Claim: Dirty air in Erie linked to gas drilling

“A group of residents, who have formed under the banner Erie Rising, have complained for months that all the nearby gas drilling activity — and the emissions it produces — is causing people to come down with cases of asthma, gastrointestinal illness and worse.”

The Longmont Times Call reports:

A study showing that Erie exceeds Houston and Los Angeles in the levels of certain air pollutants commonly connected to oil and gas activity became a point of concern for several trustees Tuesday night during a meeting held to formulate local rules for resource extraction.

“I was kind of shocked by the things I heard,” said Trustee Ronda Grassi, after listening to a presentation from a research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Steven Brown, a NOAA scientist in Boulder, told the trustees and a roomful of industry experts that an air monitoring study conducted in Erie last winter revealed that levels of butane, ethane and propane — compounds associated with oil and gas drilling and production — were “large.”

Specifically, Brown said Erie’s propane levels exceeded by a factor of 10 those detected in Pasadena, Calif., in 2010…

A group of residents, who have formed under the banner Erie Rising, have complained for months that all the nearby gas drilling activity — and the emissions it produces — is causing people to come down with cases of asthma, gastrointestinal illness and worse…

“Just because there’s a chemical in a community doesn’t mean it’s going to cause harm,” she said.

Wright said it depends on dose and how long someone is exposed to the chemical. She cited a 27-year study of 19,000 past and present industry employees that showed no health impacts from drilling.

“To date, there’s no evidence of increased cancer incidents among workers who work in the oil and gas industry,” she said. “When you match perception with reality, there isn’t a health crisis.”

Cindy Allen, environmental lead for Encana Oil & Gas, said her company complies with all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules on drilling and says the regulations only get more comprehensive every year…

Read the entire report.

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