Ken Brenner: Are we prepared?


— The recent articles in the June 23 Today and June 29 Pilot alerting us to a significant increase in the level of interest in Routt County from oil and gas companies hopefully caught your attention. They caught mine. Are we prepared to find the right balance of energy production and good paying jobs with the many direct and indirect impacts to our region?

A visit to the areas around Rifle and Parachute along I-70 illustrate how significant the impacts of gas development on the land, air and water can be. Further examination of the impacts on roads, water and waste water treatment, hospitals, human services, police and emergency services, and to the public school systems makes me wonder whether we can really tackle the effects of gas and oil development.

Garfield County is supposed to add 50,000 new residents in the next 12 years, nearly doubling its population. Are we prepared?

Industry speculators will be the first to arrive, and begin taking steps to add Routt County to the list of places where oil and natural gas production is occurring. Eventually, the companies, with names such as Williams and Encana will buy them out and begin drilling. Routt County will continue its long history of providing energy for the United States, which currently includes coal production and electricity generation from the Hayden Station.

In the face of this pressure, it is important to remember that we also have a proud agricultural heritage, abundant wildlife, diverse recreation and tourism, and a second home/retirement community. We need to be concerned that, if we're not vigilant in protecting these other values, Routt County could experience growth in the future like Garfield County is now.

There was a rulemaking process going on in Denver last week to try to address the impacts of drilling for natural gas and oil in Colorado. The amount of drilling in Western Colorado is at record levels and there have been significant increases in technology. The update is appropriate because it has been more than decade since the rules were last revised.

I support rule changes that will balance energy production with responsible practices and use of new technology that protect air and water quality, critical wildlife habitat and northwest Colorado's unique landscape. I believe that we can produce energy and ensure for the future the public health and environment, long after the industry is gone.

We do have the ability to ask our elected officials to do everything necessary to prepare us for the arrival of oil and gas drilling in the Yampa Valley, and for the future after the oil and gas industry leaves. That means state and local officials need to coordinate their efforts to protect both the people who live here and the environment they rely on to make a living.

Ken Brenner

Steamboat Springs


WZ 8 years, 10 months ago

All for enough oil to meet U.S. demands for about 10 whole days.

Which side are you on boys, which side are you on?


SilverSpoon 8 years, 10 months ago

Ken, Your middle of the road approach is ridiculous. You can't have it both ways. Of course if you are running for senate, you'll try to cater to democrats and oil hungry republicans in a bi-partisan way. A vote is a vote.

Where does it exist that: "we can produce energy and ensure for the future the public health and environment, long after the industry is gone"

Rifle sure doesn't fit that bill. After the water trucks leave a dust bowl will follow. The water used to strip the shale will contain heavy metals and brine and be discharged into our river. Oil exploration is like a crack addict robbing and old lady to get their "fix". Only big oil robs the american people, then buys crack to sell at a higher price.


JazzSlave 8 years, 10 months ago

Worldwide demand exceeds global supply. If you oppose development of our own resources, more power to you. Just don't complain about gas prices.


justathought 8 years, 10 months ago

WOW, he'll cater to the "oil hungry republicans". Can you imagine how much oil the US would be consuming if the democrats used it too?? Thank you democrats for NOT driving, NOT heating your homes, NOT flying private planes, etc. Now that silverspoon has diagnosed the oil problem as being caused by republican consumption, maybe a few of you democrats could help your Gore made global warming problem by NOT breathing. Sheesh, what a comment.


SilverSpoon 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't complain about high prices. I'd gladly pay $10/gallon for hydrogen. However, republicans need to keep their pockets lined with saudi oil, and americans keep buying it.

Finger pointing on who uses it doesn't help either. The monster truck with huge mudders uses it, the prius uses only 25% as much as the monster truck, the excavators over at wild horse use 2x the monster truck. The people who whine the most, are those who use it for their businesses, and the $0.45/mile tax write off to drive your monster truck. So, the tax code benefits the biggest consumers of oil, at the expense of everyone else. Another round-about subsidy for big oil.

Also, the soccer moms who take 2 trips to starbucks a day love to complain about how it impacts their coffee consumption. Time to choose, $4.00 starbucks coffee or a gallon of gas? Or the really poor people, choose between paying rent, mortgage, food, ski pass, gasoline, mtn bike?

It is time for society to re-evaluate what it NEEDS. Is it a good idea to suck the earth dry of oil for "the children"?


shadow 8 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how many tons of jet fuel will be spent in private jets getting participants to the Democratic National Convention?


bigdog 8 years, 10 months ago

Someone always has to throw in the obligatory "for the children". What a bunch of crap!

Hey SilverSpoon, I have got some pixie dust that you can sprinkle in some water that will turn it into hydrogen.....


JazzSlave 8 years, 10 months ago

SilverSpoon says: "I don't complain about high prices."

And then pays lip service to "the really poor people", LOL.

Fuel prices impact every segment of the economy. We are decades - not years - DECADES away from being able to wave bye-bye to a petroleum based economy.

You "really poor people" can rest easy, secure in the knowlege that limousine liberals like SilverSpoon are committed keeping prices high, to punish those whose consumption he/she disapproves of. You "really poor people" will get caught in the switches, but SilverSpoon is wringing his/her hands so you don't have to. You're so lucky to have him/her in your corner!


id04sp 8 years, 10 months ago

There was a blurb on the news the other night where Shell had used a very unobtrusive method to obtain 100,000 barrels of oil from about 1 acre of land, plus natural gas. They heat the rock with elements driven into the ground, which causes the gas and oil to be released in a recoverable form. They have proven the concept and now are moving on to a practical, deployable method.

The story didn't give a lot of detail, but it seems to me that if you can power the heating system with gas you are extracting from the ground, you've got yourself a self-licking ice cream cone of the first water!

Oh, and when they're all done, the site looks pretty much like it did before.

Hey, uh Shell guys? I've got an acre you do this on. Will I get like, $10 a barrel from you? If so, it's a deal! If you can just work around my house a little bit, I should wind up with a million bucks PLUS nicer landscaping when you're done.


SilverSpoon 8 years, 10 months ago

I know that for common folk, understanding energy is difficult. So resorting to politic-ing is the knee jerk reaction.
Just understand, 1.2 gigawatts is required to extract 100,000 brls per day. Translation, 1.2 g*24hrs=28.8 gigawatt-hours/day.
1 part electricity(coal) yields 6 parts oil. 45% of oil is used for gasoline, 2.7 parts available at the pump for every unit of coal burned. Coal energy is worth $0.04/kwh, so to get 100,000 brls of oil costs $1.152 million for coal costs alone. So,$12/brl to get the oil to the surface, is it worth it?

So, really, using today's technology the 1.2 gigawatts could be used directly to produce hydrogen at a rate of 14,400 gallon gasoline equivalent per day(@ 50% efficiency)TODAY.
Oil shale is 4 years out before we see a single drop(if they started tomorrow), how much will coal cost by then? $0.08? $0.12? What is the cost of the new coal fired plants that shell intends to use?


rsssco 8 years, 10 months ago

Dear Ken: Thank you for your question. My answer is I am prepared. I am prepared to not vote for you. But, thank you again for asking.


outsiderlookingin 8 years, 10 months ago

Man rssco you beat me to the punch I was going to say the same thing. I gotta start losing my life so I have more time to sit on the computer and get the jump on some of these things


Zac Brennan 8 years, 10 months ago

Shadow, don't forget those Republicans also will fly to their convention in September. We are all consumers, it's the American way!


id04sp 8 years, 10 months ago


The lowest-cost way to get the energy required to do this job is to produce it AT THE SITE using natural gas extracted during the process. LPG can be trucked in to seed the process.

When you talk about efficiency, you are talking about wasted heat. A process that produces heat with high efficiency and then incorporates any waste heat back into the loop just gets more efficient.

An electric space heater is just about 100% efficient in producing heat from the electricity required to power it. The waste is in generation and transmission.

So, if you can get a 1-acre site going to produce oil and gas, then you've already got your energy source to power extraction operations on the adjacent acreage.

If it took more energy to get the stuff out of the ground than could be produced, it would not be profitable, and Shell wouldn't be excited about their process.

High temperature hydrogen fuel cells can extract the necessary hydrogen fuel directly from hydrocarbon fuels, producing water and carbon (not carbon dioxide) as waste products. Theoretically, a system like the one Shell is using could extract natural gas and shale oil to be used in hydrogen fuel cells to generate the required electricity, and produce pure water (a plus for us) and solid molecular carbon for industrial use in things like carbon composite materials. They may have bought electricity off the grid for the pilot project, but I'm betting some smart engineers can come up with a system like the one I'm theorizing (or probably better) and then shale oil production will be KING!


colobob 8 years, 10 months ago

I like being common folk, they're generally a better class of people! Not wealthier just classier, not pretentious or elitist just genuine. Hello common folk, glad to be among you.


SilverSpoon 8 years, 10 months ago

Really, against sbvor's challenge on global warming, I just think that extracting and burning 300,000,000 years worth of organic sediment in 100 years was and is a bad idea. When the only snow capped peaks include k2 and everest, we'll all be sorry. Especially our children, and sswsc. Smoke'm while you got'em(oil that is).


JazzSlave 8 years, 10 months ago

We sure are lucky Clinton vetoed ANWR drilling in 1995. The leftys were correct to point out that there would be no immediate impact on supply. It might have taken 5, or even 10 years for development of that resource to have any influence on our economy.

I'm certainly grateful that those 10.4 billion barrels aren't being used. It's so much better to ramp up our imports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and Mexico and Iran and the UAE. We are fortunate indeed to be unable to augment existing supplies with our own resources.

I look forward to President Obama and his congressional sychophants continuing to insure that global supply keeps failing to meet worldwide demand. Because they know what's best for "the common folk". Slack jawed yokels like you and me shouldn't presume to interfere.


This could be a winning issue for McCain & the Repubs. Unfortunately, they'll have to grow a spine first, and I'm not optimistic.


surelysurly 8 years, 10 months ago

Oil is a non-renewable FINITE resource, regardless of which political party you belong to. It doesn't matter when or how it is extracted, at some point it will all be gone. It seems to me that the big picture is pretty straight forward - the world can't increase production at the same rate that consumption is increasing forever. At some point something has got to give. Continuing to scramble for every extractable drop is a short term solution to a long-term problem.


dave reynolds 8 years, 10 months ago

go pound sand ..after your sevice as counsel member you aint got my vote


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.