Opinion: Colorado, you are so fracked …

It’s all about the Mancos shale gas

Signs of oil and gas development are visible on a landscape level from 35,000 feet in the air.
Signs of oil and gas development are visible on a landscape level across western Colorado and eastern Utah from 35,000 feet in the air. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

If you think Colorado is getting fracked now, just wait a few more months. The state’s oil and gas producers are lining up with the rest of the fossil fuel industry to cash in on the incoming administration’s dark vision of carbon unleashed. In a press release issued this week, the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association says it’s already planning a trip to Washington, D.C. to expedite approval of a natural gas pipeline across the western USA, leading to an export terminal at Coos Bay, Oregon.

The Canadian company proposing development of the project announced today it will reapply for a permit for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the next few months.

But a pipeline won’t do any good if there is no place to load the gas aboard ships, and West Coast cities are determined to block new fossil fuel infrastructure, according to InsideClimate News, which reports that Portland is one of the latest cities to use local zoning powers to prevent construction of new major fossil fuel terminals and expansion of any existing facilities.

And according to the watchdog group Citizens Against LNG, the Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. also formally requested that its application for a Site Certificate for their South Dunes Power Plant be withdrawn from further consideration by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council and the Oregon Department of Energy. Without that power plant, there won’t any terminal at Coos Bay, activists say.

The idea, according to WSCOGA, is to develop Western Colorado’s vast Mancos Shale gas potential — an energy reserve among the largest natural gas resources in North America. According to the press release, natural gas producers in the Piceance Basin “have applauded Jordan Cove LNG’s decisive and speedy decision to pursue reapplication and approval of the most important energy infrastructure project in the Western United States.”

The press release includes some verbal offering to Japan, including this:

“The association immediately posted social media messages to the citizens in Japan congratulating the Pacific nation for steadfast patience and commitment to securing their energy future by purchasing future natural gas from the Rocky Mountain states. The association also communicated belief that customers of the proposed LNG export project should expect imminent approval pointing to recent commitments from the Donald Trump administration and the President Elect’s commitment to expediting approval of U.S. LNG projects including Jordan Cove LNG.”

And there’s more. West Slope frackers now apparently see themselves as foreign policy players”

“President Elect Trump’s first meeting with a foreign head of state was with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan – a dear friend and ally of our nation,” said  WSCOGA executive director David Ludlam. “Alongside Senators Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet, and behind President Elect Trump, the U.S. can reverse last week’s geopolitical slight to Japan and restore our credibility by ensuring this time around Jordan Cove receives fast and fair consideration and that input from Japanese companies is actually taken into consideration … after 13 years of permitting efforts, Jordan Cove LNG deserves approval for the benefit of our economy in Western Colorado and for the security of our democratic allies in Japan.”

Shying away from nuclear power and coal, Japan has long been interested in exploiting Colorado’s natural resources.

“Our coalition couldn’t be more excited about the reapplication of Jordan Cove LNG under a new Washington administration,” said John Harpole, of Mercator Energy. “President Elect Donald Trump joins the Democrats and Republicans in Colorado who value the energy sector and believe in what our natural gas can do for our sister democracy of Japan.”

Then again, the project does have support from the establishment. Here’s one last quote from the WSCOGA release:

“Just days before the reapplication the three remaining Obama era appointees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined to read or even consider new information submitted to the agency including project commitments from Japan and project support letters from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, the Colorado Senate, the Denver Post, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Garfield County, Rio Blanco County, Mesa County, Moffat County, Delta County, the City of Grand Junction, the Town of Parachute, the City of Rifle and numerous Western Colorado natural gas companies including Caerus Oil and Gas, Laramie Energy, Gunnison Energy, SG Interests, Black Hills Energy, Encana, Terra Energy Partners, URSA Operating Company, FRAM, Southwestern Energy, Genesis Gas & Oil, Williams, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and other numerous business and civic originations in Colorado.”


2 thoughts on “Opinion: Colorado, you are so fracked …

  1. The story on the ground in Oregon is decidedly different, and likely more accurate.
    Jordan Cove LNG withdraws South Dunes Power Plant Application

    Without that power plant, there is no Jordan Cove.

    The reasons why the Colorado establishment and the Jordan Cove Project backers are keeping the spin going is because they desperately need investors. Divestitures are at an all time high.
    Divestment Movement Grows to $5 Trillion in Assets, Report Says
    Nearly 690 institutions and 58,400 individuals representing at least $5 trillion in assets have now committed to purging their investments from fossil fuel companies, a new report said …

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