On July 28, Longmont City Council heard from Dr. Detlev Helmig, an expert in remote monitoring of air quality, with an update on recent ethane, methane, and benzene levels in Longmont. [Click HERE for the presentation link and go to 1:42 in the meeting.] Research has shown that the presence of these compounds is directly tied to oil and gas activities. Dr Helmig has been monitoring these levels - check out today’s results HERE - along with ozone, CO2, and nitrous oxide, since 2019 at two different sites in Longmont: Union Reservoir, and Vance Brand Airport. He reported that there have been significant spikes in all of these compounds since the start of 2020, and that Longmont has exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone on several occasions during the months of June and July. The original purpose of his air quality monitoring contract was so that Longmont would have the information necessary to meet its goals, as stated in the Longmont Sustainability Plan, to increase public access to local air quality information, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to this access to air quality information, we can see the impact that oil and gas production is having to increase GHG, and the dangerous impacts on air quality and health, in Longmont. Clearly, we are going in the wrong direction in our efforts to fight the climate change emergency. In addition to moving our city to renewable energy in the long run, we must address oil and gas activity more immediately. City staff reported during this same meeting that a new access road is going in just north of Union Reservoir for a new well site which will begin drilling in September.
What can we do?
Write an email to City Council members in support of:
- The need for ongoing monitoring - if we don’t have the data, we won’t have a chance at reaching our air quality goals.
- Setting up alerts that notify the public in real time when harmful pollutants such as benzene and ozone are above recommended levels.
- Extending Dr. Helmig’s contract beyond one year. City Council will be deciding whether to contract with Boulder AIR for an additional year, and without this air quality monitoring, we are blind when it comes to setting and reaching air quality goals for our city.
In addition, you can email your state legislators, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Air Quality Control Commission and the Boulder County Commissioners with your concerns about the impact of oil and gas operations in Weld County and their effect on the air quality in Boulder County.
And plan to virtually attend the August 25 City Council meeting, when Council will decide whether to extend Dr Helmig’s air quality monitoring contract with the City.
There has been recent research out of Harvard on the connection between poor air quality and COVID 19 deaths. During this pandemic, doesn’t Longmont deserve to have clean air to breathe? Shouldn’t we know what is in our air, and where these dangerous compounds are coming from? City Council needs to stand up for the health and well being of the residents of Longmont - and committing to air quality monitoring is one important step in the right direction.
Earth Day at the Museum became a Youth Panel on Climate Action. Community clean-ups morphed into a Team SRL eco-challenge. Instead of an Electric Vehicle Fair, we’ll be holding an EV Motorcade down Main Street and an EV Owners Panel this September. Even though we aren’t always out in person in the community, that doesn’t mean we aren’t working harder than ever to advocate for 100% renewable energy, educating people on how to live a zero waste lifestyle, creating new partnerships with community organizations, and finding ways to build awareness and encourage action around climate change, electric vehicles, air quality, and more. These accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without the support of our members! That’s why Sustainable Resilient Longmont is holding its first Summer Membership drive.
Here are some of our recent accomplishments:
We are offering four different membership levels, ranging from $25 - $250.
Claim your thank you gift, while supplies last, of locally handmade reusable produce bags - or a 2020 SRL t-shirt!
We think our work is pretty important...but don’t just take it from us. Here is what some of our supporters have said recently:
“I believe SRL has been a great educational and advocacy voice in Longmont, and has immensely helped move Longmont in a more sustainable direction!”
“I love how it works with and for the public but also works closely with local government to create real structural change!”
“SRL has educated thousands of people about the important issue of local sustainability. Their efforts have produced real change. Thanks for all of the hard work!”
Become a member this summer and help us continue the hard work of fighting for a more sustainable and resilient community!
This month, we're going plastic-free with a new Zero Waste webinar, free online film screening, and eco-challenges to help reduce plastic in your life and in our community. We’ll be offering a free online screening of
The Story of Plastic, which takes a sweeping look at the human-made crisis of plastic pollution and the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. We’ll finish up the month with a free webinar on July 28: Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle in the Time of COVID. We’ve got some great speakers lined up, and local community members who are rocking the zero-waste lifestyle.
To help you get started with your zero waste, plastic-free July, we have put together two community challenges you can join this summer:
1. Plastic Free EcoChallenge: Similar to our April Earth Day EcoChallenge, this July challenge is oriented around reducing plastic consumption, especially single use plastics. Join the Sustainable Resilient Longmont team and take action to live plastic-free today!
2. SRL Summer Cleanup: Help beautify our community while enjoying the outdoors! Download the Litterati app for Apple or Android and enter the code 158536 when you create your account, or simply search nearby challenges for SRL Summer Cleanup.
Help us reach our goal of 2020 pieces of litter picked up for Summer 2020!
Please share the links to these challenges with your friends, family, and social networks!
And in some good news, Colorado Senate Bill 20-055 recently passed, which supports the development of a market for recycled materials. Instead of shipping our recyclables out of state, CO businesses will now be encouraged to include more recycled materials into their products. So Recycle It Right and know that your “trash” will become a neighbor's treasure!
Finally, SRL needs you! Be a part of the Zero Waste movement in Longmont - fill out this quick form and let us know how you want to participate and be a part of the green solution.
Thank you for supporting a plastic-free, zero waste future.
As the days start to heat up, we are reminded of how critical it is that we continue our work supporting the rapid transition of Longmont’s electric generation away from fossil fuels. SRL and other local organizations have been hard at work pressuring decision makers in Longmont and at our power provider, PRPA, to read the writing on the wall and do the right thing: abandon climate change causing coal and gas and invest in solar, wind, and storage. To that end, here’s an update on our work.
Things are changing with the SRL Renewable Energy Committee!
The amazing Karen Dike has turned leadership over to Luc Nadeau, one of SRL’s new board members. And the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign is joining forces with us - allowing SRL to expand our reach and strengthen our impact. All are welcome to join us on Tuesday, June 23rd at 6:30 pm for a Zoom meeting to forge ahead with next steps.
On Tuesday, June 9th, SRL released a White Paper detailing the problems with PRPA’s current plans and calling for interim goals on the way to 100% renewable energy. Here’s an excerpt:
Portfolios 1, 2, and 4 ignore climate change and the need to rapidly move away from all carbon-based fuels. Total carbon dioxide pollution from the Rawhide power plant results in 2 million tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere per year. An additional 1 million tons, approximately, comes from the Craig power plant per year. The costs shown in the draft IRP fail to account for the social cost of carbon, which the PUC and the state legislature have recommended for utility long-range planning. It does not take into account that the EPA has deemed the Northern Front Range an ozone non-compliance area , that nitrous oxides are one of the main precursors for the formation of ground-source ozone, and that PRPA’s Rawhide coal-fired power plant is the largest single point emitter of nitrous oxides in Larimer County
Some of the other projects we’ve been involved with in the past few weeks:
Sustainable Resilient Longmont stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Social equity is one of the pillars of sustainability, and there is no environmental justice without racial justice. We believe that every person, regardless of the color of their skin, deserves to be treated fairly and with respect and dignity. Specifically, we believe there is a need for meaningful, immediate law enforcement reform to stop the use of excessive violence and killing of black people at the hands of the police. We support these five demands. We are committed to working together with our Longmont community to build an active populace that rises up against hate in all forms. To this end, we call upon our community to join us in taking one or more of the following actions:
Despite all the COVID challenges of April, SRL stayed true to its RESILIENT nature and created some great EARTH DAY MONTH activities! Starting on the first of April, 46 community members joined TEAM SRL in the Earth Day Ecochallenge. Collectively, we picked up 500 pieces of litter, saved 340 gallons of water, and composted 140 pounds of food waste. Plus, we had a great time integrating new habits into our daily lives to make our community more Earth friendly!
“This past month I've started saving any non-recyclable disposable bags to take with me on my walks for picking up trash, and I'm going to try to keep up the habit of picking up trash on my walks all summer long!” ~ Member of Team SRL.
For more results, go HERE
SRL also drafted an Earth Day Proclamation to declare the importance of staying focused on the bigger picture of climate change, sustainability, and local resilience, even as we weather this current crisis.
“WHEREAS, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we are being forced to slow down, recognize our interdependence, and witness the Earth starting to heal, we affirm that we must protect our planet's health in order to protect human health .”
Read the full Proclamation HERE
And finally, on Earth Day itself, we held Longmont’s first youth panel on climate change! Youth Voices on Climate Action highlighted four local high school students who spoke on transferring the sense of urgency around public health to planetary health; the effects of fracking on their communities; and turning anger into action. Thanks to panelists:
Ashwini Shrestha - Skyline High School
Maya Beauvineau - Niwot High School
Allie Hummer - Silver Creek High School,
Megan Neufeld - Silver Creek High School, and
Marlow Baines of Earth Guardians for moderating.
We look forward to watching you change the world!
Check out the recording HERE
Let’s take a stand for our home and find opportunities every day to reduce consumption, act locally, and build self-sufficiency for the health of ourselves, our future, and our Earth.
Maybe you’ve already started planning the ways you will be going GREEN this Spring, (which is just around the corner!) Here are some ideas to incorporate into your plans…
Join a CSA! There are so many great farms in the area, and what a great way to support local agriculture, which cuts down on emissions and packaging waste by sourcing fruits, veggies and flowers locally.
The Longmont Farmers’ Market starts up April 4. Another great way to support low carbon eating, carbon sequestration, pollinators, and the local Longmont community.
Sign up for Curbside Composting! Spring is around the corner and it’s a great time for those who have not signed up for compost to subscribe in time for Spring clean-up.
The City, Longmont utilities, and Resource Central partner together to offer some great programs for Longmont residents:
Thanks to Longmont’s Rep Jonathan Singer for sponsoring a bill to ban styrofoam!
Let’s take advantage of the great opportunities in our community to reduce our use of natural resources, and live GREENER in the process!
Did you know that Longmont emitted about 740,000 tons of CO2 from electricity production, oil, and gas, in 2016 alone? Plus, our gasoline powered vehicles emitted an additional 144,000 tons of CO2 that year. A recent study shows that Longmont has the ability to reduce its core greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 63% in 2030, but it’s going to take all of us showing up to make that happen. February is the month of love...and in addition to expressing love (in sustainable ways) to your nearest and dearest, there are some great opportunities coming up to show your love for Mother Earth here in Longmont - and make sure that we stop being a part of the problem!
Check out the City’s Simple Ways to Build Sustainability into Your Daily Life. And to encourage them to go further, tell Longmont to go all in on all-electric new home construction.
These ideas are just a sample of the growing movement in Longmont.
As they say, “Love is a Verb.”
Get into ACTION this month and show Mother Earth
how much you love our home.
Another year has begun, and there are more opportunities than ever to get involved and do our part in making sure that our City is made more sustainable, equitable, and vibrant. If not now, when? The world isn’t getting any cooler (2019 was the second hottest year on record according to NASA and NOAA), and it is ever more important that we continue to light a fire under our local decision makers (and ourselves!) to ACT NOW.
Here are some ideas. Please add to them and make a commitment to get involved in 2020!