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 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 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 »
Posted on April 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation report outlines steps to mitigate potential impacts
Oil and gas drilling near national parks could affect air and water quality in pristine, protected areas. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After years of watching federal agencies haphazardly issuing leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands near national parks, conservation advocates say it’s time for a more systematic approach.
With the Bureau of Land Management currently updating national guidelines, the National Parks Conservation Association has outlined potential threats to parks in a new report.
“Our national parks are America’s most treasured places, and we need to treat them carefully as we develop the nation’s natural gas and oil,” said NPCA Vice President for the Center for Park Research Jim Nations. “Our research revealed that some national parks are already in peril. Unless we take quick action, air, water, and wildlife will experience permanent harm in other national parks as well.” (more…)
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, energy, Environment, fracking, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, National Park Service, national parks, National Parks Conservation Association | 4 Comments »
Posted on April 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Should the BLM be required to release names of companies nominating parcels for oil and gas leasing?
Community groups say more transparency is needed early in leasing procedure
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Community groups in Colorado this week hailed the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to release the names of the entities who nominated the public lands in Western Colorado’s North Fork Valley for oil and gas drilling and fracking.
The agency’s decision is a win for the public and government transparency, said Jim Ramey, director of the Delta County community group Citizens for a Healthy Community.
“The BLM’s mission is to best manage public resources, not to promote an energy speculation and commodities trading industry. If drilling companies want to develop publicly-owned minerals they should say so publicly, allowing concerned citizens and affected communities to evaluate their health, safety, and environmental record,” Ramey said. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, Colorado, fracking, oil and gas drilling, oil and gas leasing, public lands | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.
Gov. Hickenlooper, Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones tackle tough questions in lively Denver session
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Despite a couple of interruptions by hecklers, Monday’s debate between Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones showed there may be some common ground for addressing the contentious issue of oil and gas drilling regulations.
Hickenlooper seemed to agree that the state could do more to address citizen concerns about health and quality of life impacts, and said that the venting methane from oil and gas drilling operations is an unacceptable waste.
But the lunchtime debate at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law also highlighted some of the conflicting views about the appropriate roles of local and state regulation, as well as larger questions about energy policies. Jones emphasized that Colorado residents want a clean, renewable energy future, while Hickenlooper touted natural gas as the fastest way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, Elise Jones, energy, environment John Hickenlooper, fracking, fracking debate, oil and gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
There’s a new twist in the ongoing battle over Colorado fracking regulations.
Fossil fuel industry to file counter-suit
By Snob Beerwhine
SUMMIT COUNTY — In a big turnaround from his previously held beliefs, Colorado Gov. Von Lippenschmooper announced April 1 he will sue the fossil fuel industry to try and prevent additional fracking in his backyard.
Sources say Lippenschmooper was surprised to wake up Easter morning to find drilling rigs already ensconced between the pool and the rutabaga patch. (more…)
Filed under: April Fools | Tagged: Colorado, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, Longmont Colorado, Mineral rights, oil and gas drilling | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A spreading network of oil and gas drilling rigs has heightened public concern over potential impacts to public health and the environment.
Proposed bills would up fines, reduce perceived conflicts of interest
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With many Colorado residents feeling that Gov. Hickenlooper has tilted the playing field in favor of fossil fuel development, the Colorado General Assembly will begin to explore new laws that could help balance fossil fuel extraction with public health and safety and concerns about impacts to the environment.
House Bill 13-1267 would increase the maximum daily fine for serious accidents from $1,000 to $15,000 per day and set a minimum fine of $5,000 per violation per day for violations that have a significant adverse impact on public health, safety, or welfare, including the environment. It would also repeal the cap on the maximum total fine.
House Bill 12-1269 would make it clear that the primary mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is to make sure that public health and safety and natural resources are adequately protected during the course of fossil fuel development. It also addresses the inherent conflict of interest that currently exists on the commission by prohibiting future commissioners from being employees, officers, or directors of oil and gas companies. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, energy, Environment, fracking, House Bill 1267, House Bill 1268, House Bill 1269, Petroleum industry, public health | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).
BREATHE and FRESHER acts would close significant clean air and water loopholes
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Saying that the rapid expansion of fracking in Colorado has outpaced the ability of state regulators to monitor health and environmental impacts, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO.) is calling for federal legislation to protect the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.
“New technologies have led to the rapid development of hydraulic fracturing in Colorado and Pennsylvania before community members could fully understand the potential health, safety, and quality of life implications of drilling in their neighborhood,” Polis said, explaining that two new related laws would make sure that fracking is not exempt from the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act simply because fracking was not prevalent when these laws were initially written. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, energy, Environment, fracking, FRESHER Act, gas drilling, Jared Polis, Matt Cartwright, oil drilling | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
SkyTruth created this map with 2008 data, showing the general location of oil and gas drilling activities in Colorado.
Town seeks to protect health and well-being of residents; critics say local bans violate state law
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Creating yet another headache for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pro-fracking administration, Fort Collins this week voted to ban oil and gas exploration — including hydraulic fracturing — within city limits.
The 5-2 city council vote came after a several hours of citizen testimony, with a large majority of residents apparently in favor of a drilling ban. To become final, the ordinance must be passed by another vote in a few weeks.
Arguments over the ban remain the same. Supporters of the ban say the industrial processes associated with fossil fuel development don’t belong anywhere near residential areas, and the chemicals and air pollution associated with drilling pose a significant health risk. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, politics | Tagged: Clean Water Action, Colorado, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, energy, Environment, Fort Collins, fossil fuels, fracking, fracking ban, John Hickenlooper | 4 Comments »