Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

EAB Meeting Minutes - draft

August 10, 2004

 

 

EAB

Sanjay Advani

Ramon Ajero

Ray Herrmann

Dale Lockwood

Jim Skarbek

Dave Swartz

Marcia Van Eden

Sherman Worthington

Bill Zawacki

 

Commissioners

Commissioner Tom Bender

 

Speakers

Doug Ryan

Larimer County Environmental Health Dept

 

Public Guests

Lucinda Smith, City of Fort Collins Natural Resources

 

Staff

Cheryl Kolus, staff liaison

Sandy Werkmeister, notetaker

 

 

I.    Amendments to the Agenda

There were no amendments to the agenda.

 

II.    Citizen Comments

None.

 

III.   Chair’s Comments

•  Ray announced that the staff liaison of this board is changing, effective for the September meeting. Doug Ryan from the Department of Health and Environment will serve as staff liaison.

•  Cheryl Kolus added that Mark Engemoen, public works director, has been working toward transferring facilitator duties of the board back to the Department of Health & Environment ever since the [former] Natural Resources Department became mostly focused on solid waste. He felt that Health & Environment is more involved in issues of concern to the Environment Advisory Board, and therefore a better fit as liaison.

•  Doug said that the board will continue to meet at the same location and same time at least for the rest of 2004. This is the Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building, Carter Lake Room.

 

IV.   Commissioner’s Comments

None

 

V.   Approval of July minutes

Minutes were approved after amendments made to

pg 1, paragraphs 5 & 6,

pg 2, paragraph 3,

pg 4, paragraph 2 and

pg 5, paragraph 6.

 

VI.   Discussion Items

Policy Considerations for Vehicle Inspection/Maintenance – Doug Ryan, Larimer County Health & Environment

Doug Ryan presented a PowerPoint presentation regarding the current Inspection/Maintenance (I/M) Program. The fate of this program will be decided by end of year. Copies of the PowerPoint slides were distributed to the board members.

The North Area (Larimer and Weld County) I/M Program was started when carbon monoxide was not being contained. It is a 2-speed idle test. Redline is 100% of standard (nine parts per million). In 1991 we were at 109%, but are now below 40%.

I/M was removed from the list of federal requirements in 2002, but it is still part of Colorado state regulations. The Air Quality Control Commission is planning to schedule a rule-making hearing late in 2004 to consider removing the basic I/M program from state regulation.

The board received the North Front Range I/M Options Analysis report prepared by the Colorado State Health Department. The report was prepared to examine the value of the I/M program as an ozone control strategy. The report is based on the air quality model set up by the state. The report indicates that mobile source volatile organic compounds (VOCs) attributable to the basic I/M program are very small in comparison to other mobile and stationary sources.

Staff from the Air Pollution Control Division concluded that the basic I/M program is too expensive to the public for too little benefit: $6,167,125 per year. ($25 every other year for each vehicle owner.)

•  Revenue to inspection shops ­— $6,060,148 (for performing the tests)

•  Revenue to counties — $201,676

•  Revenue to the state — $423,163 (goes to running the computers, training, etc.)

EPA standards state that you can only have necessary controls. Therefore, the state is going to recommend dropping the basic I/M program. In September, there will be a public notice about this. A decision will be made in December.

Regarding ozone levels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted an 8-hour ozone standard in 1997. Compliance was based on a 3-year average of fourth highest annual level. Values of less than 85 parts per billion = attainment. This region violated standard for 2001-03 (based on monitoring stations in the Denver metro area). There are twelve ozone-monitoring stations in Denver and the Front Range. It is looking like we will be over the .85 for 2002-04.

The Early Action Compact (EAC), containing the controls that were found necessary, was made between Metro Denver communities, Larimer County, Weld County and the EPA. Three controls were set to control emissions of Volatile Organic Chemical (VOC) precursors:

1.   Lowering the vapor pressure (for vapors escaping during fill-up)

2.   Enhanced I/M area program modifications

3.   Oil and gas industry controls

These 3 choices were made based on a cost ratio perspective.

Larimer County signed on to the Compact last year, requesting party status. Larimer County asked for consideration of north area I/M as an ozone control strategy, as a safety measure through 2007. Arguments for keeping the I/M Program were included in the written materials provided to the EAB.

Lucinda Smith, from City of Fort Collins Natural Resources Department, also answered questions from the EAB, and indicated that the city is considering the same issues as the county.

Discussion ensued, with many questions and the following answers/facts:

On the graphs, the immediate decline followed by a slower decline is indicative of the declining importance over time of I/M as the fleet of cars becomes newer, although there will always be a mixture of older cars and newer cars.

The state has no plan to re-do the model.

The reason for higher levels of ozone in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is not known for sure. Suggested reasons are the upslope from Boulder and natural or biological trees/turpentine. The station recording in that area is located on the Boulder/Larimer County line close to Allenspark.

We are continually monitoring ozone, so comparisons can be made to the predictive model from now until 2007, to see if we are on track to stay below required level.

The emission van around town identifies clean vehicles. If you clean screen twice you get a postcard that allows you to just pay the $25 without stopping to have your tailpipe checked.

The federal EPA standard for tailpipe emissions would continue. Newer, computer controlled cars emit substantially less than older cars.

Lucinda Smith reported that a survey in the summer of 2002 found that 62% of Fort Collins residents thought the current program was of value.

Jim Skarbek suggested that surveying more than just Fort Collins could give better numbers. Lucinda agreed and said she is also looking at working with Greeley for a regional analysis.
Fort Collins has just one ozone-checking site, located on Mason Street. It was suggested to install a second one so we can see ozone values in more than just one spot. The cost of setting up another site was not known for sure, but ball parked at $40,000. Lucinda reported that there is supposedly going to be another station installed on CSU Foothills campus. However, the state will not use the numbers unless they approve the site.

The weather does seem to affect ozone readings. The measurement of ozone is machine level in the air. Still air for a couple of days usually provides for ozone alerts. The summer of 2003 was unusually hot and dry and alerts were up. If we follow predicted trends, cooler summers for several years could certainly provide for lower levels.

The majority of oil and gas VOCs are actually in Weld County. However, where the highest levels of ozone will be recorded depends on the wind. The cause of Larimer County non-mobile sources are mobile emissions, yard equipment, stationary engines, point sources (industries with air permits).

MBTE is not used in Colorado and has not been for many years. Ethanol actually increased the vapor pressure, increasing the volatility. The EPA allows a one-pound increase of gasoline vapor pressure for ethanol fuel. There is an argument to stop using ethanol as an additive; however, this was not incorporated into the Early Action Compact.

Even when the ozone level is at a compliant level, such as in the parts per million range, the level can still be significant enough to affect some people who are very sensitive and experience symptoms under the standard. Ozone level alerts are actually submitted at 75 ppb because of this fact.

The I/M Program makes little difference with ozone on the model provided by the state, so the need for keeping it as a safety net is questionable. However, it does make a difference in other toxins. And the program controls CO (carbon monoxide) very well. But the state says this is no longer needed. We are well below the level and cars produced today do not emit CO at significant levels. We are getting more reductions from new cars than the program provides.

Given that over 50% of VOCs is from non-mobile sources, it would seem more appropriate to regulate these sources, but the I/M Program money of $6 million cannot be used arbitrarily. It is a user-funded program, generating money for itself only, by the $25 fee for the test. There is not $6 million set aside anywhere. It can be modified, with legislation, if it remains. If it is dropped, we would have to start over to do some other type of regulation.

There is not a quantifier for the education piece of the program (reminding people to tune up the car so they can pass the test).

Lucinda reported that there is actually a law on the books about smoking vehicles. It is a case of lack of reporting and/or enforcement. No answer to other similar types of regulations that exist but just not enforced.

Stationary emitters are required to have air emission permits. Larimer County Health and Environment inspects permitted minor sources, and the state inspects major sources. Doug was asked to encourage the state to look again at the stationary emitters. Colorado is one of the few states that has not regulated the oil and gas emissions now under the Early Action Compact

The EAB did not make a definitive choice about whether to support keeping the I/M Program as it is. If the I/M program were changed, it should be modified to achieve what we most need from it without doing harm in other areas by backsliding. It does not make sense to lose ground.

 

Colorado Wolf Management – Commissioner Tom Bender

•  Commissioner Bender reported that he is serving on the group developing the Colorado Gray Wolf Management Plan. He mentioned that he most often finds himself in conflict resolution and/or facilitator roles between the two sides.

•  Bender stated that the only states required to have a wolf management plan (to track numbers) are those that are reintroducing the wolves. Even though Colorado is not required to have a plan, as wolves begin to migrate in, we will have to manage them. We are positioned as such that we will receive gray wolves through migration from states that are reintroducing the wolf. Namely, Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park), Montana, Idaho and a bit further into the future, the Mexican wolf from Arizona and New Mexico.

•  He believes that the two groups (for and against allowing wolves to survive in Colorado) are actually starting to come together a little bit, due to receiving good, solid input from other groups around the country who have successfully implemented wildlife reintroduction programs. These groups are sharing their expertise on what has and has not worked.

•  Bender stated that developing the management plan document is the only area he is serving on.

 

Bender shared some of the key points in discussion at this time:

•  One of the worries with wolves is their taking of elk and the age disparity created within the herd. Wolves prefer middle-aged elk and bull elk at their weakest time of year.

•  Fish and Wildlife set up the Western District to read that after they had 30 breeding pair, they would be delisted. It is believed there is currently at least 50 breeding pair but they have not been delisted. (The required numbers are for western district, not state by state.)

•  When introduced into the west, livestock owners were guaranteed payment for losses. However, wolves eat everything, so it is difficult to prove that a wolf took an animal. The rancher will not be compensated unless he can prove it.

•  Fish and Wildlife says it is okay to defend yourself and your livestock. The Endangered Species Act, however, does not provide this accommodation and may need to be modified to reflect this.

 

Bender distributed the following documents to the Board:

1.   Working Group Members of developing a Colorado Gray Wolf Management Plan

2.   Small Group categories of the Working Group

3.   An email from Mike Bond detailing the sizes of contiguous wild areas in Colorado

4.   An email from Gary Skiba regarding the size of Rocky Mountain National Park compared to Yellowstone National Park

5.   Colorado Wolf Management Plan - DRAFT

6.   Colorado Wolf Management Plan - copy of PowerPoint presentation

7.   Idaho Trends in populations and hunter success of wolves and ungulates - copy of PowerPoint presentation

 

•  Bender said that in Colorado, the general feeling now is that the population will be allowed to expand until it becomes a problem. At that point, management will start and the population could be reduced as necessary.

•  Ramon asked Commissioner Bender his stand on the issue. Bender responded that he is for allowing the wolf population to grow without a management plan specifying a certain number of wolves, and to deal with problems as /if they arise.

•  Dave asked what the timeline was to have a plan in place. Bender responded December of 2004 and that the Wildlife Commission will have to approve it.

•  Commissioner Bender requested that any input from the EAB on the Colorado Wolfe Management Plan be submitted to him by September 24, 2004. He will take the input to the next Wolfe Management meeting on September 28.

 

New Front Range Forest Restoration – Commissioner Bender

•  Commissioner Bender reported that he serves on the Front Range Forest Restoration Roundtable.

•  The group will be providing the direction and monitoring of minimizing undesirable impacts of fuel on public and private lands.

 

He distributed the following documents to the Board:

1.   Front Range Forest Restoration Roundtable, Proposed Mission & Approach

2.   Roundtable Attendees, May 2004

 

VII.   Updates – Committee and Other

•  Cheryl reported that as of a week ago, zero nominations had been submitted for the Environmental Stewardship Award. She has had a couple of inquiries. Marcia suggested asking ones who didn’t win last year to re-apply.

•  Dave Swartz reported that the Poudre School District (PSD) and Larimer County Health and Environment did finally communicate regarding West Nile education in the schools. His sense is that the decision to send and not to send flyers about West Nile was left up to the principals of individual schools and just was not done. He chalks it up to the disorder PSD has been in the past year over the superintendent issue. Dave still feels that something more concrete needs to be in place to ensure that information such as a public health alert is communicated easily through PSD. He will take his vision of an ongoing dialogue between PSD and Health & Environment, for the benefit of the community, to the Board of Education.

•  Ray reminded everyone to continue with comments to Jack on the EAB Goals & Objectives project.

•  Bill is taking a field trip to Chimney Hollow tomorrow with Loveland Open Lands. He will report in September.

 

VIII.   Action Log Update

None.

 

IX.   Agenda for Next Meeting

Halligan-Seaman Reservoir project – City of Fort Collins / Greeley

Sub-committee meeting for Environmental Stewardship Award.

Goals & Objectives (last on the agenda)

 

X.   Motion to Adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 8:40

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.