Water Quality Meeting To Be Held In Grand Junction

Grand Junction is set to host a meeting Tuesday on stormwater management regulations for oil and gas activities.

Representatives from the energy industry, along with those opposing any exemptions, will be on hand to discuss the issue and comment from the public will also be taken.

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 did exempt oil and gas activity from provisions to help protect water sources from sediment and polluted runoff from construction sites. However, in early 2006, a coalition of local governments and environmental groups were able to urge the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission to deny the exemption and keep in line with current stormwater management rules.

Discharge permits do have to be obtained for any construction site disturbing more than five acres in size, but does not affect smaller parcels.

Energy representatives say they are asking for minor exemptions, but advocates for the status quo are suggesting that if changes are made, the effects will be seen in the long run.

"If they don't spend the money to control the runoff from their sites then other people will have to later down the line. Drinking water suppliers will have to spend more to treat the water and then it causes problems for wildlife as well," water organizer Hannah Holm said.

Tuesday's meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. in building B of Western Colorado Community College, located on Blichmann Ave. Comments taken during the meeting will be taken into account, when the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission's decision on the exemptions is made in May.