Posted on June 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drilling roads and pads spread across western Colorado like a spiderweb. Bob Berwyn photo.
Community groups challenge agency’s environmental review shortcut for project in elk habitat
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — An attempt by federal land managers to rush approval for oil and gas drilling in Colorado was thwarted by watchdog groups, who challenged the U.S. Forest Service over permits for drilling on the Gunnison National Forest.
Following an appeal by the Western Environmental Law Center, filed on behalf of Citizens for a Healthy Community, The Paonia Ranger District withdrew its earlier OK. The appeal claimed that the USFS had failed to complete mandatory site-specific environmental analysis of drilling impacts. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, US Forest Service | Tagged: energy, Environment, Gunnison National Forest, oil and gas drilling, Public land, U.S. Forest Service, Western Environmental Law Center | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Loading coal in the Powder River Basin. Photo by USGS.
IG report shows flaws in leasing program
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The fossil fuel industry — specifically Big Coal — is shafting Americans every which way, from spewing heat-trapping greenhouses gases into the atmosphere to underpaying the federal government for the coal it takes from the Powder River Basin.
A report by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General found that U.S. taxpayers are likely losing tens of millions of dollars on bids from mining corporations as a result of a federal leasing program that undervalues the price of coal.
Even though the agency has a legal obligation to the American public to secure a fair market value for coal, it is not meeting its responsibilities to taxpayers, according to grassroots watchdog groups. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, public lands | Tagged: Arch Coal, BLM coal leasing, Bureau of Land management, Peabody Energy, Powder River Basin, United States Department of the Interior | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Will the U.S. finally start developing its promising offshore windpower potential?
Feds prepare to lease about 245,000 acres off New England Coast
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nine companies are lined up to bid on the first-ever sale of leases for offshore wind power, with two big parcels about nine miles south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on the auction block.
According to a report from the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, development of the 245,000-acre area could generate up to 3,400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1 million homes and up significantly from previous estimates for the area.
While development is still a few years off, the projects could finally help the U.S. start catching up to countries like Holland, Germany and Denmark, which have been producing significant amounts of offshore wind energy for many years. The auction is scheduled for July 31. Information and documents on the projects are compiled on this website. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: BOEM, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Offshore wind power, renewable energy | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
House Republicans once again are trying to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Supporters of pipeline bill took six times as much money from oil industry as opponents
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — If the U.S. House of Representatives has its way, Canadian tar sands oil will soon be flowing across the country in a new pipeline, authorized under a law that flaunts many important environmental laws.
Wednesday’s vote on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, marks the seventh time the House has tried to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. While today’s vote saw fewer representatives voting in favor of the resolution than past votes, it still showed the oil money rules congress.
Watchdog groups did the math:
Members of Congress supporting the pipeline took in a combined $56 million from fossil fuel interests, $36 million from oil industry interests alone;
Members supporting the pipeline took an average of $233,774 from all fossil fuel interests, $150,604 from oil industry interests alone;
Members opposing the pipeline took an average of $24,886 from all fossil fuel interests, and $24,886 from oil industry alone; and
Supporters took 6 times more from the oil industry than opponents. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment | Tagged: Center for Responsive Politics, Congress, energy, Environment, Jared Polis, Keystone XL pipeline, Northern Route Approval Act, oil money | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
BLM wants to update 30-year-old fracking regs.
Common sense steps address some environmental and health concerns
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — An updated set of draft rules for fracking on public and Indian lands includes several common-sense safeguards that will help protect the human health and safety, as well as the environment. For starters, the rule requires disclosure of the chemicals used for fracking, a key measure that ensures transparency and gives the public some assurance.
The proposed rule beefs up standards meant to insure well bore-integrity, which will help verify that fluids used during fracturing operations are not contaminating groundwater. Operators must also have a plan in place for handling fluids that flow back to the surface.
About 90 percent of wells drilled on Federal and Indian lands use hydraulic fracturing, but the Bureau of Land Management’s current regulations governing hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands are more than 30 years old and were not written to address modern hydraulic fracturing activities. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, Indian reservation, Interior Department, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fossil fuel industry frustrated by federal delays
The BLM, conservation groups and the fossil fuel industry are grappling with a development plan for the Roan Plateau in northwest Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The fossil fuel industry continues to battle over energy development in court, most recently by asking a federal appeals court to overturn a previous lower court ruling that spurred the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider its plan for northwest Colorado’s Roan Plateau.
Conservation groups joined the battle in late April, filing their response to the latest legal challenge, which would “turn back the clock” to Bush-era energy development policies, according to Earthjustice, which is representing community and environmental groups in the case.
At issue is how many wells will be drilled atop the plateau, which is billed by conservation advocates to have high natural resource values. The fight dates back to a development plan approved by the BLM under the Bush administration. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: Bill Barrett Corporation, BLM, Colorado, Earthjustice, energy, Environment, public lands, Roan Plateau | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Retired park rangers call on the BLM to fully adopt national leasing reforms
Mesa Verde National Park could be at risk from oil and gas drilling. NPS photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — As oil and gas drilling rigs creep closer and closer to the borders of popular national parks around the country, a passel of retired park rangers has formed a new organization to try and protect cherished resources, including view sheds, air quality and wildlife habitat.
The idea is not to stop drilling. The ex-rangers acknowledge that energy development is needed. Rather, the group wants to hold other federal agencies — primarily the BLM — accountable to national guidance that requires smart, up-front planning when it comes to drilling around parks.
“We’re really concerned about the impacts if the drilling isn’t properly planned,” said Ellis Richard, a National Park Service veteran who ended his career as acting superintendent of Dinosaur National Monument, one of the park units potentially threatened by drilling. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Dinosaur National Monument, fracking, National Park Service, oil and gas drilling, public lands | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Energy Navigator’ tracks use, guides active management of heating, cooling and lighting systems
Computer-guided energy management is helping the Summit School district save big bucks.
By Cameron M. Burns
Through a combination of energy efficiency and actively managing energy use, the Summit School District is on track to save more than $100,000 in energy costs this year.
In fact, after investigating the operation of lighting and HVAC equipment at Summit High School in the summer of 2012 with a new energy-management system called the Colorado Energy Navigator, Summit School District facilities manager Woody Bates and his staff were able to cut energy use by more than $50,000 during the three-month June-to-August 2012 period compared to the same period in 2011.
The energy-saving techniques they used are now being replicated across the district. Data compiled by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region show that, eduring the first three months of the school year, (Sept. to Nov.) energy savings across the district totaled about $24,000 compared to the prior year. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado news, energy, Energy conservation, Energy Navigator, Environment, Summit High School, Summit School District | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado may update its enforcement policies for oil and gas drilling operations.
More fracking debates ahead …
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After the Colorado General Assembly stumbled in its efforts to get a better regulatory handle on oil and gas drilling, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will get another bite at the apple.
Gov. John Hickenlooper this week ordered the commission to review its enforcement program, penalty structure and imposition of fines. The review was ordered state lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on a bill that would have revised Colorado’s outdated enforcement system.
Under a COGCC rule-making process, the public would also be able to participate in a revision. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: COGCC, Colorado, fracking, fracking fines, John Hickenlooper | Leave a Comment »