Posted on March 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Drill rig in a natural gas field in Wyoming. Credit: SkyTruth, flickr
Ruling narrows trade secret loophole
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Fossil fuel companies in Wyoming may soon have to disclose more the chemicals they use for fracking, as the Wyoming Supreme Court decided this week that the state’s oil and gas commission has the burden of justifying the use of a trade secrets exemption that has enabled companies to keep their toxic recipes secret.
“The Wyoming Supreme Court affirmed that the public’s right to know is paramount under state law. If fracking operators don’t want to reveal what chemicals they use, they will have to prove that the chemicals are trade secrets, which means they shouldn’t be able to capriciously keep secrets from the public about dangerous chemicals,” said Katherine O’Brien, an attorney with Earthjustice, which represents the plaintiffs. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, Wyoming | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Map courtesy USGS.
FRISCO — Some Wyoming watersheds may be showing signs of wear and tear due to coalbed methane development, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study done on the Powder and Tongue river basins in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.
According to the USGS, three sites on the Powder River show a difference in water quality between the time before coalbed methane development and during the production period. But thirteen other sites, including mainstem and tributaries to the Tongue and Powder Rivers in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, showed few substantial differences in water quality between the two time periods. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: coalbed methane, fracking, Powder River, water quality, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A Colorado judge this week upheld the will of voters in Broomfield, Colorado, affirming the vote on a ballot measure that enacts a 5-year ban on fracking.
Election results stand, pending a potential appeal
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A bid by the fossil fuel industry to thwart the will of voters in Broomfield, Colorado failed in court this week, as 17th Judicial District Court Judge Chris Melonakis upheld the five-year fracking ban approved by voters last November.
Question 300 passed by 17 votes, triggering a recount that brought nearly the same result. The challenge by the fossil fuel industry focused on election procedures and not on the substantive issue at hand — whether Colorado residents have the right to protect themselves and their communities from potentially harmful activities. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Broomfield, Colorado, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, fracking ban, politics | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.
Grassroots activists stand up to industry ‘bullying’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Fort Collins residents who passed a temporary five-year fracking ban last year will get some help in their legal showdown with the fossil fuel industry.
A trio of from from environmental groups — Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, the Sierra Club and Earthworks filed a motion to intervene in the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s lawsuit against the City of Fort Collins.
The Association is trying to overturn a five year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” The Fort Collins moratorium on fracking passed as Ballot Measure 2A with 56 percent of the vote in November 2013. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: energy, Environment, Fort Collins, fracking, oil and gas drilling | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Signs of oil and gas development in eastern Utah are visible on a landscape level from 35,000 feet in the air.
Snow may intensify the air quality impacts of energy development
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A team of American and Canadian scientists want to unravel some of the secrets of winter ozone formation related to oil and gas drilling — and they need your help.
University of Washington atmospheric researcher Becky Alexander, who is leading the January research project in Utah’s Uintah Basin has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help finance the field work. The team wants to raise $12,ooo in the next three weeks via their project website at mycroriza.com.
“It’s a global outreach effort,” Alexander said, explaining that crowdfunding for scientific research is a new and growing movement. Grassroots funding helps eliminate some of the administrative overhead costs sometimes associated with traditional sources of money. Sometimes, as much as 50 to 60 percent of federal funding ends up going toward overhead, she explained. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, crowdfunding, energy, Environment, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, ozone, Uintah Basin, University of Washington | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
EPA fine highlights issues in Utah oil and gas fields.
Water resources at risk?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A Texas-based company will be dinged for $600,000 after the EPA found that it did not meet all legal requirements for operating several hundred injection wells on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah.
The settlement between the EPA and Newfield Production Company centers on the company’s failure to show financial responsibility associated with the safe operation of 442 injection wells in the Monument Butte Well Field in Duchesne County from March 2009 through September 2010. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: energy, Environment, fracking, OilSpill | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Geologists say a recent swarm of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased the overall risk of tremors around Oklahoma City. Map courtesy Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Study suggests recent swarm of tremors is related to injection of fracking wastewater
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — State and federal geologists are teaming up to study a swarm of earthquakes that have rattled central Oklahoma, evaluating possible links between these earthquakes and wastewater disposal related to oil and gas production activities in the region.
Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled Central Oklahoma, marking a significant rise in the frequency of these seismic events. In a press release, the U.S. Geological Survey said a preliminary analysis suggests that the recent tremors are linked with the injection of wastewater from oil and gas drilling activities in the region.
We’ve statistically analyzed the recent earthquake rate changes and found that they do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates,” said USGS seismologist Bill Leith. “These results suggest that significant changes in both the background rate of events and earthquake triggering properties needed to have occurred in order to explain the increases in seismicity. This is in contrast to what is typically observed when modeling natural earthquake swarms.” Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: earthquakes, fracking, injection-induced earthquakes, Oklahoma | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
State officials tracking numerous flood-related spills
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A spate of potentially dangerous spills from oil and gas producing facilities resulting from recent flooding in Colorado may be scrutinized under a congressional spotlight.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) hav asked the House Resources Committee to hold a hearing on oil and gas spills caused by the recent catastrophic floods in Colorado.
“Not only have my constituents been dealing with damage to their homes, schools, and roads, they are increasingly concerned about the toxic spills that have occurred from the flooding of nearly 1,900 fracking wells in Colorado,” Polis said. “Congress must deal with this issue to ensure that natural disasters do not also become public health disasters.” Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado flooding, energy, Environment, fracking, oil spills, rivers, United States House Committee on Natural Resources | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘A precautionary tale … ‘
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite ongoing obfuscation by fossil fuel companies, most people instinctively understand that fracking fluids are bad for the environment, and a new study by federal scientists supports that conclusion.
The research in Kentucky by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that hydraulic fracturing fluids leaking from natural gas wells probably caused the widespread death or distress of aquatic species in Kentucky’s Acorn Fork. The small Appalachian creek is habitat for the federally threatened Blackside dace, a small colorful minnow. The Acorn Fork is designated by Kentucky as an Outstanding State Resource Waters. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling | Tagged: Blackside Dace, endangered species, Environment, fracking, fracking fluids, hydraulic fracturing, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Geologic study leaves little room for doubt
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Youngstown, Ohio, seemingly on stable ground, had never experienced an earthquate going all the way back to 1776. But that all changed in December 2010, when a newly built well started to pump fracking wastewater into the ground.
Starting in January 2011, seismic instruments recorded 109 tremors, and a careful study of the pattern of earthquakes — as strong as a magnitude 3.9 — suggests they are linked to the well in neighboring Pennsylvania. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: earthquakes, energy, Environment, fracking | 3 Comments »