Tag Archives: fracking

24Sep/15
5 MarchForRealClimateLeadership copy

Comments made at EPA hearing on Methane Rules. September 23, 2015

Comments made at EPA hearing on Methane Rules.  September 23, 2015

As I was preparing for this I thought what should I tell the EPA?

I could tell you that methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a green house gas. But you already know that.

I could tell you that everyone touts the Colorado methane regulations, but the methane and other toxins in our air here have increased. But you already know that.

I could tell you that Methane and the other VOC’s from fracking are contributing to very high ozone here, so high that the American Lung Association gave us an F and you, the EPA have labeled us as a non attainment area. But you already know that.

I could tell you that methane is leaking not only from fracking extraction sites, but at every point along the way. But you already know that.

I could tell you that along with the methane spewing out of these wells it brings with it VOC’s that are dangerous to our health. But you already know that.

I could tell you that the amount of methane leaking is known to be vastly under estimated.  But you already know that.

I could tell you that methane is going to drastically increase global warming which will adversely affect all parts of the world with sea level rise, droughts, wild fires, habitat destruction, and more frequent severe weather. But you already know that.

But Have you thought of the consequences of that?

I decided I would read you a poem by Drew Dellinger

‘It’s 3.23 in the morning and I’m awake

Because my great-great-grandchildren won’t let me sleep.

My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams

“What did you do while the Planet was plundered?

What did you do when the Earth was unravelling?

Surely you did *something* when the Seasons started failing?

As the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

Did you fill the streets with protest when Democracy was stolen?

What did you *do* once you knew?” ‘

When you turn a blind eye to fracking, you are participating in the war against the future of our children, which is being waged by the fossil fuel industry.

So here is what I will tell you.  There is no need for new regulations.  The President has the power and needs to have the courage to eliminate all new wells and should do so immediately.  The EPA needs reclaim their power to enforce all the regulations that were ended with the Halliburton loophole.  All current wells that are non compliant need to be closed if compliance isn’t met within a month. Enforcement of the Clean air, Clean water, RCRA and other regulations with severe immediate consequences must happen.  This would have an immediate effect on our environmental degradation and on the US contribution to climate change.  Don’t say it can’t be done.  It can.  Put people to work building an infrastructure for the future instead of export terminals for fossil fuels.

Tell President Obama and the head of the EPA: You KNOW. Now what will you do?

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!

04Aug/15
Micah delivers declaration in Greeley watermark

Declaration Rejecting the Legitimacy of COGCC

Below is the new Declaration Rejecting the legitimacy of the COGCC. On August 3rd this was delivered to Matt LePore, Director of COGCC, at a hearing in Greeley. As we prepared for the hearings, we realized that no matter what we said when we testify, how many personal stories of harm people experienced, or how many scientific studies we give them, they are unfazed. The COGCC is serving as a rubber stamp agency for the this Extreme Extraction Industry and doesn’t care that communities are being polluted. It is time to say ENOUGH. Join us as we continue to tell COGCC, the Governor and Legislators that they cannot continue to put our communities in harms way

Declaration Rejecting the Legitimacy of the
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

Whereas:
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has failed in its mission to:

“protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens and
protect the welfare of the environment and wildlife resources”.

We, Coloradans Against Fracking, find it necessary to reject the authority of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to make decisions that negatively impact our health, our air, our water, and our land, or violate the will of the voters seeking to protect their health, air quality, water quality, or property from the impacts of oil and gas extraction. Therefore, it is our duty to continue to work to genuinely protect the people, wildlife and the environment of the state of Colorado.

Addendum

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Mission Statement:
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was created “to foster oil and gas development in the state of Colorado while protecting public health, safety, and welfare, including the protection and welfare of the environment and wildlife resources.”

Nothing about the current heavy industrial processes used to extract oil and gas is compatible with maintaining public health, safety and welfare or protecting the environment and wildlife resources. Toxic air pollution, explosions, fires, earthquakes, and toxic spills contaminating ground water & polluting rivers and streams all continue to occur. As drilling and transport of raw materials and waste increases, so does the incidence of “accidents”. The COGCC’s actions and regulations have not stopped the spills, accidents or earthquakes. Compatibility between this heavy, toxic industry and public health, safety and welfare is not possible within such close proximity of human activity.

Research, studies, data:
The dangerously irresponsible actions taken, or not taken, by the COGCC are not from a lack of competence. They are the result of selective interpretation by the COGCC of the edict written by the Colorado legislature defining their duty. By choosing to define their mission from the industry’s point of view, the COGCC gives themselves permission to ignore scientific documentation, data and empirical observation that prove toxic, adverse effects to our air, water, soil, health and property caused by oil & gas development: and to reference only studies solicited by and for industry when creating rules and regulations. The COGCC chooses to ignore the many peer reviewed, scientific studies made available to them. What may be the most offensive and harmful action of all, is that members of the COGCC choose to ignore the many personal testimonies of Coloradans who have been harmed by oil & gas development.

Process:
The actions of the COGCC demonstrate that the processes established to provide opportunity for public input and participation are intended only to create a false sense of security for the public; a facade meant to lure a trusting public into submission and complacency – with the secondary purpose of deflecting any and all who might challenge the authority of the COGCC to permit drilling when and wherever the industry chooses. Any comment, criticism or testimony that is not in support of the industry may be listened to, but are ultimately ignored.

Regulation:
COGCC regulations, insistently touted as the strongest in the country, are empty words created to provide a false sense of security. Monitoring and reporting is largely left to the industry with notice given in advance of inspection. Self-regulation amounts to no regulation. Token fines may be imposed in instances when a fine is legally required. These minimum fines are often dismissed when the company accepts the choice of performing community service. Here the COGCC has been consistent. They regularly apply no fine or a minimum fine for industry violations.

Coloradans Against Fracking says enough.

We, the people, simply cannot and will not recognize the legitimacy of a commission whose actions are detrimental to our health and safety, and to the health and safety of future generations. By both their actions and inaction, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission constantly and consistently fails to fulfill its mission and by doing so, fails to protect us, the residents of the state they are charged with protecting.

Therefore, Coloradans Against Fracking must, in all moral conscience, reject any authority the failed Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission claims to hold, and will continue to work to truly protect the citizens, wildlife and the environment of the state of Colorado.

21Jul/15
ColoradansAgainstFracking_Logo_Final

In search of the “net positive” Blog from Peggy Tibbets

Peggy regularly posts a blog, From the Styx.  Those near Battlement Mesa will be interested in this post.  Our friends on the Western Slope have been in this fight longer than many of us.  You can see all her blogs here.

July 20, 2015

battlement mesaGarfield Countyoil and gas drilling

bob-arrington-back-porch

The Ursa meeting in Battlement Mesa last Monday (7/13) was well attended. I was unable to be there. However the Post Independent has taken a sudden interest in the future drilling plans in the Battlement Mesa PUD, therefore the meeting was covered by a local reporter. From reading the article and talking to people who attended, it was sort of an introductory or preliminary meeting to get a feel for public concerns. In addition to Ursa environmental manager Rob Bleil, Garco director of community development Fred Jarman, Kent Custer from the CDPHE and Dave Kubezco, a COGCC staff member, were also present. The next meeting is scheduled for August 3, at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District firehouse in Battlement Mesa.

Ursa PUD plans not quite complete

Ursa Resources is making alterations to its application with Garfield County to drill inside the Battlement Mesa Planned Unit Development, which, assuming the changes meet standards, could put an expected date for initial public hearings sometime in September.

The oil and gas producer — which currently operates one of four active rigs in Garfield County, according to the website Community Counts — expects to submit the revised application in the next several weeks. Assuming that happens and the initial application is deemed complete, public hearing would likely happen in September or possibly early October, said Fred Jarman, director of Garfield County community development. The changes requested are nothing too substantial, as it is still early in the process, Jarman added.

Those changes are needed for Garfield County to deem the preliminary plans complete; a required step in the procedural process before the application becomes open for public review. The application covers phase one of Ursa’s plans within the Battlement Mesa PUD. Phase one includes two pads totaling 53 wells, as well as a pipeline.

Efforts to extricate the natural gas within the PUD date back several decades, and have been met with concern from some residents.

Some of those concerns were voiced Monday at a public meeting that drew around 70 people — a mix of residents, regulators and oil and gas industry representatives — at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District firehouse in Battlement Mesa. The meeting was one in a series Ursa has scheduled in the lead up to public hearings on the application.

The intention, Rob Bleil, regulatory and environmental manager for Ursa, told the crowd, is to answer as many questions as possible before public review begins.

Questions ranged from potential environmental impacts, to legal rights, to construction impacts and to the possible implications for property values.

In touching on broad aspects of the regulatory process, both with Garfield County and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Bleil reassured residents that Ursa would follow all the rules and regulations throughout the process.

Noting that, in response to a question, there are other parts of the state that have oil and gas development in close proximity to high density zones, Bleil said he thought the long-term implications would be a net positive, however, he conceded there would be initial obstruction during the construction phase.

That phrase “net positive” got my attention. Mainly because I don’t know what it means. So I googled it.

Urban Dictionary defines net positive as “a person who has evolved in his communications and data management to the point of considering obsolete the use of text messages, cd burning, and games not played online. A Net Positive person does not watch TV, neither goes to movie theaters; if not downloadable, he says, it is not worth the bother.”

Nope. I don’t think Mr. Bleil was talking about a person.

What I gleaned from all the other search entries is that “net positive” is a meaningless term that industry reps use when they’re trying to convince us that fracking up the environment and poisoning our air and water will have some sort of far-reaching-into-the-future-benefit.

What could that benefits possibly be? Perhaps we should ask Silt Mesa residents, or Mineota Estates homeowners, or Dry Hollow, or Divide Creek, or Hunter Mesa … Maybe they can enlighten us about the net positive outcome of oil & gas drilling in your backyard. Oh. Wait. I’ll bet Bob Arrington in Battlement Mesa can tell us the net positive impact of drilling in his backyard (see photo above).

“We’re not going to sugarcoat it and say there aren’t going to be short-term impacts,” he said, in likening the construction to building a highway and other infrastructure projects.

Except at the end of highway construction there’s a shiny new highway. Everyone benefits, not just mineral rights owners and Ursa. A well pad and pipelines are not infrastructure that benefits the residents. They only benefit the industry.

Citing a desire to provide a complete answer, not every question was addressed that evening, which noticeably agitated some in the crowd. Bleil assured them there would be several opportunities in the future to try and answer those questions.

When Ursa purchased the assets of Antero Resources in the Piceance Basin in 2012, there were 10 potential pads identified within the PUD. That number has since been reduced to five, John Doose, field land manager for Ursa, told the crowd.

To drill out the PUD, it would take approximately 197 wells. Of that number, 103 wells, including 48 already drilled, will be drilled from outside the PUD. “It shows we’ve really tried to drill outside the PUD,” Doose said …

According the article, the next Ursa meeting will discuss construction plans. It is scheduled for August 3, at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District firehouse.

10Jul/15
ColoradansAgainstFracking_Logo_Final

JOIN US NOW TO DEMAND LOCAL RIGHTS: Call out the COGCC Rulemaking Sham

I stand by the pessimistic view most of us had of the Blue Ribbon Panel. It was loaded with oil and gas industry executives and other fossil fuel advocates. Only a few (less than a third) were known to be skeptical of the industry’s claims regarding the safety of fracking. Out of this rigged panel came recommendations for COGCC to work on, through rule making. Meetings are now scheduled around the state to get stakeholder input on two of these recommendations.

These two initiatives are both examples of feel good measures that have little chance of improving the lives of citizens who live in the path of the dirty, polluting industry.

I can say this without doubt for two reasons:
1) How the meetings were scheduled. COGCC posted the meeting schedule on July 7th and the first meeting was actually held July 7th. Disturbingly, the location of the meeting was Encana’s downtown Denver office and the meeting was hosted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Colorado Petroleum Association.  The choice of location and hosts makes it painfully clear that the COGCC is putting the interests of the industry ahead of citizens’ interests.

2) The recommendations themselves maintain the state’s ability to deprive local communities of any meaningful power over the actions of the industry within their jurisdictions. From recommendation 17: “Where siting solutions are not possible, the Director would require mitigations to limit the intensity and scale of the operations, as well as other mitigations, to lessen the impacts on neighboring communities.” From recommendation 20: “This proposal is to recommend the framework which will facilitate incorporation of drilling plans into municipal comprehensive planning.”

Neither of these recommendations actually allow a local entity to exercise local control.

An overview of these two recommendations:
Number 17 calls for local government and operators to work together to site “Large Scale Oil and Gas Facilities” in “Urban Mitigation Areas.” The rule making is to adopt a process for local governments to interact with an application to drill, define what constitutes “Large Scale Oil and Gas Facilities,” and define authority and procedures of COGCC when permitting these facilities. The procedure will include “siting tools to keep these away from residential areas when feasible.” (emphasis is mine)
Number 20 calls for local governments to “include incorporating potential oil and gas development into local comprehensive plans.” Operators are to register with local governments if they are planning to drill in the next 5 years and give the number of wells, maps of current and potential well sites and infra structure so that the industry has access to those sites.

Neither of these proposals even hint that we, the citizens living near proposed drilling and fracking sites, may be afforded any power at all in the process. Just more “stand by and get fracked.” It is time to take action! Raise our voices! Please try to attend one of the meetings, and bring your family and friends. Let the COGCC know we are tired of being their guinea pigs in a giant health experiment. Let them know we demand clean air, water and land free from pollution. Let them know we want our democracy back!  Time to BAN FRACKING NOW!

The meetings schedule is below. I hope to see many of you at one or more of these.

July 7, 2015 1:00-3:00 p.m. COGA, CPA, API Encana Oil and Gas 370 17th Street Suite 1700
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 9:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. City and County of Broomfield The Chateau at Fox Meadows 13600 Xavier Lane Broomfield, CO
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 1:30-4:00 p.m. City of Brighton Brighton City Hall, 6th Floor City Council Study Session Rm. 500 S. Fourth Ave
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 1:30-4:00 p.m. Garfield County Grand River Health Conference Facility 501 Airport Road Rifle
Monday, August 3, 2015 5:30-8:00 p.m. Weld County Greeley Administration Building 1150 O Street, Greeley
Thursday August 6th TBD La Plata County La Plata County Administration Building 1101 E. 2nd Avenue Durango, CO