Category Archives: Global Warming

24Sep/15
5 MarchForRealClimateLeadership copy

RALLY September 23 for EPA Methane Rules Hearling

When I was trying to decide what to write for this occasion I saw another one of those commercials.  You know the commercials?  The ads that are from Noble or some other part of the industry.  I thought: I know what I can do.  I could do talk that is a version of 3 truths and a lie.  3 Truths and a Lie is an ice breaker game where you give three true facts about yourself and 1 lie.  The rest of the team then decides what is true.  Here’s my new game called: Many Lies and Little Truth.  It should be a fun game.  I will give you statements and you tell me truth or lie.  Here we go.  Yell out your answers.

  1. Let’s start with the commercial showing the cute woman who has an organic farm and raises goats and allows fracking on her land because it is so safe. Is fracking safe? Truth or lie?  What I hear is that she does have an organic farm, does raise goats, she just leases her mineral rights that are not on her organic farm but allows the wells next to some other family.

By the way the punch line that those of us who are trying to stop fracking, get her goat, makes me feel a little crazy.

  1. Water has never been contaminated by fracking? Lie, we have tons of evidence that it has been contaminated.  Plus, it is not normal for water to light on fire.
  2. Fracking has been done safely for 65 years! LIE? Yes another lie. The current form of high pressure, high volume, hydraulic fracking started in the late 90’s.  And has never been safe.
  3. We need this oil and gas to be energy independent. Lie: they are trying to get the export ban lifted. They are building terminals on both coasts and the gulf to be ready to export. That doesn’t sound like they need it for us to be energy independent.  This is simply about corporate profits.
  4. There is a commercial with a cute mother with the soccer kids. She says wouldn’t support any industry that pollutes.  Does this industry pollute?  Yes a LIE.  She is supporting fracking which is polluting our air. We are a non-attainment area for Ozone across much of the state.  The American Lung Association gave many of us an F for air quality.  This industry pollutes the air with deadly toxins and is putting our children at risk.  She probably lives in a gated community up the mountain out of this filthy air.
  5. The economy of Colorado will collapse if oil and gas industry is not allowed to continue full speed ahead with fracking.   The economics of fracking is usually stated in an inflated way.  They count the worker and also use a formula to also count people in the area where he works, so the barber, the person who checks out his groceries…and so on.  The truth is: -According to the Department of Commerce, oil and gas accounts for less than 1 % of the jobs in CO.  That’s about 30,000 jobs. It is estimated that transitioning to renewables would create 87,000 jobs in Colorado. 
  6. Governor Hickenlooper’s task force gave citizens of Colorado a voice in oil and gas operations. Why is Governor Hickenlooper protecting a dangerous, industrial practice instead of creating jobs, saving tax payer money, and protecting our health, air and water by transitioning to renewables? Why is he suing the citizens who voted to keep this dangerous industry out of our communities?
  7. The oil and gas industry is heavily regulated.   They are exempt from several federal acts including the clean air, clean water and RCRA which is about toxic waste disposal.  If they were safe why do they need these exemptions?
  8. Governor Hickenlooper frequently states that Colorado has the strictest methane rules in the country. California’s Governor says they have the strictest regulations.  TWO Lies. Flir camera video show how much toxic air pollution s rolling off the well pads. Methane leaks from the point of fracking to production on through to consumption.  Every point is a potential leak.  All these methane leaks are contributing to climate change. Recent studies reveal that the amount of methane leaking has been vastly underestimated.
  9. Fracking is a dirty disgusting form of extreme energy production. It is responsible for air, water, land pollution, habit destruction, and unhealthy communities. TRUTH

 

If you haven’t testified yet, go tell the EPA to listen to the truth, listen to scientists not industry lobbyists.  Tell the EPA that fracking is never safe. The EPA needs to lead us to a future free from fossil fuel!

03Jun/15
ToxicChemicals

F is for Failure

I am posting this on behalf of Lauren Swain.

Coloradans Against Fracking
Report Card—June 6, 2015
Evaluating the performance of the Colorado Legislature
and Governor John W. Hickenlooper in their duty to protect Coloradans from the harmful impacts of fracking.

Introduction
The facts included in this report card demonstrate that the Colorado State Legislature and Governor John W. Hickenlooper have failed to protect the people of Colorado from the harmful impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas. Because recent scientific studies have shown that fracking operations jeopardize human health and the environment with the introduction of enormous quantities of toxic chemicals into the air, soil, and water,[1] the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has banned fracking. Vermont has also banned the practice, as have the countries of France, Scotland, and Bulgaria. Other states, such as Maryland, and countries, such as Wales, have adopted, or are considering, moratoria and bans on fracking. Coloradans deserve the same protection as the citizens of these states and countries, but, due to the failure of our legislature and Governor to take meaningful action, we continue to suffer increasing risk to our lives, our property, and our democratic rights as the State of Colorado issues more permits for more wells to be drilled and fractured near homes and schools, all while denying local communities their right to restrict these dangerous operations.

Protecting Our Climate—F
Fracking for natural gas, as well as the processing, storage, and distribution of natural gas releases climate-altering methane into the atmosphere. Over a 100-year period, methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a climate disruptor.[2] Fracking for oil also releases methane, while the consumption of oil is a leading source of the carbon pollution damaging Earth’s climate.[3] Climate change threatens our state with more floods, forest fires, and drought[4]—diminishing our natural resources, destroying homes, and placing additional burdens on Colorado taxpayers and water rate payers.

Protecting Colorado’s Water—F
Oil and gas operators have, on average, spilled 200 gallons of petroleum chemicals per day over the past decade.[5] Over 700,000 gallons of toxic liquids have remained in Colorado soil after initial cleanup, often contaminating groundwater.[6] In 2014, operators reported almost two spills per day in Colorado, with over 10 percent of those spills contaminating groundwater.[7] And, even after the devastating floods of 2013 inundated fracking operations and released over 90,000 gallons of oil and produced water into Colorado’s rivers and waterways,[8] our state government still allows operators to drill new wells in Colorado’s flood plains,[9] risking more contamination when the wells and tanks are flooded again. The University of Missouri found contamination of the Colorado River with endocrine-disrupting chemicals near sites where fracking spills had been reported and supposedly remediated.[10] Toxic oil and gas industry spills like the one at Parachute Creek require massive cleanup operations that can take months or even years.[11]

Protecting Colorado’s Air Quality—F
Recent studies by the University of Colorado, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others have found that oil and gas fracking operations contribute to grossly elevated levels of carcinogenic benzene in the air over the Front Range.[12] Researchers recently measured benzene levels almost 8 times higher than government agencies had estimated.[13]

The American Lung Association has recently rated the air quality for Front Range counties with D’s and F’s, due to ozone pollution.[14] Over half of ozone-precursor emissions in northeastern Colorado can be traced to oil and gas production.[15] As a result of increased pollution from fracking operations, air quality in our nine-country Front Range region is out of compliance with federal standards, placing Colorado at risk for penalties and sanctions, as well as health-care burdens.[16]

Protecting Colorado’s Public Health—F
Studies have shown that toxins released into the air and water by fracking operations are linked to harmful short- and long-term health effects including neurological problems, cancer, and birth defects.[17]

Ozone-precursor pollution from fracking operations aggravates asthma and other serious health problems, and diminishes the length and quality of human life—especially for children and the elderly. Victims are forced to miss school and work, while additional burdens are placed on healthcare service providers and public health programs.[18]

Protecting Colorado’s Public Safety—F
Fires, explosions, and spills occur frequently at fracking sites in Colorado. At least seven fracking-related fires occurred on the Front Range in 2014,[19] including one that killed a Halliburton employee.[20] A recent fire and explosion at a fracking waste disposal facility near Greeley caused oil tanks to fly into the air. The resulting fire took hours to put out and caused four nearby homes to be evacuated.[21] That same waste-disposal facility was linked to earthquakes in the Greeley area last year.[22] The US Geological Survey has associated the increasing number of earthquakes in fracking regions with the disposal of billions of gallons of toxic waste into injection wells.[23] Earthquakes threaten public safety, destroy property, and can damage infrastructure, including roads and dams.

Protecting Colorado’s Natural Environment—F
Oil and gas production is reducing the viability of rare species like the sage grouse.[24] Habitats for deer are being fragmented and compromised by access roads and drilling pads.[25] Our scenic values are increasingly marred by rigs and tanks, and our streams and rivers are contaminated by spills. The impacts of fracking operations on water quality, air quality, soil, and scenic values threaten Colorado’s tourism, fishing, hunting, ranching, farming, and brewing industries.

Protecting Coloradan’s Property Rights—F
The oil and gas industry is permitted to drill and frack for oil and gas against the will of surface owners and neighbors. Home values can plummet as a result of fracking taking place on or near a property[26], and access to loans and property insurance is sometimes denied to surface owners.[27] Operators may also demand that mineral-rights owners lease now, against their will, or face the threat of state-mandated “forced-pooling” of their property.[28]

Protecting Colorado Voters—F
In 2012 and 2013, voters in the cities of Longmont, Fort Collins, Broomfield, Lafayette, and Boulder passed ballot measures placing moratoria or bans on hydraulic fracturing out of concern for their health, environment, well-being, and economy. Since that time, most of these communities have been sued by the industry, based on the premise that state law allows only the state to regulate oil and gas production.

The Colorado Legislature and Governor Hickenlooper have taken no action to protect these communities and others from lawsuits invalidating the will of voters or local governments.[29] While the 2015 legislature was in session, the state of Colorado issued permits for almost 1000 new wells, in addition over 4000 permits awarded to the industry last year.[30] Our legislators and our governor have failed to act on citizens’ pleas to stop the threat of preemption-based lawsuits when local voters and governments adopt measures to protect their residents from the harmful impacts of fracking. Local governments are still forced to spend taxpayer money to defend their voters’ rights, or surrender their rights to the oil and gas industry.

Written and compiled by Lauren Swain, 350 Colorado Fracking Specialist

CAF Report Card Sources:
[1] Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, 2nd Ed., Dec. 11, 2014. http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CHPNY-Fracking-Compendium.pdf
[2] see 2
[3] US Environmental Protection Agency, Overview of Greenhouse Gases-Carbon Dioxide Emissions, updated May 7, 2015. http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.htmlhttp://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html
[4] Howard, Brian Clark, “Amid Drought, Explaining Colorado’s Extreme Floods” National Geographic, September 13, 2013. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/09/130913-colorado-flood-boulder-climate-change-drought-fires/
[5] Finley, Bruce. “Colorado faces oil boom “death sentence” for soil, eyes microbe fix.” The Denver Post. May 4, 2014.
http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_25692049/colorado-faces-oil-boom-death-sentence-soil-eyes
[6] see 6
[7] Finley, Bruce. “Oil and gas spills surge, two a day, residents often not notified.” The Denver Post. July 14, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_26233762/oil-and-gas-spills-surge-two-day-residents
[8] Rueschhoff, Austin. “Oil and Gas Operations and Colorado’s Floods: The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commssion Tackles the Issues.” University of Denver Water Law Review. November 14, 2013. http://duwaterlawreview.com/tag/colorado-flood/
[9] Finley, Bruce. “Colorado adopts rules for oil and gas operations in flood zones.” The Denver Post. March 2, 2015. http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_27625238/colorado-active-oil-and-gas-rigs-down-start
[10] University of Missouri Health System, “MU Researchers Find Fracking Chemicals Disrupt Hormone Function.” January 3, 2014 http://medicine.missouri.edu/news/0214.php
[11] Webb, Dennis. “ ‘Gift from nature’ eases threat of contaminants in creek.” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. February 9, 2015. http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/gift-from-nature-eases-threat-of-contaminants-in-c/
[12] Jaffe, Mark. “Researchers assess emissions from Colorado oil and gas fields.” The Denver Post. November 16, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_26942340/researchers-assess-emissions-from-colorado-oil-and-gas
[13] Finley, Bruce. “Scientists flying over Colorado oil and gas boom find worse air pollution.” The Denver Post. May 6, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_25719742/scientists-flying-over-colorado-oil-boom-find-worse
[14] American Lung Association. “State of the Air: 2015—Report Card Colorado” http://www.stateoftheair.org/2015/states/colorado/
[15] Aguilar, John. “Cu-Boulder, NOAA study uncovers oil and gas emission’s ‘chemical signature’.” The Daily Camera. January 16, 2013 http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_22390113/cu-boulder-noaa-study-uncovers-oil-and-gas
[16] Finley, Bruce. “Bad air: Denver, western cities rise up list of nation’s most-polluted.” The Denver Post. April 29, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_28013352/bad-air-denver-western-cities-rise-up-list
[17] Rice, Doyle. “Is fracking polluting the air?” USA Today. December 17, 2014. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/16/fracking-air-pollution-health-nrdc/20451639/
[18] US Environmental Protection Agency. “Ground Level Ozone: Health Effects.” November 26, 2014. http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/health.html
[19] Finley, Bruce. “Front Range firefighters gird after oil fires as wells encroach.” The Denver Post. May 1, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_25671583/front-range-firefighters-gird-after-oil-fires-wells
[1] Wallis, Daniel. “Halliburton worker killed in Colorado fracking accident.” Reuters. November 13, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/13/us-usa-colorado-fracking-idUSKCN0IX2MH20141113
[1] Redmond, James. “Greeley firefighters extinguish blaze near Greeley-Weld County Airport.” Greeley Tribune. April 17, 2015. http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/15948232-113/greeley-firefighters-extinguish-blaze-near-greeley-weld-county-airport
[22] see 22
[23] US Geological Survey. “Induced Earthquakes: Featured Research Projects” May 1, 2015. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/induced/
[24] McKinnon, Taylor. “1.7 Million Acre Fracking Plan Draws Protest in Colorado.” Center for Biological Diversity. April 28, 2015. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/fracking-04-28-2015.html
[25] Taylor, Phil. “Sportsmen seek room for wildlife amid drilling push.” Energy and Environment News. October 21, 2014. http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060007647
[26] McMahon, Jeff. “Pollution fears crush home prices near fracking wells.” Forbes. Apri 10, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/04/10/pollution-fears-crush-home-prices-near-fracking-wells/
[27] Conlin, Michelle and Grow, Brian. “Special Report: US builders hoard mineral rights under new homes.” Reuters. October 9, 2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/09/us-usa-fracking-rights-specialreport-idUSBRE9980AZ20131009
[28] Harder, Abby. “Compulsory pooling laws protecting the conflicting rights of neighboring landowners.” National Conference of State Legislatures. October 24, 2014. http://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/compulsory-pooling-laws-protecting-the-conflicting-rights-of-neighboring-landowners.aspx
[29] Marcus, Peter. “Fracking battle rages on in Colorado.” Durango Herald. May 12, 2015. http://durangoherald.com/article/20150512/NEWS01/150519904/Fracking-battle-wages-on–
[30] Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. “Colorado Weekly and Monthly Oil & Gas Statistics.” June 1, 2015. http://cogcc.state.co.us/documents/data/downloads/statistics/CoWklyMnthlyOGStats.pdf

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It Is Time

I am going to post a speech I gave at a rally. Because IT IS TIME!

IT IS TIME
Time to stop saying natural gas is a bridge to the future; it is a bridge to nowhere
A new study shows that fracking for natural gas releases enough methane into the atmosphere to be 86 times worse than for the climate over a 20 year period than burning coal.
Time to end the Halliburton loophole that gives the oil and gas companies’ exemption from 7 federal acts including the clean air and water acts. If they weren’t polluting they wouldn’t need these exemptions. Continue reading

12Jan/15
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Pope Francis Says No to Fracking

We’ve been busy lately providing news on all the great ways Pope Francis is working to create a healthy, sustainable planet. In July 2014, Pope Francis called destruction of nature a modern sin. In November 2014, Pope Francis said “unbridled consumerism” is destroying our planet and we are “stewards, not masters” of the Earth. In December 2014, he said he will increase his call this year to address climate change. And, last week we announced that Pope Francis is opening his Vatican farm to the public.

Now, we learn from Nicolás Fedor Sulcic that Pope Francis is supportive of the anti-fracking movement. Continue reading