Posted on August 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Graph courtesy Center for Western Priorities.
New report highlights need for more emphasis on land protection
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Public lands in the West are being leased for oil and gas production at a steady rate, but setting aside lands for non-industrial purposes has not kept pace — and it’s not just Republicans who are to blame.
The last time Congress protected public lands was under an omnibus public lands bill that set aside more than 2 million acres of wilderness and established three new national park units, a new national monument, three new national conservation areas, and more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers.
Since then, both parties have emphasized fossil fuel production for the past decade, according to a coalition of advocacy and conservation groups who released a new report last week outlining the need to protect at least as many areas as are being leased for drilling and fracking. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, energy, Environment, forests, gas drilling, national parks, oil drilling, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: conservation, energy, Environment, fracking, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Widespread deposits of valuable natural gas and oil in shale formations has spurred the fracking boom.
Some leasing likely to be on hold for at least a year
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Following a legal challenge, federal officials said last week they will re-evaluate the potential impacts of fracking to public lands in California. The federal environmental study will be accompanied by a statewide independent scientific assessment of fracking in central California.
The new studies were announced after a federal court upheld a legal challenge of the BLM’s decision to auction off about 2,500 acres of land in Monterey County to oil companies. The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, oil shale | Tagged: BLM, California, energy, Environment, fracking, shale oil, water quality | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Anti-environmental energy bill would increase heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions and risk more oil spills
Surfers, and many other coastal conservation advocates, are not happy with a GOP plan to open vast new ocean areas to offshore oil and gas drilling. Bob Berwyn photo.
A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would require the Obama administration to open huge new areas for offshore fossil fuel development.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just a few days after President Obama described the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would result in even more heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
Playing their well-worn jobs and gas prices card, House Republicans pushed through the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2231), a measure that would open nearly all coastal areas to offshore drilling.
“President Obama came into office with a tremendous opportunity to expand America’s offshore oil and natural gas production. Instead, he said NO to new American jobs and NO to new American energy by canceling lease sales, placing more offshore areas off-limits,and effectively re-imposing an offshore drilling moratorium,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings said after the vote. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: energy, Environment, GOP, offshore drilling, Surfrider Foundation | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Good beer needs clean water.
Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper calls for better balance between energy development and resource protection
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Colorado’s brewers — including two Summit County based operations — are flexing a little political muscle and calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to strike a better balance between energy development and conservation.
Rick Tork, manager of Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery owner Annie Holton, signed on to represent Summit County.
In a letter to Hickenlooper, the brewers, 26 in all, cited the importance of Colorado’s image and marketability for craft brewing and the important economic impact of keeping Colorado’s skies and waters clear and clean, saying that the state’s brand and high quality of life “attracts new residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and millions of tourists annually.”
A spokesman at the governor’s office said Hickenlooper recognizes the value of the craft-brewing industry.
“The craft brewing industry is a great economic driver for Colorado and we value our relationship with brewers across the state. We will review the letter and respond appropriately,” said communications director Eric Brown. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, Frisco, gas drilling, oil drilling, Summit County Colorado, water quality | Tagged: Colorado, craft brewing, energy, Environment, fracking, recreation, water quality | 7 Comments »
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. Continue reading
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 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. Continue reading
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 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Mule deer in winter sagebrush habitat. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say they want feedback from public
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With several extensive research projects on northwest Colorado mule deer populations under way, biologists say they want to update the public on those efforts. A long-term trend of declining populations has spurred several studies, as scientists look at predation, food supplies and energy development as possible factors.
To discuss their findings so far, wildlife managers are inviting the public to a presentation with biologists, researchers and wildlife officials, Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Valley Bank, 400 Main Street in Meeker. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, energy, hunting, Mule deer, mule deer decline, oil and gas drilling, wildlife | 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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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 »