One of nine recommendations from a statewide local issues task force — a new oil/natural gas health information and response program — has started in Colorado, and state health officials have handled 20 complaints thus far.

The program, run by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), established a website and a telephone help line [(303) 389-1687] to handle citizen health concerns related to oil/gas operations. The website will also act as a clearinghouse for the latest scientific information on the subject.

Recommendations from the local issues task force established last year by Gov. John Hickenlooper are in various stages of implementation at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), including two currently in the rulemaking process (see Shale Daily, Nov. 17). Oil/gas industry representatives have expressed concerns that COGCC in its draft rules is straying too far from the intent of the 21-member task force recommendations submitted early this year (see Shale Daily, Feb. 25).

The task force health-related recommendation received unanimous approval and was in response to concerns about odors, dust, noise and other issues from residents in the vicinity of oil/gas activities.

CDPHE’s Daniel Vigil is heading the program, which includes a mobile air monitoring capability that is scheduled to be operable in spring 2016.

In speaking with local news media earlier in the month, Vigil said the program is the first of its kind in the nation. It responded to the task force conclusion that there was a need for “accurate, credible, peer-reviewed scientific information” to help local residents evaluate any risks they perceive from oil/gas operations.

Vigil told news media in Rifle, CO, last Friday that “there are concerned and upset people around the state.”

A spokesperson for the Colorado Oil/Gas Association told NGI‘s Shale Daily that the industry representatives on the task force all supported the health information recommendation.