Commissioners approve funding for air emissions study surrounding natural gas drilling and completion operations

October 30, 2012

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has signed a formal agreement with Colorado State University (CSU) to provide substantial funding for an academic study to collect data on air emissions surrounding well pad activities in Garfield County. The BOCC committed $1 million towards the $1.77 million study from its Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund. The balance of study funding will come from gifts to CSU, including from oil and gas companies. The air emissions study will be conducted over a three-year period beginning in the fall of 2012, and concluding in the fall of 2015.

The BOCC expressed unanimous support for the project in August, and finalization of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) now allows Colorado State University (CSU) researchers to conduct the study.

The IGA outlines that the purpose of the project is to characterize and quantify air emissions emitted from natural gas drilling and well completion operations, which include hydraulic fracturing and flow back processes. Air emissions will be measured at various distances, upwind and downwind, from several well sites across Garfield County. The project scope is not designed to, and will not consider or quantify impacts, including health impacts, potential pollutants or their concentrations may have. Instead, the air emissions data will be made available for public use.

Professor Jeffrey Collett, Jr., of CSU, is designated as the Principal Investigator, and is responsible for completing the scope of work. The IGA requires timely disclosure of any hazardous conditions that may be discovered in the course of the study.

Environmental Health Manager Paul Reaser and Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn are Garfield County’s liaisons for the study. CSU will provide progress reports and submit monthly invoices to the county; however, documents, data, methodologies and results will remain confidential property of CSU until all data are collected, reviewed and provided as a whole to the public at the conclusion of the study.

The proposal from CSU for the study, titled Characterizing Air Emissions from Natural Gas Drilling and Well Completion Operations in Garfield County, Colorado, and the associated IGA, as well as press releases regarding the study, are available on the Garfield County website at

Air emissions study