Utes become first tribe to operate Clean Air Act program

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenMarch 10, 2012
A tribe in southwestern Colorado this week became the nation's first Native American operator of a Clean Air Act program.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the Southern Ute Indian Tribe's program Monday after nearly a decade of attempts to create an in-house permitting program to cover the reservation's 1,058 square miles that span La Plata, Archuleta and Montezuma counties.

Oil and gas rigs dot the Ignacio-based tribe's land in the natural gas-rich San Juan Basin.
Oil production on the Southern Ute reservation.




The Southern Utes even have their own gas production company, Red Willow Production Co., which operates more than 400 wells on the reservation, primarily concentrating on coal bed methane. The company partners with major operators, such as BP, Elm Ridge, ConocoPhillips and Energen.

Operating a Clean Air Act program grants the tribe authority to issue permits and perform inspections of oil and gas production. EPA officials had been responsible for permitting projects within the reservation's borders and they said they will continue to work with the tribe in an oversight capacity, as they do for state-permitting programs.

Jim Martin, the regional administrator for the EPA in Denver, called the OK “a significant step forward” for the tribe and for the environment.

“EPA’s approval reflects the tribe’s exceptional effort to build the expertise and capacity to manage air quality on the reservation,” Martin said in a prepared statement.

Home of Colorado's deepest-rooted inhabitants, the reservation includes a population of roughly 1,200 people, a casino and resort, community center, and a cultural center and museum.

“EPA approval of this program is an achievement that was envisioned by many past tribal leaders and is the culmination of extensive cooperation among the tribe, EPA, State of Colorado, La Plata County, and oil and gas industry operators," Tribal Chairman Jimmy R. Newton Jr. said in a news release.

"The tribe looks forward to administering the program in a manner that ensures protection of the reservation air shed and contributes positively to regional air quality,” he said.





Follow Troy Hooper on Twitter


comments: 0 Comments on "Utes become first tribe to operate Clean Air Act program"

Be the first to comment below.

COMMENT
Comment Form Info  Comment Information
Real Aspen encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Logged in email is required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any third-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

To make a comment, please log in or create an account. This helps us prevent spam and other malicious attacks.

Please log in to comment

 

Create a user account to comment

Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
More Weather Reports
VIDEO GALLERY
A teaser to the Winter X Games in Aspen
Methane from Bill Koch's coal mine powers Aspen Skiing Company
'Circle of Corduroy'