County Offices, Courts and Landfill will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the Independence Day Holiday. Critical services at Larimer County are not disrupted by closures.
EAB Meeting Minutes
January 13, 2004
Ramon Ajero Tom Bender
Jim Skarbeck Speakers
Brett Bruyere Suzette Thieman, North Front Range
Marcia Van Eden Metropolitan Planning Organization
Ray Herrmann Guests
Dale Lockwood Jill Baron, League of Women Voters
Jack Coleman Lucinda Smith, City of Fort Collins
Dave Swartz Kate Martin, Loveland Reporter-Herald
Cheryl Kolus, staff facilitator
Suellen May, note-taker
I. Citizen Comments
Jill Baron spoke about a West Nile Virus (WNV) task force that she is participating in. She said they are drafting a letter to the county regarding how they will handle WNV this summer. Jill listed the immediate need for action on a larvicide program and also an aggressive public information campaign, source reduction by emptying stagnant water, and dunkets for a reduced cost.
At the end of the meeting, Jill spoke again about the WNV task force. She said she left out the most important part. On the task force is an epidemiologist who said the mosquitoes will travel up to 5 miles in one night without wind. If there isn’t compliance within the county, there will still be an influx of mosquitoes into the city. According to Jill, Larimer County should consider some activity such as larvicides. Adulticides appear not to have worked last year and this shows that the program did not work. She said there is a City Council meeting on this issue at the end of February.
Jill said there are some concerns that pyrethroids are endocrine disruptors. There should be fewer cases of WNV after the third year, but it wasn’t that way in Pennsylvania.
Ramon mentioned that larvicides should be used early in the season and expressed concern that the county does not yet have its larviciding plan in place for 2004. Bender said they did do larviciding last year but with irrigation there is a lot of standing water. Bender said they have been getting recommendations from the health department.
Dale mentioned that you can’t determine that last year’s larviciding didn’t work because we have no baseline data to know what we would have had without the larviciding. Mosquito populations fluctuate.
Bender said he would try to get mosquito data from the health dept. for the next EAB meeting.
Jill is looking for an EAB liaison for the WNV task force. Dale volunteered.
II. Chair's Comments
III. Commissioner's Comments
Bender mentioned that the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) would like to sample herds of deer from some of the county’s parks and open lands for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in March. The DOW and the Larimer County Parks and Open Space Dept. have worked cooperatively on this issue in the past.
Bender also handed out copies of a Washington Times editorial about the Endangered Species Act and a summary of the county’s policy regarding radon.
IV. Approval of November and December Minutes
The minutes were approved without any changes.
V. Amendments to the Agenda
John Bartholow asked if we could talk about the issue of recycling glass. Ramon asked when we would discuss county input on the Forest Service’s Crystal Lakes fuels reduction project.
VI. Discussion Items
Suzette Thieman, Nonattainment as it relates to ozone issues (see Attachment I for her presentation)
Suzette is a transportation planner with the North Front Range MPO. The area of concern is 40 by 40 square miles. Ozone has biogenic and anthropogenic sources.
Ozone is a health concern because it can be a respiratory irritant. A big problem is flash emissions from condensate collection, storage, processing and handling operations for oil and gas wells. Weld and Larimer Counties have high concentrations of VOCs. Point sources are oil and gas wells.
Suzette said that the prevailing winds go west to east, but there is a drainage basin that causes the wind to make a clockwise sweep into Denver.
There are two issues, according to Suzette; one is nonattainment. Nonattainment means we are not attaining EPA standards and are therefore out of compliance. This was determined by an 8-hour test, which is more stringent than a 1-hour test. Eleven counties will become part of the nonattainment area. These counties have to come up with strategies and controls to get back into compliance. Any plans or federal funds are subject to results of this test. EPA’s final decision on the actual nonattainment boundary is April 15, but probably not all counties will be included. They can include parts of counties in the plan.
The second issue is the Early Action Compact (EAC). This is an agreement with EPA that has an aggressive timeline. Success must be shown by 12/31/07. There is a letter asking four counties to join the compact. A lot of time and money has been invested in the compact. The area of influence is determined by modeling, by a firm called Environ.
Suzette mentioned possible initiatives, including emissions control on dehydrator towers at oil and gas operations. Oil and gas companies would be footing the bill. There also might be tailpipe inspection and maintenance testing programs. She has heard from staff at the state that it is a good test.
Larimer County must decide by February 9 whether it will join the EAC. According to Suzette, there is no downside to joining EAC. She listed some Web sites of interest: www.raqc.org and www.cdphe.state.co.us/ap/aphom.asp.
Ramon asked about strategies and control: Would the nature of the strategies be different if we were considered nonattainment without the compact? Suzette said no. Suzette also added that the changes made would be permanent, not just for the duration of the compact. Also, if we do all this and still exceed ozone standards, we are in nonattainment.
Jack asked about population increase. He suggested a more stringent control to accommodate the growing population. Suzette said they haven’t discussed populations and have mostly focused on short-term.
An inverse relationship of ozone and nitrous oxides (NOx) was suggested. NOx may suppress ozone.
A member asked if there was an increase in the number of wells in the region. Suzette wasn’t certain but added that there are 26,000 wells in Colorado, with 12,000 in Weld County.
Gas wells are increasing, according to one member.
Brett said population growth has increased, but in the past 5-10 years emissions have not necessarily increased.
Ramon asked when a decision would be made on joining the compact. Bender said it would be January 15, with more information available Thursday evening.
There are two decisions to be made: whether to join the EAC and the boundary.
One member asked what the benefit would be to the county to change the boundary. Suzette said the EPA is open to hearing a change of boundary, but they want to hear it from the county.
Ramon asked Commissioner Bender how he would decide about the compact. Bender said a lot would be based on tonight’s meeting and the Thursday meeting and getting feedback from the EAB.
Regarding wells, Dave Swartz said that the county gets punished for something it can’t control. EAC is pushing a tight timeline, according to one member, yet had been in the works for a year.
The compact the county is being asked to enter into already exists. According to Suzette, counties probably will not be asked to contribute money, just so the compact doesn’t fall apart.
One member pointed out that only two measurement points are needed to create a model.
Ramon asked if there were any downsides to not joining. Jack said if we don’t join, we will be in nonattainment and then there will be more stringent requirements.
Colorado currently has no emission controls for oil and gas.
One member asked if the municipalities have any say. Suzette said it is the county’s decision because EPA recognizes county boundaries.
John Fooks, concerned citizen, spoke. John said the number one goal is not to go out of attainment because then sanctions will fall in on us. He said we are going to go out of attainment anyway and are delaying the inevitable in 2007.
According to John:
Controls on gas wells are probably not the major control mechanism for Larimer County. There are significant errors in the model: NOx is 30 percent higher. The model does not take into account hydrocarbons.
Doug Lawson (a scientist with the National Renewable Energy Lab) conducted many studies and he says the modeling is wrong. He validated that weekend scenarios exist in Denver and Fort Collins -- ozone goes up on weekends because of less NOx. There is a lot of need for further analysis.
The downside of joining the compact is that we buy into strategies that won’t solve our problem. If you take the NOx away, we are really in trouble. We need to take away hydrocarbons.
They do take measurements on the weekend but all models are out of whack -- a 20 percent model is highly accurate.
Lucinda Smith, City of Fort Collins, said that she wanted to add two things. Fort Collins and Greeley are currently not in violation. Greeley is close. Fort Collins is 82 percent below the standard. She believes Fort Collins is not likely to violate ozone unless perhaps we get more hot summers. The monitor is located at Laurel and Mason.
Suzette said we will stay nonattainment or maintenance for 20 years if we don’t go with the compact.
Bender noted that if the county joins, we can have political leverage to make sure alternatives are provided. EPA designates areas and starts at the county level. If a violation occurs in RMNP, the county is in violation.
A motion was initiated by one member for Larimer County to join the EAC. John Bartholow asked why that should be the case. Marcia said we would be in nonattainment for 20 years. John asked if that would be bad given the problems we have.
Brett said that, according to people he knows, that would be bad. If we are contributing to Denver’s ozone then we need to contribute to helping.
Ramon asked what would be the best way to address nonattainment versus joining the EAC.
Brett said the EAC probably would have more collaboration.
John said the goal should be to reduce pollutants overall. Ramon asked if the measures with the EAC are equivalent to what we would be forced to do. He commented that he was still not sure about the downside of being designated nonattainment.
The motion to join the EAC passed with one opposed (Ramon) and two abstentions (John and Dave).
A second motion suggested was regarding the boundary and discussion of the exact wording followed.
Bender said he thinks they will have to decide about input on the boundary Thursday.
Jack mentioned that the altitude could possibly affect RMNP having higher ozone levels than urban areas.
Jill Baron said NOx consumes ozone therefore it makes sense that there would be higher concentrations in rural areas outside of cities. She suggested that these materials travel via wind.
The second motion was that if Larimer County joins the EAC, controls should be reconsidered -- in addition to what exists -- so that they can include more methods to reduce ozone. If the commissioners decide to join, the county’s participation should be contingent on control alternatives and possibly other modeling. The motion passed with all in favor.
The third motion suggested was regarding the boundary, and discussion ensued. Dale said you could base it on population density. Brett said there is no reason to have western Larimer County as part of the plan.
Third Motion: Brett motioned that the BCC give input about including within the boundary only areas in Larimer County that appear to be contributing to the ozone problem.
Bender said there is an emission control area established and that would not include RMNP. The boundary will be based on areas that are causing the problem. The motion passed with two opposed (Ramon and Dave) and two abstentions (John and Jack).
Elections of new officers
Nominations for a new chair and vice-chair were taken from the floor. John nominated Ramon for chair; Jack seconded. Ramon accepted the nomination. Jim nominated Ray for chair; Marcia seconded.
Ramon said he is frustrated about the effectiveness of the board and is sorry to lose two members. Ramon wants to change that and will make fundamental changes. Ray doesn’t think the board has been as ineffective as Ramon does.
Results: Ray will continue as chair. Marcia nominated Ramon for vice-chair and he accepted. Ramon will continue as vice-chair.
Ray asked if anyone had anything specific to discuss about 1041 (the authority of the county to limit certain activities such as water development). No comments were offered.
Recycling and glass
Jack has a 6-page handout. The next Recycling Committee meeting is Feb. 4, which will be a key meeting. At the next two meetings they will focus on a draft outline for an RFP. It will capture the goals and objectives of the committee. The county might be able to break even in the solid waste business.
John discussed glass recycling. Glass is currently recycled, but the only profitable type is amber glass. Clear and green has had a checkered past, sometimes just discarded or used as alternate daily cover (ADC) at the landfill. Members questioned whether we should continue losing $3,500/yr for recycling all glass. There are issues of wear and tear on machines and workmen’s compensation.
Jack suggested using a glass crusher so that CDOT could use it in roads for strength and agility.
Ray said he thinks we are not losing enough money to stop recycling glass. John asked Cheryl’s thoughts. Cheryl thinks they should continue recycling glass.
Posting EAB meeting notices
A motion passed that designates the south door of the Larimer County Courthouse Offices for the posting of EAB meeting notices. All approved.
Citizen meetings are posted in the paper but not other meetings. Dave suggested that more involvement be solicited from the public.
Dave asked that we come back to the issue of environmental policy at a later date.
CWD management activities on county lands
Dale wants to know what the purpose of the culling is. John clarified that this technique is just one in an arsenal of techniques. Ray suggested sending an email if there needs to be follow-up.
Ray said that if anyone had comments on the forest management plan to send it to Cheryl and Tom.
The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
North Front Range Ozone Issues
Larimer County Environmental Advisory Board
January 13, 2004
What is Ozone?
nOzone is three oxygen atoms that forms naturally in the stratosphere and at ground level
nGround level ozone is a complex mixture of VOC, NOX, and Heat
Effects of Ground Level Ozone
nRespiratory irritant - at low levels - chest pains, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion
nIt also can worsen conditions in people with bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma, and reduce lung capacity
nMaterials degradation - rubber cracking, paint damage, nylon deterioration
nPlant damage - injury to certain crops and trees
What is Nonattainment?
nIf an area violates the standard, then EPA designates “nonattainment” - a State Implementation Plan (SIP) is required
nSIP = control strategy plan with technical information
nEmission controls must be enforceable
nConformity and more stringent source controls
nTo avoid nonattainment, the Denver area entered into the Early Action Compact
Nonattainment issues and dates
nRecommend boundary revisions
nComments are due to the Colorado Department of Health by January 23rd.
nEPA final decision on actual boundary
Early Action Compact (EAC)
n35 National areas participating
nFor Denver, a multi-agency agreement
nControls implemented faster than traditional process
nRequires complex modeling
nRequires implementing controls by 12/31/05
nSuccess must be shown by 12/31/07 – attainment
nFailure to meet any of the prescriptive deadlines in EAC triggers automatic activation of nonattainment
nLarimer County must join by 2/9/04
EAC Control Measure Recommendations
nFlash emissions – from condensate collection, storage, processing and handling operations
nEngines – Stationary engines larger than 250 horsepower
nGasoline RVP – Evaporative rate from 9.0 to either 8.1 or 7.8 psi
nEmissions control on dehydrator towers at oil & gas operations
nBasic I/M in Fort Collins and Greeley?? – Only used in Denver
EAC Issues and Dates
nDeadline to join February 9th.
nAPCD – no downside to joining the EAC
nTotal ramifications unknown
Websites and further information
nDenver Regional Air Quality Council
nColorado Department of Health