Posted on July 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Investigators also eye possible permit violations at Weld County site
More #fracking ahead?
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FRISCO — State regulators have reauthorized operations at a Weld County wastewater injection well after determining that the well may be linked with earthquakes in the area. State officials will also investigate whether the well operators violated their permit by pumping too much drilling sludge into the well.
“We are proceeding with great care, and will be tracking activities at this site closely,” said Matt Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. “We’re moving slowly and deliberately as we determine the right course for this location,” Lepore said, explaining that new limits on the well are aimed easing the potential for more earthquakes. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: #oilandgas, energy, Environment, fossil fuels | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oklahoma earthquake spike definitively linked with wastewater injection.
More monitoring and mitigation needed, scientists say
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just a small number of wastewater injection wells associated with fossil fuel exploitation can lead to a dramatic increase in earthquakes, U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded in a new study focusing on the spike in Oklahoma earthquakes since 2009. Wastewater injection can trigger earthquakes up to 20 miles away, the researchers found, far beyond the three-mile radius commonly used as a measure for diagnosing induced earthquakes.
The dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 is likely attributable to subsurface wastewater injection at just a handful of disposal wells. Oklahoma earthquakes constitute nearly half of all central and eastern U.S. seismicity from 2008 to 2013, many occurring in areas of high-rate water disposal, said Cornell University geophysics professor Katie Keranen, who led the study. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, oil shale | Tagged: earthquakes, fracking, induced seismicity, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Signs of oil and gas development are visible on a landscape level from 35,000 feet in the air.
Wastewater disposal at injection well halted for 20 days
By Summit Voice
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FRISCO — Colorado regulators this week halted the disposal of fracking wastewater into a Weld County injection well as they try to fully understand the link between injection and recent earthquake activity in the area.
A magnitude 3.4 earthquake rattled Greely on May 31, and University of Colorado geologists have detected more low-level seismic activity, including a 2.6 temblor earlier this week. As a result, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission directed High Sierra Water Services to halt injections for 20 days.
The well is 10,818 feet deep. Since start of operations, more than 28 million barrels of wastewater have been pumped underground.
The Colorado action comes just a couple of weeks after federal and state geologists in Oklahoma warned of increased risk for a damaging quakes after string of trenors rattled the Oklahoma City area. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: Colorado, earthquakes, fracking, injection induced seismicity, Weld County | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oklahoma earthquakes are on the increase.
Spike in tremors linked with injection of wastewater from fracking
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal and state geologists say there’s an increased risk of a strong earthquake in Oklahoma after the overall rate of quakes increased by about 50 percent since late 2013.
After statistically analyzing the increased rate of earthquakes, the scientists said they’re fairly certain it’s not just natural variability — deep injection of waste water from fossil fuel exploitation is seen as a likely cause. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: earthquakes, fracking, injection induced seismicity, Oklahoma, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More coal mining equals more ozone
The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.
FRISCO — Federal officials may have failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of more coal mining in northwestern Colorado, according a conservation group that’s suing the Bureau of Land Management over an expansion permit for the Deserado coal mine, located in Rio Blanco County in northwestern Colorado directly south of Dinosaur National Monument.
The mine fuels the 500-megawatt Bonanza power plant, located 30 miles west in Uintah County, Utah. The mine and the power plant are connecte by a dedicated electric train.
According to WildEarth Guardians, the BLM failed to address air quality impacts from fossil fuel combustion from the Bonanza facility. The group said regional air quality monitoring shows continued violations of ozone. According to the lawsuit, the mine expansion would mean that the Bonanza power plant would continue to operate for another 16 percent years — too long in the context of climate change. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA Earth Observatory map shows the dry Nevada deserts east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
BLM lease sales based on flawed, incomplete analysis, environmentalists say
FRISCO — Conservation advocates are formally challenging a Bureau of Land Management proposal to lease lands for natural gas exploitation in north-central Nevada based in part on the federal agency’s failure to require an in-depth environmental study.
The lease sale could open up more than 174,000 acres around Tonopah and Austin on 102 lease parcels. In filing the protest, the Center for Biological Diversity spelled out a laundry list of concerns about the BLM’s process, highlighting the fact that the agency’s evaluation of the proposed lease doesn’t come close to addressing key environmental concerns. Instead of developing more fossil fuel resources, the emphasis in Nevada should be on renewable energy resources like wind, solar and geothermal. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling | Tagged: energy, Environment, fracking, Nevada | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drilling roads and pads are spreading into remote backcountry areas of Colorado. bberwyn photo.
Cancer-causing chemicals escaping from fossil fuel facilities by the ton
FRISCO — Colorado communities looking to regulate the toxic and dangerous impacts of oil and gas drilling may not get any help from Gov. John Hickenlooper, but they may get some backup from a huge coalition of environmental groups that have petitioned the EPA for limits on oil and gas wells and associated equipment in population centers around the U.S.
As thousands of new wells are drilled across the U.S. every day, some studies suggest that at least 100,000 tons per year of hazardous air pollution from oil and gas well sites — including benzene, formaldehyde, and naphthalene — are escaping into the atmosphere. These pollutants have been linked to respiratory and neurological problems, birth defects, and cancer. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, oil and gas drilling | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The proliferation of oil and gas drilling in Colorado raises serious questions about air quality impacts. Photo courtesy SkyTruth.
New research show true magnitude of fossil fuel pollution along Front Range
FRISCO — Heat-trapping greenhouse gases and other air pollutants are leaking from Colorado oil and gas operations at a far higher rate than previously estimated.
Two days of aerial surveys showed methane leaking at three times the rate predicted by inventory estimates, and seven times as much benzene, a cancer-causing air toxic.Emissions of other chemicals that contribute to summertime ozone pollution were about twice as high as estimates, according to the new paper, accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, Colorado, Environment, fracking, methane, oil and gas drilling | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The BLM will analyze the environmental impacts of contested oil and gas drilling leases south of I-70, between Carbondale and DeBeque. Click for a full-size version.
BLM taking input during scoping phase of environmental study
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Lynx, elk, owls and other high country forest critters in western Colorado will get at least a temporary reprieve from potential oil and gas drilling, as the federal Bureau of Land Management announced last week that it will do an in-depth environmental study for 65 existing oil and gas leases on 80,000 acres of public lands managed by the White River National Forest.
The leases are spread roughly west to east along biologically important mid-elevation lands between Carbondale and DeBeque and overlap designated roadless areas. Conservation advocates have long argued that the sale of the leases was inconsistent with efforts to protect wildlife, water quality and other high-value natural resources. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, endangered species, energy, Environment, forests, fracking, gas drilling, public lands | 1 Comment »