighting controls and capture of gasses to reduce odors and emissions.

- Operators must engage in expanded notice and outreach efforts with nearby residents and conduct additional engagement with local governments about proposed operations.

- Operators must conduct sampling of water wells near drilling sites both before and after drilling activities to ensure drinking water aquifers are protected. This would make Colorado the only state to require sampling both pre- and post-drilling.

- Operators cannot operate within 1,000 feet of buildings housing larger numbers of people, such as schools, nursing homes and hospitals without a hearing before the Commission.

These proposals will be considered during public hearings scheduled for January 7, 8 and 9 before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The Commission can modify the proposal, or pursue other options, based on testimony during this hearing, and in previous hearings that have taken place on these matters in recent weeks.

The upcoming hearings will take place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The Commission includes representatives from across Colorado. Seats are filled by members with expertise in environmental and wildlife protection, agriculture, soil conservation, oil and gas production and regulatory oversight.

 

What You Need to Fight the Flu and Common Cold

While last year’s cold and flu season was mild, experts say this year could bring you a wallop of sniffles and sneezes. While there is no cure for the cold or flu, despite what mom says about her soup, over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide relief for the most common symptoms. And these guidelines can help you better navigate the cold and flu aisle:


Sneezing Got You Down?

OTC antihistamines can provide relief from sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical in the body that triggers congestion and upper respiratory discomfort.

Constant Cough

Cough suppressants, also known as antitussives, basically tell your brain to stop coughing. One commonly used cough suppressant is dextromethorphan, which relieves cough symptoms but doesn’t speed recovery.

If you’re producing mucus, however, don’t take a cough suppressant. Instead, look for an expectorant, a medicine that helps thin the mucus in the lungs and soothe an irritated respiratory tract.

All Clogged Up!

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine (PSE) relieve a stuffy nose and congestion by actually narrowing the blood vessels in nasal passages so you can breathe more easily.

PSEs are now located behind the pharmacy counter because they are an ingredient that can be used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine (meth). Rest assured though, PSE has been safely used for decades.

If you’re clogged up, consider treating your symptoms and doing your part to keep your community safer at the same time. Ask your pharmacist about new Nexafed 30mg pseudoephedrine HCl tablets, the next-generation PSE that provides the same effective cold and allergy relief from standard PSEs, but with technology that disrupts the extraction and conversion of pseudoephedrine into methamphetamine.

Stop the Pain

If your symptoms include muscle aches or high fever, consider an analgesic or painkiller. Most OTC analgesics fall in to two categories:  acetaminophen or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Both medications can reduce fever and ease aches and pains from the flu or cold.

Scratchy Throat

Help ease throat pain with cough drops or throat spray. While not a cure-all, cough drops or hard candy can help provide relief from a dry, tickling cough. Also consider taking a warm shower or using a vaporizer to increase the moisture of indoor air.

No matter what your symptoms are, it’s important to get some rest and stay hydrated. Doctors recommend six to eight hours of sleep every night to fight and prevent illnesses and keep the immune system healthy.

If you have any questions or doubts about which medications may be best for you, talk with your pharmacist. And if symptoms worsen or last for more than two weeks, be sure to see your doctor.

More tips on how to prevent and treat a cold or the flu can be found HERE.

Don’t needlessly suffer this season. With the right treatment, you can help alleviate your cold and flu symptoms.