Total ban on fracking not possible, says panel of experts in Colorado

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— Residents on Tuesday night learned that Colorado cities cannot ban hydraulic fracturing outright in their communities, but they were told there are other ways to ensure the drilling will be done safely.

About 100 people wary of extraction operations near their homes listened quietly as they were told any effort to outlaw those procedures would likely be overturned by a judge. Attorney Barbara Green also said there is little a city can do to regulate the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

But cities can have a say over the impacts a fracking well will have on local wildlife and other environmental concerns, Green said.

Green was part of a panel of experts who spoke on the issue of fracking, which is becoming more popular with energy companies as they try to nudge oil and gas out of shale rock deep underground.

Read more at The Denver Post

Comments

Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Colorado cities and counties will be able to ban or restrict hydraulic fracking in their counties. But first they will have to undo the pollute-anywhere powers given to the industry via the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee. This will require a combination of cities and counties standing against the COGCC and likely a ballot initiative.

Given the impacts of this industry on everything from water and air quality to property values, the scale is already tipping. Its just a matter of time. Counties should be able to say yes to the industry. They should also be able to say no.

Routt County should weigh in on the environment's side of that scale, and advance the right of Routt to keep its water clean.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

My concerns have been more about the long term movement of the millions of gallons of poisons placed down there. The U.S. industry brushes that possibility aside. Different story in the UK, among other differences:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/20/gasland-shale-gas-drilling-uk?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

"But Miller is quick to play down the experiences reported from the US. He goes into detail on the sorts of safety measures to be included, including three layers of pipe casing between the 914 metre (3,000ft) drill shaft and the aquifer it passes through (which is saline, so not used for drinking water in any case), and a gas-sensing and shut-off system to prevent leaks.

Only three chemicals – a polyacrylamide lubricant that is commonly found in cosmetics – hydrochloric acid and a biocide used to purify drinking water will be used here, he pledges, unlike the hundreds that can be used in the US. In the course of its life, this site is likely to require about five Olympic swimming pools of water, about a quarter of which will be returned to the surface quickly, cleaned and recycled. The rest will seep up gradually – and safely – over about five or six decades, he says.The equipment here is also superior to that used by what he calls the "bad apple companies" in the US whom Miller blames for poisoning the public image of shale gas. "It has added about 20% to our costs, but we wanted to be able to show people that we are doing this properly and responsibly," he says."

The rest will seep up gradually, over 5 or 6 decades. Wonderful.

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kathy foos 2 years, 3 months ago

We don't have to blindly accept anything in a free country and let's get to court on this now to prove it.We will see about angle "we cannot stop them" .Put it on the ballot,oil and gas will loose.Don't try to intimidate the public with just nonsense.If the public has no ,say its anarchy.Oil will not tell us how they will do it ,we will tell them .We own the right as Americans ,they don't have any right .

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

This is a free country, or at least it is for the time being, I OWN the mineral rights on my property and the surface rights, if I choose to lease those rights, I will do so You and the rest of the "public" can stay out of my business, YOu will not tell me what to do with my land, or my mineral rights within the framework of all the federal state and local laws of this free country. . Fracking is highly regulated by the COGCC, and is a legal way to extract oil and gas. If you had the wherewithal to read what they have laid out , perhaps you would have a small understanding of what gas and oil companies are charged with in protecting the environment, people and the land itself. Now get in your horse and buggy and head to SS for work, it'll take awhile. Lewi, if the layers and layers of rock between the targeted energy and aquifer was permeable, you would be drinking gas and oil; fracking wouldn't be necessary because it would all be right there, close to the surface. If it all seeped up over 5 or 6 decades to the aquifer in another 10 years we would be slippin' and slidin' in the oil that had made it to the surface. Seriously!?!? Gasland!?!!

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ybul 2 years, 3 months ago

--YOu will not tell me what to do with my land, or my mineral rights--

The problem is when you exercising your rights to extract your minerals leaves unknown chemicals in our water system because the oh so highly regulated fracking process can not be disclosed the chemicals used in their process because they are proprietary.

Ever stop to think that in drilling you are putting a hole in that layer of rock might allow contamination from one layer of earth to another that did not occur without those holes there to extract that gas?

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

ybull, ever stop to think that people involved in G&O extraction are experts and realize that the hole they create must be sealed. Fracking on my property does not leave unkoiwn chemicals in your water, if you are speaking of the one EPA driven instance in WY...their draft findings are still being, reviewed and studied. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/12/09/questions-emerge-on-epas-wyoming-fracking-study/ Highly regulated, yes:
"Oil and gas operators will be required to disclose the chemicals they use during hydraulic fracturing when a new Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rule takes effect in April....Colorado's rule, approved Tuesday, goes further than other states regarding mandatory disclosure of chemicals and their concentrations. "http://www.gjfreepress.com/article/20111216/COMMUNITY_NEWS/111219971

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

1) The fracking fluids are still a mystery, even as Colorado claims its "success" in the new rules.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_19542430?source=pkg

“... there were two major sticking points. The first was how free a hand the industry would have in designating some chemicals as trade secrets — thus not having to disclose them. Environmental groups called the trade-secret clause a "loophole."

"The other issue was including the concentrations of all the chemicals in a fracking fluid in the disclosures. Industry executives didn't want to release both the chemical name and concentrations, fearing that would enable competitors to replicate their products."

"A deal was struck that provided for including all the chemicals and their concentrations but not indicating into which products they went. "We think that under these rules reverse engineering won't be possible," said Rick Grisinger, a senior vice president of oil-services company Halliburton." - i.e. we still won't be able to connect a given frack to a water well.

"The trade-secret issue was the last settled. The solution was a new form requiring a company to attest — under penalty of perjury — that a chemical is proprietary."

This is a joke.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

2) the fracking fluids are very large quantities of liquid poison.

Liquids underground do not stay put, as a matter of nature, but existing stratas keep the existing deposits from rising. In the perfectly produced frack well, thousands of gallons of fracking fluid, gas and oil, etc... are going to move in new directions, because fracking will disrupt the rock stratas. These fluids and gases are going to move faster and more vertically. We all know fracking represents underground explosions of hugely increased pressure designed to fracture the strata that have contained the original gases and oils.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Prove it lewi, with data from geologists, engineers and other scientists that work in this field ever day in CO under CO rules and regs. Illustrations are always helpful, I'm a visual learner, TIA

From the Denver Post article: "We will have to see if that will work," said Mike Freeman, an attorney with the environmental-law group Earthjustice. "But overall it is a strong rule." But yet not good enough for you, ehh?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Lizard, It is not a strong rule. It is a joke. Attorneys and politicians acting like they accomplished something. The problem - that millions of gallons of fracking poisons will continue to be pumped into our soil - is unaffected.

Data from anywhere is relevant:

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/fracking-poses-environmental-and-public-health-challenges-for-1537949.html

“We don't have to look far to know that after energy and fracking companies set up drill pads and heavy equipment to draw out oil and gas miles below that volatile organic compounds dramatically proliferate in the air, water wells are no longer usable and people get sick as levels of toluene and xylene, and other carcinogenic chemicals are soon found in their bodies. This has been the case for Dish, a small town in the Barnett Shale play near Fort Worth.”

“A recent peer-reviewed study by Duke University scientists in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale has shown elevated levels of methane gas in groundwater near fracked gas wells.”

“But what makes this unfolding story more disturbing is the lack of studies to explain the impact of this activity on humans and the environment, and the inability to know what to test for because we don't even know what is being pumped into the ground. And yet the drilling intensifies.”

“In the 2005 Energy Policy Act, Vice President Dick Cheney drafted a clause that ensured that hydraulic fracking would be exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and other major environmental laws.”

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

http://www.water-contamination-from-shale.com/main/fracking-study-sees-public-health-risks/

“The chemicals that make up that fracking fluid are cause for concern. They may include, among other things, barium, strontium, benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, and nonylphenols. Fracking is a suspected culprit in many instances of water contamination in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Colorado and elsewhere.”

“According to the study synopsis, the researchers demonstrated that toxic chemicals are used during both the fracturing and drilling phases of gas operations. The study also showed that there may be long-term health effects that are not immediately recognized, and that waste evaporation pits may contain numerous chemicals on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund list.”

“Our findings show the difficulty of developing a water quality monitoring program. To protect public health we recommend full disclosure of the contents of all products, extensive air and water monitoring, a comprehensive human health study, and regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/01/fracking’s-future-in-the-us-comes-down-to-upcoming-new-york-state-decisions.html

"When the comment period opened back in September, few industry or government leaders anticipated the massive antifracking movement that would arise, which has galvanized resistance in states nationwide.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which regulates drilling, has received 21,000 comments to its proposed rules. Officials there say they cannot remember receiving more than 1,000 comments on any prior environmental issue. Opposition to fracking has become a central plank in the Occupy movement, and the attention in New York has prompted other state leaders such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to stop or slow the process of allowing drilling until deeper scientific investigation is done. The primary concern is that the practice could contaminate drinking water supplies."

“Health experts have gone public, too. On January 9 leading U.S. medical experts attending a technical conference on how best to study the epidemiological and public health aspects of shale gas production released a statement saying that fracking should “be paused so that necessary research can be done into the potential harmful effects on human health.” Adam Law, a doctor at Weill Cornell Medical College and the founding board member of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, said “no one should be unleashing even more fracking before we have the scientific facts.”

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

and to repeat from my 2nd post:

Mark Miller, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, the UK-based shale gas company, "The rest will seep up gradually – and safely – over about five or six decades..."

The poisons we frack with will move upward. Its just a matter of time. Miller has some room to say "safely", because his fracking fluid is far less toxic than the superfund brews allowed in the U.S.

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sedgemo 2 years, 3 months ago

Question: Why is the "proprietary" card being played at all? If Company A buys or leases mineral rights from LizardLand, no other company is competing for that site anyway, for the duration of the lease. If the lease is sold to Company B, Company A already made their explorations/profits (or not) and sold the lease again.

Why is the notion these chemical compounds (and their concentrations) important at all? Every single formation and drill site will encounter slightly different conditions and will most likely require adjusting the fracking fluid "recipes" anyway.

To avoid all this secrecy, perhaps only a few approved recipes should be used by all companies. Otherwise we are faced with a frontier situation... some for some and none for all.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Barium, naturally occuring, strontium naturally occuring, toluene, naturally occuring, benzene, naturally occuring. The earth is trying to kill us, volcanoes , forest fires, even tropical trees.... (add hysterical scream here) The NY DEC had a phenomenal number of people giving comments, no kidding, and the great majority were probably "facts gleaned from Gasland and blogs on earthjustice. Which reminds me, lewi, geez you are more radical than a lawyer from earth justice? Tells me a lot. Mark Miller of Cuadrilla Resources, the UK-based shale gas company, has no agenda and is just letting us know that the "bad apple companies" are well bad and his company is vastly superior. Hmmm, MIT did a multidisciplinary study wih scientists students environmentalists and the government they found: . only 42 documented incidents of such problems (water contamination), out of tens of thousands of wells drilled.” the environmental impacts of shale development are challenging but manageable,” the small number of cases where there has been contamination, the problem has stemmed from improper cementing of the well casings.” “The quality of that cementing is the area where the industry has to do a better job,”

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/The-Benefits-of-Shale-Gas-Far-Outweigh-the-Negatives-of-Fracking.html These are facts, lewi, actual documented facts, not hyperbole backed by anectdotal silliness or isolated incidents. Then you throw in a this; Opposition to fracking has become a central plank in the Occupy movement" Who in thee heck cares?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Lizard, You dismiss the reports of health problems as anecdotal silliness. There are plenty more of those, but why bother - Oilprice.com has the information you trust.

Let's use your source then.

Oilprice is telling you there are problems, but these are negligible and can be fixed. There is a tremendous economic upside. I'm sure this means a lot to you.

Certainly there is an economic upside. But you shouldn't allow yourself to ignore that each of those 42 incidents involved a person, a neighborhood or even a whole town. A town such as Dish, TX. There will be more incidents. That's o.k. with you?

If so I can't help but contrast this with your earlier post insisting your right to do as you please with your mineral rights. Do those people in MIT's 42 incidents have no rights beside yours?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Your link and MIT seems to have captured the macro-economics. They completely miss the micro-economics (not to mention the real people involved) because there can be a significant economic downside to a community. How much do you think a property goes for in Dish, TX these days?

http://www.wfaa.com/news/investigates/TCEQ-RELEASES-BARNETT-SHALE-TESTING-RESULTS-82846347.html

"As previously reported by News 8, two facilities — both west of DISH in Wise County — revealed the highest readings, prompting immediate action by the state. A sample at one of the sites indicated a benzene level of 15,000 parts per billion.

Dr. Martyn Smith, a nationally recognized expert on benzene health effects, puts that in perspective. "Something above 5 to 10 parts per billion, I would start to become concerned that there would be potential health effects, or certainly an increased risk of health effects," he said. "That would concern me."

Children are more vulnerable than adults. "Children would be more sensitive, especially if they were exposed as a fetus in the womb and then early in life," Dr. Smith said. "We should be especially concerned about contaminated environments for pregnant women and very young children. "

"Dr. Smith estimates it takes from five to 10 years to develop serious problems, like leukemia, from elevated benzene levels. The time and amount of exposure required are different for every person."

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Hysterical anti-energy silliness, lewi, yes

"But this week, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced results of its own testing of Dish residents, and we discovered something entirely different:

“Biological test results from a Texas Department of State Health Services investigation in Dish, Texas, indicate that residents’ exposure to certain contaminants was not greater than that of the general U.S. population.

“’In Dish, we found no pattern to our test results indicating community-wide exposure to any of these contaminants,’ said Dr. Carrie Bradford, the DSHS toxicologist who led the investigation. ‘We were looking to see whether a single contaminant or a handful of contaminants were notably elevated in many or all of the people we tested. We didn’t find that pattern in Dish.’

“DSHS paid particular attention to benzene because of its association with natural gas wells. The only residents who had higher levels of benzene in their blood were smokers. Because cigarette smoke contains benzene, finding it in smokers’ blood is not unusual" http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/shale-gas-fracking-opponents-injured-head-collision-facts-texas. Yes my private property rights are none of your business as long as they are within the confines of the laws of every level of government.

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Stan Zuber 2 years, 3 months ago

Trying to improve the technology to burn coal cleaner looks better all the time.

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ybul 2 years, 3 months ago

Yep your private property rights do not extend into other peoples property though. Which if your chemicals seep under someone else's ground then what you think is yours is not.

Then the private property of another has been tarnished and you should be subject to paying damages for that loss of property value. I figure that in a court of law, with a jury, the argument could be presented very well that those chemicals that were not in the water are now there and the oil company should be responsible for cleaning it up or paying damages.

Those pesky private property rights, as a landowner and utilizing a well I figure I best test my water annually or more often log it and know what was present pre fracking and post. Though most people will not and have not even if they are experiencing problems.

That is how I will ensure that my private property rights are not infringed upon by someone else trying to extract what they should rightfully be able to as long as it does not harm others.

Peace and out sometimes it is like arguing with a wall on here.

ps. My neighbor said that someone once said if you give me a laboratory and a million dollars I will prove whatever you want. Essentially showing that there are some without morals who would massage data to ensure that their point of view is substantiated.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Everything I say on here is backed up by facts, based on scientific evidence backed by government regulations supported by links. In Dish TX, the Texas Department of State Health Services is lying, distorting facts taking millions of dollars to prove something? They have no morals? They are a wall? Links, proof... anything? That's right soothe yourself by thinking of lawsuits when all those chemicals seep up 6,000 feet through solid rock, a first, in all the thousands of fracking operations. Think of all that money you'll be spending on a new wheel for your mouse to generate enough power to keep that computer fired up, when and if your neighbor that lives no where near you and your well (mouse powered pump I'm sure) leases their land to O &G. Nothing is perfect, but the level of ignorance about fracking accompanied by gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair over something that is highly regulated in this state bothers me. Stop using the hated electricity and petroleum products that befouls your pure life. Stop the hypocrisy.

.

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ybul 2 years, 3 months ago

Highly regulated and yet the compounds to be injected can be trade secrets, yep that is a good one.

The other major problem I see is that much of the natural gas that comes up is accompanied with water. This water is allowed to evaporate and in some cases they spray the water into the air to get it to evaporate (have seen it with my own eyes) and the chemicals with said water gets into the atmosphere and water system.

Yep highly regulated and not perfect far from it. A far better idea would be to take a multi faceted approach to manufacturing oil (not a fossil fuel) by using wind turbines to generate e- and split water then take carbon and combine it with the hydrogen at high temps in a solar concentrator and you have oil in large quantities. Please do not say you can not make oil as the Germans did so in WWII.

Also those whose water supplies have been polluted ought to bring forth a civil suit so that those who piss on their property rights - the right to clean air and water - have to internalize the costs of their business'.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

In Dish TX, the Texas Department of State Health Services is lying, distorting facts, taking millions of dollars to prove something?

Well...

http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Report-State-regulators-failed-to-disclose-benzene-in-Fort-Worth-air-94985339.html

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Ybul the Germas burned coal to create oil during WW!!, and it seems your recipe to make oil has forgotten a few steps and energy requirments, like high temperatures. Right those people who have polluted water from fracking should bring suits, I would, unfortunatly none (zero) in CO have ever been proven. But, when that happens you better believe there will be lawsuits.

Lewi, what was the follow up to this? Didn't you see the date and wonder to yourself, hmmm wonder what happened next. I did.... so being the good samaritan I am, I'm helping you out:

"Report: No 'significant health threats' from Barnett Shale drilling . Posted on July 14, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 15 at 8:07 AM

FORT WORTH - Fort Worth residents finally have some answers about possible pollution from drilling in the Barnett Shale.

No other city has so many gas wells so close to so many people.

Fort Worth spent about $1 million in badly needed gas well revenue to measure emissions from all the drilling and processing. The long awaited study by the Eastern Research Group did not reveal any "significant health threats." It also concluded the city's 600-foot setback for wells is adequate.

Fort Worth's new mayor, Betsy Price, said the report's conclusions brought a sense of relief.

"We've all been sitting on pins and needles waiting to see," she said. "I hope it makes people feel better."

She called the report the most comprehensive study of its kind, and said it should relieve fears about pollution from gas drilling". http://www.wfaa.com/news/Air-Quality-study-released-125610653.html

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

One more thing. i'm so passionate about this subject because I'm defending jobs, businesses and America's desire to be a first world country. I cannot figure out what you people think it will be like without energy, or do you even think that far.
. Most of the people I am close to are connected to the energy industry in some capacity. They aren't stupid, they aren't earth haters, they aren't a monolithic bloc which can be called "oil" as the ever so articulate sun says. They are the people that create good paying jobs, they understand their industry and the risks involved. They aren't liars, fact distorters or bribe takers. To alude to that is insulting, especially since the great majority of naysayers seem to be experts through their viewing of Gasland. I agree with keeping a close eye on fracking, gripe about what you see as wrong, write letters to the cogcc, make sure the commisioners are doing their jobs, but please don't insult the people that are the industry.
carry on......

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Lizard, Please re-read this thread and reconsider your last post. With the possible exception of Sun's brief post, your complaint of insults is by far more accurate when addressed to yourself. Labels of silly, hysterical, ignorant and hypocritical are the price of my conversation with you. Meanwhile you are the passionate one defending jobs and America.

Please…

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

My above link re: Dish air quality was not intended to represent the last word on Dish air quality. Lizard, you asked asked for “Links, proof... anything?” as evidence that the Texas government might be distorting facts. So I gave you one.

And typical of this thread, you judge it meaningless and move to your next argument.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

You reference the Ft. Worth Air Study. Please be aware of the holes found in that report. There are so many.

http://www.fwweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5023:blowing-smoke&catid=30:cover-story&Itemid=375

1) “For instance, although the researchers visited 375 well sites, they saw only one that was engaged in drilling. And only one where fracking was going on. As a result, they decided they didn’t have enough information to draw conclusions about emissions from either fracking or drilling — the two stages in the life cycle of a well that produce the highest volume of short-term pollution”.

2) “In fact, although the ERG teams visited compressor stations — generally the source of more pollution than any other type of gas industry facility — they didn’t actually include the high emission rates they found at three of them in their final data. Instead, they estimated the emissions based on vendor data and other people’s reports. Nor did ERG’s estimate of pollution levels take into account the emissions typically produced by gas storage tanks when the tanks experience temperature or pressure changes.”

3) “ERG also chose not to investigate gas and toxic emissions that occur in dehydrators when water is removed from the gas, the toxins that escape into the air when chemical-laden frack water returns to the surface, and flaring — the burning off of gas when wells are initially completed. Also not measured were “non-routine emissions” such as those generated during upsets or from maintenance, start-up, and shutdown activities, unless such emissions were observed at the time of the site visit.”

“Those kinds of emissions occur with some regularity in the shale field, but — as with the 300-plus wells that happened not to be undergoing either fracking or drilling when investigators came by — none of those incidents happened during the ERG testing period. To some observers, it seems rather like gauging highway safety by leaving out all reports of actual traffic accidents.”

“These are big omissions,” said Ramon Alvarez, a scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin and a member of the Fort Worth Air Quality Committee. Both the routine pollution from equipment and the non-routine events “could have had a significant effect on the testing results,” he said.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

4) “Nor did the study take into consideration the problems known to be caused by combinations of the various chemicals spread in the air by drilling activities. “Many of the pollutants emitted at the well pads and compressor stations are known to react in the air and form other pollutants,” ERG researchers said, “and this was not considered in the modeling analysis.”

5) ERG’s work may be a start, but “several more issues would need to be addressed before this study would be a model for other studies,” said Melanie Sattler, who specializes in air quality consulting. She said the facilities looked at by ERG did not provide “a representative sampling of drilling, fracking, and injection well sites, because they only sampled one of each. In terms of condensate tanks, not sampling in the summer eliminates the worst case of emissions from those.”

3 again) Eduardo Olaguer, director of Air Quality Research at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), a nonprofit foundation, said his greatest concern was that ERG ignored “non-routine” emissions such as occur during maintenance, start-up, and shutdown of machinery.

“Unforeseen and/or planned emission events, as opposed to routine emissions, may be the real issue behind public complaints related to human exposure and adverse health impacts,” he said in an e-mail. Olaguer said that simply estimating emissions from natural gas and diesel engines used in gas production, based mostly on vendor specifications, is risky. Engine maintenance, he noted, could conceivably result in “much greater temporary and cumulative emissions than ‘worst-case’ handbook estimates based on regular emissions.”

Similarly, he said, petrochemical facilities in the Houston Ship Channel often emit large quantities of chemicals in a few hours, but those dangerous periods of emissions no longer look significant when emissions are averaged over a year.”

etc...

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

From your site "Figuring out who is right is difficult because the report is 320 pages of technical information, scientific jargon, chemical values, and emissions modeling that only a scientist in the field could understand. Even people who are knowledgeable and passionate about drilling give up halfway through." Again hmmm,

I'm sure the energy defense fund will figure it all out and then when the EPA gets involved maybe we can get fracking regulated into oblivion.In fact if the loon in chief is reelected you can count on it.

Everytime you and others go on and on ad-nauseum about how bad fracking, how the industry lies distorts facts, pays people off etc. you insult all the people I know that work in the industry. Don't you get it people are a hypocrites when they rely on the very life blood of this country, but despise the industry. ..and yes I do care about jobs and the economic health of this country, notice the national debt recently, not too many more of us can be on the dole. I appologize for the rude terms, mostly they are directed at one person and it isn't you. Thank you for being polite to me ;-)

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Lizard, Much that you complain of never happened.

I am against fracking. I do not trust my water is safe from it.

If you take that as an insult to your friends in the business, ask them to explain to you why their chemicals should be exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Then you can explain it to me.

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sledneck 2 years, 3 months ago

Stosh is right. Clean coal is looking better all the time.

As the fracking liquids seep into their pourous gray matter I'll bet ANWaR and the Gulf of Mexico and Canadian tar-sands are looking better and better to Routt county greenies too.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

You know the answer to that question already. lewi, you just don't like it. The 2005 Act which passed in a bipartisan manner including BO's vote, does not mean there are not rules in place assuring clean water and regulating runoff. It's at the state level, however. Why do you think the EPA would do a better job of regulation in regards to water than the COGCC? . Are you concerned that O&G wells are not regulated in aggregate by the Clean Air Act, or is it just the Cheney/Halliburton 2005 act that worries you?
I am recsinding my apology in regards to hysteria after reading your comment on Moffat county drilling and Routt county pollution. (just teasing, wink) But seriously how can you be taken seriously when your comments are wild and full of what ifs, backed by no evidence. As for the study in TX, a comprehensive, million dollar study, the results were not what some wanted to hear so it must be full of holes and someone must be in the pocket of "big oil". Yeah right sledneck, I'm sure they will be backing coal, the Gulf, ANWaR, the tar sands, Keystone, nuclear, and low gas prices.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

No, I do not already know why fracking should have exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Apparently neither do you.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

I just told you lewi, you don't see what I wrote because you don't like it, I guess. Fracking is already regulated at the state level as it has been for the past 50 60 years. The 2005 Act didn't change that, it just confirmed it. Here, many big companies already have their chemical content on this site. http://fracfocus.org/

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pitpoodle 2 years, 3 months ago

Protecting our valuable water is neither hysterical or anti-energy silliness. Do not hide behind defending jobs, businesses and America's desire to be a first world country so that you can make a buck.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

We do protect our valuable water. Unreal.... Or maybe not I know I'm on the losing side of the battle for affordable energy, hells bells just google fracking.. You'll get 20 brazillion hits with 99.9 % of them negative. Few of them supported by fact, but the results of that hatred for a legitiment industry is parroted here, over and over. It's not just gas and oil either, don't you understand that the attacks against coal is one reason we now have higher electricity prices. Our "green" governor Ritter backed by a bipartisan group decided to "retire" certain coal fired electricty plants and convert them to natural gas. Now there is a war on fracking. Imagine that? There has been a war on nuclear for how long? A waste disposal site costing billions was built at Yucca Mountain but this administration won't fund it. It sits idle and we refuse to build new plants. Keystone pipleline, no way. . What do you think gives this country our standard of living, It's ENERGY. It's not just my need to make a ":buck" that energy has an impact on, it affects every aspect of your life, your neighbor's life and every single person in America's life. YES it is anti-energy silliness and hysteria, but you will probably eventually win. So cheers.

One more question, What do you know about fracking, pitpoodle, other than what you read here, or what you have googled? Just wondering?

Sorry for bothering you all.....

I

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pitpoodle 2 years, 3 months ago

Here's some of what I know about fracking. Researchers, health officials and individuals who have lived through a bad experience are concerned with potential consequences of fracking. The Yampa Valley has a unique and pristine watershed that we must protect. Any contamination would be terrible for all of us. People all across the country have reported their experience with this type of drilling and we should all listen to them before we take the gas and oil industry's word that everything will be fine. The New York Times and National Geographic and the EPA have researched situations and say the water supply could well be at risk. Not only could the quality of our water at risk but where will the loss of water to development come from? We need answers to this question. Remember, water is gold in the west and we need good facts before we decide to give it away to development. Health officials are calling for a nationwide moratorium on fracking so we can get the answers that will help determine just how water and air can be contaminated. Then there is the matter of local control - we need to make our own decisions about our quality of life, not let the commissioners off the hook because they believe the oil and gas industry. After all, developers are trying to make a buck and it could be at our expense. I hope we do win. You should hope we get the answers before irreversible damage happens.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 3 months ago

Good news, the State Department is going to announce the Keystone pipeline is DOA too. Health officials are calling for a moratorium on a 60 year old industry, with a very good track record. excellent! (let's not tell ND just yet, let them enjoy their 4% unemployment in peace for awhile); All those accidents all those deaths all that pollution, all that water in the hull, it's time to ban cruise lines too. We can never be to careful. I'm finished discussing this topic for the time being., You can get back to reading the posts from people telling us about armageddon and fracking. Much more tittilating. Maybe Kyle Elston moveon.org/ left wing activist can start another petition and the commisioners will really really listen this time.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

http://www.gwpc.org/e-library/documents/general/Our%20Drinking%20Water%20at%20Risk-%20What%20EPA%20and%20the%20Oil%20and%20Gas%20Industry%20Don’t%20Want%20us%20to%20Know%20About%20hydraulic%20Fracturing.pdf

The 2004 EPA study has been called “scientifically unsound” by EPA whistleblower Weston Wilson.3 In an October 2004 letter to Colorado’s congressional delegation, Wilson recommended that EPA continue investigating hydraulic fracturing and form a new peer review panel that would be less heavily weighted with members of the regulated industry.4 In March of 2005, EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley found enough evidence of potential mishandling of the EPA hydraulic fracturing study to justify a review of Wilson’s complaints.

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) has conducted a review of the EPA study. We found that EPA removed information from earlier drafts that suggested unregulated fracturing poses a threat to human health, and that the Agency did not include information that suggests fracturing fluids may pose a threat to drinking water long after drilling operations are completed. OGAP’s review of relevant data on hydraulic fracturing suggests that there is insufficient information for EPA to have concluded that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a threat to drinking water.

OGAP’s Main Findings

Hydraulic fracturing fluids contain toxic chemicals.

The EPA states that many chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluids are linked to human health effects. These effects include cancer; liver, kidney, brain, respiratory and skin disorders; birth defects; and other health problems. The draft EPA study included calculations showing that even when diluted with water at least nine hydraulic fracturing chemicals may be injected into USDWs at concentrations that pose a threat to human health. These chemicals are: benzene, phenanthrenes, naphthalene, 1- methylnapthalene, 2-methylnapthalene, fluorenes, aromatics, ethylene glycol and methanol. This important information was removed from the final study.

Chemicals are injected directly into drinking water aquifers.

Some geological formations contain groundwater of high enough quality to be considered underground sources of drinking water. According to EPA, ten out of eleven coalbed methane basins in the U.S. are located, at least in part, within USDWs, and EPA determined that in some cases, hydraulic fracturing chemicals are injected directly into USDWs during the course of normal fracturing operations. Additionally, even if hydraulic fracturing does not occur directly in USDWs, it is possible that USDWs adjacent to hydraulically fractured formations may become contaminated by fracturing fluids. EPA cited a study conducted in six U.S. states, which found that in 50% of CBM hydraulic fracturing stimulations the fracturing fluids moved out of the coals and into adjacent formations.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Hydraulic fracturing company recommends that unused fluids be disposed of as hazardous waste.

The hydraulic fracturing company Schlumberger recommends that many of its fracturing fluids be disposed of at hazardous waste facilities. Yet these same fluids are allowed to be injected directly into or adjacent to USDWs. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act no other industries are allowed to inject hazardous wastes –unchecked- directly into USDWs. EPA does not provide any scientific data to demonstrate that the hazardous characteristics of fracturing fluids are reduced enough to make it safe to inject these chemicals into or close to USDWs.

Citizens from across the country have been affected by hydraulic fracturing.

Citizens from Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama and Wyoming have reported changes in water quality and quantity following hydraulic fracturing operations. Common complaints include: murky or cloudy water, black or gray sediments, iron precipitates, soaps, black jelly-like grease, floating particles, diesel fuel or petroleum odors, increased methane in water, rashes from showering, gassy taste and decrease or complete loss of water flow. In most cases, the agencies conducting follow-up water quality sampling do not know what chemicals have been used in fracturing operations because companies are not required to disclose this information. Consequently, state agencies and EPA do not test for all fracturing fluid chemicals. Citizens have also experienced soil and surface water contamination from spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids.

Some contamination may not show up for decades.

When wells are hydraulically fractured, a portion of the fracturing fluids remains stranded in the target formation. In some areas, hundreds or thousands of wells are hydraulically fractured, often multiple times. At least two hydrogeologists wrote to EPA expressing concern that as groundwater tables rise (post oil or gas development), the groundwater could mobilize these stranded fluids. EPA does not address this issue in its study.

EPA ruled out further study despite huge gaps in scientific data.

The EPA study is essentially a scientific literature review. What becomes clear from reading EPA’s study is that there are huge gaps in data on fracturing fluid toxicity, fracture behavior, quantities of fracturing fluid left stranded in the formation, chemical fate and transport of fracturing fluids trapped underground, and groundwater quality following fracturing events. Given the dearth of information, it is irresponsible to conclude that hydraulic fracturing of coal beds or any other geological formations does not pose a risk to drinking water and human health. Yet this is exactly what EPA does.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

EPA’s findings absolutely support the need to continue to Phase II of the study.

In its study methodology, EPA stated that it would not conduct Phase II of the study if the investigation found that: 1) No hazardous constituents were used in fracturing fluids; 2) Hydraulic fracturing did not increase the hydraulic connection between previously isolated formations; and 3) Reported incidents of water quality degradation could be attributed to other, more plausible causes. As mentioned above, the EPA found that there are numerous hydraulic fracturing chemicals that are toxic or hazardous in their pure and diluted forms. It has been shown that fractures and fracturing fluids move out of targeted formations. And while EPA was unable to find conclusive evidence to directly link citizen water quality concerns with hydraulic fracturing, this in itself does not prove that harm has not occurred or will not occur. The data that are available support the need to continue evaluating the environmental and human health risks posed by hydraulic fracturing.

88888888888888

The above link and quoted study is from the website of Groundwater Protection Council

http://www.gwpc.org/home/GWPC_Home.dwt

who is half of FracFocus. The other half is the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

I found FracFocus glossy as a tour. So I went to the GWPC website and used its search option, which seemed very well done. Searched "contamination". Maybe someone can show me where FracFocus has the same report? It would help my faith in the FracFocus site.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

You make me so mad lewi, I was done commenting then you have to drag me into it again. haaha. I can't click on your first link, it won't work. OGAP and Earthworks have an agenda, so their findings are slanted, gwpc links to it, but doesn't necessarily condone, but I'd have to be able to link to the original l to see it in it's entirety to get your point.

You didn't like my oilprice site, although I was just trying to link you to the MIT study, so you can certainly understand my skepticism about an Earthworks site.

I was unaware that fracfocus did anything but "On this site you can search for information about the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells". not contamination or spills.

I was just reading the letter from B. Beall in which he states, "the rules and regulations of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to which the Routt County Board of Commissioners defer are not adequate to protect our environment;" and "The Routt County Board of Commissioners, which has deferred to the COGCC, is unwilling to establish regulations that would protect Routt County’s environment, rural culture and tourism-based economy."

Really, and it's people like you and lewi here that want to give it all over to the feds via the EPA, who would be expected to understand the 50 states and each county therein.

Then there is that entire commisioners defering to the COGCC, they have to. As an example:

"The Attorney General’s Office last week sent a letter warning El Paso County that its proposed oil and gas drilling regulations conflicted with state regulations.

The letter, dated Jan. 10, cited proposed rules on setbacks, excavations, water quality, wildlife, visual and noise impacts and permitting that it argued are in the purview of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission."

http://www.elbertcounty.net/blog/

...but from the same site, and I realize this is your goal.

"Schuller said that if the regulatory climate becomes too burdensome, oil and gas companies will redirect their money and resources elsewhere, to the detriment of the local governments and schools that benefit from the taxes the industry pays."

so thanks to people like Ben, "“There’s a lot of misinformation that if these things aren’t regulated at the county level, they aren’t regulated at all,” Schuller said."

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Lizard, First, its easy to believe what you think. Easier still when information you don't like is "misinformation" or "has an agenda".

Second, you continually attribute comments and positions to me that I never made. Your sites are fine. Oilprice is fine. I tried to discuss it with you and you ran away. I'll try again. Quoting from 1/13 post above:

"Lizard, You dismiss the reports of health problems as anecdotal silliness. There are plenty more of those, but why bother - Oilprice.com has the information you trust. Let's use your source then. Oilprice is telling you there are problems, but these are negligible and can be fixed. There is a tremendous economic upside. I'm sure this means a lot to you. Certainly there is an economic upside. But you shouldn't allow yourself to ignore that each of those 42 incidents involved a person, a neighborhood or even a whole town. A town such as Dish, TX. There will be more incidents. That's o.k. with you? If so I can't help but contrast this with your earlier post insisting your right to do as you please with your mineral rights. Do those people in MIT's 42 incidents have no rights beside yours?"

Do those people in MIT's 42 incidents have no rights beside yours?

Do you insist people are not harmed?

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

Again, I used oilprice as a link to the MIT study. Naturally you read the MIT study, right? From that study,

"Of the 43 widely reported incidents, almost half appear to be related to the contamination of shallow water zones primarily with natural gas. Another third of reported incidents pertain to on-site surface spills. In the studies surveyed, no incidents are reported which conclusively demonstrate contamination of shallow water zones with fracture fluids."

Trucks hauling hazardous material have been known to wreck and spill. It happens.

Pitpoodle was worried about all that " water we would be givng the industry" or something "While there may be temporary impacts on local resources, the overall impact is small, as can be seen when the volumes are placed in the context of total water usage. Table 2.6 looks at water usage for shale gas operations as a fraction of total water usage in a number of major shale plays — in all cases shale development water usage represents less than 1% of total water usage in the affected areas."

People worry about their wells,

"The fracturing process itself poses minimal risk to the shallow groundwater zones that may" ...in all but one case there are several thousand feet of rock — typically sandstones and shales, many of which have very low permeability — separating the fractures shale formation and the groundwater zones. It should be noted here that only shallow zones contain potable water; as depths increase, the salinity of the groundwater increases to the point that it has no practical utility."

Many many wells have been drilled,

"With over 20,000 shale wells drilled in the last 10 years, the environmental record of shale gas development has for the most part been a good one."

I now get it, you want perfection with no risk? Is that it? What if our ancestors had lived in such fear with no hope or desire to explore and advance, we would still be living in caves for fear of anything new or of change. Fracking isn't perfect, but new technologies along with continued vigilance will make it better all the time.I'm not really sure if you are in agreement with Pitpoodle and want a nationwide moratorium on fracking or if you are just pushing for better methods.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Fracking is so far from perfect.

The oil companies will only use it now if they have immunity from our most basic and most fundamental protections - the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

Drop the "trade secrets" and instead have patents. Rebuild our basic air and water act protections relative to tracking.

That's what I want.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

Okay, so at least I can assume you aren't for a moratorium which would put thousands and thousands of people out of work and make the cost of energy skyrocket. It would truly be insanity.

Again, I'm asking you why you believe the EPA would do a better job of regulating through all the various acts, than the COGCC here in CO? I ask and you just "ran away" and didn't answer. The FDA regulates food and drugs among other things and we still seem to have inadequate protection. Look at the deaths from canteloupe this summer. It happens. Does the TSA work to perfection, HHS, the ATF with the gunwalker scandal?

What if the EPA did gain primacy over state regulators under a president like Obama. Then say congress and the presidency changed hands and under the new administration it all was deregulated? What then?

The COGCC in CO knows more about CO than a bureaucrat in Washington plus it's more consistent, closer to the people and those same people can make changes. ie the fracking disclosure law. Which is a good law despite your misgivings.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes I do want a moratorium in Routt. Until the EPA presents its new fracking studies and the confusion and uncertainty of health impacts is addressed at the EPA level. Its final report on its review of fracking is due in 2014. Preliminary findings to be published in 2012. Here is a link to that schedule:

http://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracture/

The COGCC is not a research entity. The EPA is. The scale of such a study is also too large for a single state. I do not have complete faith in the EPA. But I have more now that the POTUS is not redacting chunks of their work. Canteloupe problems emanate from one farm. O&G chemical problems could emanate from thousands of wells across the country.

I expect the RCPC packet has the letters from the COGCC and the Colorado Assistant Attorney General's office to Douglas and Arapahoe Counties, respectively. If you read these you will see how they are insisting against counties, and Routt, writing any regulations that exceed their own.

Why would one insist that no county have stricter regulations than the COGCC? Because they hold the oil and gas interests higher than they hold the counties interests, is my opinion.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

What is insane?

We are subsidizing the oil and gas industry, accepting their pollutions and carbon impacts at not cost to them, to achieve rock bottom market prices of natural gas that in turn are gutting all incentives in the renewables market.

That is insane.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

You want a moratorium in Routt county, never mind the people whose small business contracts with the Gas and Oil companies, or the many people that will be working directly for the companies. Never mind them, the EPA needs to do a study....then it will be safe. Again, I remind you a new adminstration may not be as anti-energy as this one and may want to unburden the energy industry from some of the more cumbersome regulations. Could be they would even open up more public lands to drilling and lift the moratorium in the Gulf. Those cantaloupe came from one farm, but you must be aware that food borne illnesses are very common, even though the industry is heavily regulated by the FDA. Something like 3,000 people died last year from food contamination in one form or another. How many people have died from fracking? Sure workplace accidents have happened, but OSHA covers that so the workplace should have been safe, right.... but what about all the fracking deaths. Just like the class action lawsuit in Garfield county someone was talking about, it's all about what will potentially happen after 60 years, not what has happened. You think the COGCC doesn't know what they are doing, why would you expect county commisioners to be experts in G&O to the point where they can create rules and regs that are not within the scope of their expertise or knowledge. They regulate, as they should through their land use codes and roads. What is insane? It's insane to put THOUSANDS of people out of work, and shut down the gas and oil industry in the US. I read somewhere that 95% of drilling is now done through fracking. Perhaps you can prove me wrong. We are subsidizing the gas and oil industry more than renewables? Most of the so called subsidies for gas and oil are really tax breaks that any company gets, they are not direct government spending as subsidies for renewables are.

"Subsidies directed toward coal amounted to slightly more than $0.64 per 1,000 kw-hour of electricity generated by coal. Subsidies to natural gas electricity generation were slightly less than $0.64 per 1,000 kw-hours. Nuclear energy fared somewhat better, receiving subsidies totaling about $3.10 per 1,000 kw-hours. But renewables received much more, about $15.43 per 1,000 kw-hours."

http://www.oilgaslawbrief.com/ This information comes from the EIA, a government agency, certainly they must be trustworhy. The amount of money we give to non-renewables which will never meet our energy needs is insanity, indeed.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Liz, do you have a source for your information that "thousands and thousands" of people would lose jobs they already have in Routt County?

I understand there are contractors etc. involved ahead of production (quite a few who Quicksilver apparently let go last week) but don't see how a temporary moratorium would possibly affect that many existing (not potential) jobs already held in our county. I don't have any solid data. Do you?

I agree that out-of-state is out-of-mind and prefer more local control where possible, which by extension means our elected county officials, who (theoretically at least) have the best interests of our citizens in mind, moreso than COGCC or the EPA would, certainly.

Also, I think you misread Lewi's post about subsidies to mean direct financial encouragement of the O&G industry. My take on his words indicate he's saying those who are left do deal with the aftermath of O&G production will bear the ultimate costs of any aftereffects, thus unwillingly subsidizing their businesses since those costs don't show up in the production P&L equation. At the same time, their production is sold elsewhere and our ability to develop alternative energy strategies here at home is diminished.

We'll never be able to wean ourselves off oil if we don't actively pursue other sources of energy. Maybe one answer would be to structure a way that a portion of any income to the county from O&G production could be directed towards developing renewable strategies here, strategies that might support life here when the bust comes around again.

On another note, renewables constitute a newer (and highly various) industry so it doesn't surprise me that your figures indicate higher upfront costs than those expended on mature, single-sourced industries.

I'm puzzled why you rail against the EPA, though, then claim the EIA is trustworthy?

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm hurt sedgemo, you didn't follow this fascinating conversation word for word and because of that you didn't understand the thousands of jobs being lost comment. sigh. .Pitpoodle said a moratorium should be put on fracking nationwide, I said that's insanity, think of the lost jobs, lewi said it wasn't insanity and so on. It was national job loss not Routt county. I'm talking jobs that will occur in the county true, not necessarily existing. I think there are probably quite a few Coloradoans currently in ND, TX or WY that would love to be closer to home working. Yes, I think our elected county officials would have the county's best interest at heart more so than either the COGCC or EPA but they lack even the ability to hire experts in the fiield to advise them, remember that conversation? That's why I think the state level is the best place for rules and regs ro be made. I misread, lewi's comments about subsidies? I guess I don't get what he was saying then, because we are not gutting the renewables subsidies in any way even in the face of scandals based on political favortism. Here is an interesting take on renewables, I hope you have time to read it. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-27/energy-subsidies-stymie-wind-solar-innovation-nathan-myhrvold.html The EIA commet was for just for fun, it's actually an independent agency which produeces numbers for the feds. The EPA is purely political swaying with the political climate. IMO

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pitpoodle 2 years, 2 months ago

"The COGCC in CO knows more about CO than a bureaucrat in Washington plus it's more consistent, closer to the people and those same people can make changes."

No, no. COGCC in CO is a defender of the gas and oil industry. It may be located in Colorado but in no way is it closer to the people (except with those who are part of the industry) and it is next to impossible for people to make changes in COGCC directives. The people closest to the situation are in Routt County not Denver.

There is some good news for all who want more local control of oil and gas drilling, however. Earlier this month proponents won a case brought by an oil and gas company, SG Interests, that sued Gunnison County claiming the county could not regulate certain aspects of its operations because of preemption by state and federal regulations. On January 3, 2012, Gunnison County District Judge Stephen Patrick's ruling stated, "there is no express or implied preemption". He cited a 2003 case in which the drilling company BDS International brought suit against Gunnison County on the same grounds. The 2003 case was upheld by the court's decision and gives a big win to the residents of Routt County and the general public all across Colorado.

Local control is our best defense.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

This is interesting, but all I could find about it was from anti-fracking sites, no original documents. One comment on the coloradopolis site did shed some light maybe.

"The state does not have the ability to preempt local government land use authority for oil and gas. Local governments do not have the ability to restrict oil and gas operations. Also, unless I'm mistaken, the Gunnison case didn't mention fracking, which is a technical matter that locals don't have regulatory authority over (even though groups like What The Frack claim they do). SG tried to argue that since the state went through the COGCC rule review then those new rules should preempt local land use regulations. The court disagreed and reaffirmed that in some areas there continues to be a local and state interest." http://www.coloradopols.com/diary/17089/gunnison-wins-one-for-all-of-us

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Liz, sorry, I have been reading (this and many other places) and there were comments about a local moratorium, which I supported via petition and which was more or less promptly pitched by our county officials.

For the purposes of this conversation, we have less than zero influence on anything outside our county, and maybe not much more than that within our county. My instincts lead me to seek more local decision making rather than national, for the obvious reasons.

If our county can drop $500 k in a single meeting to re-engineer the water line to the airport (somehow overlooked in the design phase?) I think a case can be made that something far more important to this county would be hiring (either salary or consultant, I don't care which) someone with the expertise to guide us through these issues, especially since we will have two commissioner vacancies likely this fall. The repercussions of wrong or poor (or politically aimed) decisions made now could haunt generations to come.

On a related issue, I heard this week two troubling pieces of information I cannot verify. Can anyone else? First was a plan to dam the Yampa near Echo Park and use the water for fracking. Second was that cities/governments can condemn water for their own use regardless of who owns the rights. Anyone have anything soild on these issues?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, The Echo Park Dam was I believe the project that David Brower bargained off the table by withholding serious objection to the Glenn Canyon Dam. That would be a tough sell to put back on the table. There was another "pumpback" site proposed near Maybell a few years back by Aron Million, but it has cooled to my knowledge.

Its hard to imagine the state AG's office is actually telling the Counties they have no legal right to place extra protections on their water quality. Same story as above link:

http://coloradoindependent.com/110207/oil-and-gas-activist-groups-buoyed-by-gunnison-county-district-court-ruling

"Tisha Conoly Schuller, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), posted a blog entitled “Why Public Meetings Make Me Nervous.” She said she empathizes with the concerns, fear and anger of local citizens living near oil and gas drilling."

“So much emotion deserving of empathy,” Schuller wrote. “So much misinformation and little to no opportunity to correct it. The impotence of seeing scared citizens and uncertain decision makers taking in so much inaccuracy drives the blood to beat in my ears. In three minutes, how can I inspire them to look further, question the information, and participate in the conversation about responsible energy development?”

Tisha, I suggest you start by explaining how industry exemptions from our Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act meet any standard of "responsible energy development".

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Hickenlooper has a point - 64 different county regs would be too many. Though one of the state folks in El Paso said only about half of Colorado's counties actually have the resources to prompt oil and gas development. Still, using 32 different regs is too many.

Solution:

Counties have the option to: 1) meet COGCC regs at a minimum, or 2) use any regulation template that is adopted by a minimum of 5 Counties. 3) Minor variation from each regulatory template is allowed only to the extent required by unique conditions within a jurisdiction.

At worst there will be 6 templates. Likely fewer given the work of 5 counties "agreeing". Bystander counties would tend to gravitate to an existing template. Asking the industry to work with maybe 4 sets of regulations is entirely reasonable. Capping the number of templates at, say 4, would be wrong because it could be used to limit the freedom of counties to upgrade to better templates.

What do you say, governor?

o.k., none of my friends read this blog either.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

Tis okay Sedgemo, I'm once again going to bow out, but I'll leave you guys with the rest of the blog from COGA President & CEO Tisha Conoly Schuller ,

.....But second, I have a passionate desire to correct the misinformation. There is so much blatantly untrue information about oil and gas information at these public meetings. Everything from urban legends gone wild, to myths perpetuated by Gasland, to individuals’ fears stated as facts.......

this concerning Safe Drinking Water Act, ...."There is a general misunderstanding that the bipartisan 2005 Energy Bill exempted oil and gas activities from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It was never intended to be subject to the SDWA and it has never been regulated under the SDWA – not in the 60-year history of the technology, the 40-year history of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or the 36-year history of the law.......Previous studies conducted by respected authorities have all concluded that hydraulic fracturing is safe. EPA (2004), the Ground Water Protection Council (2009), and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (2002) have all found hydraulic fracturing non-threatening to the environment or public health.....

and this, I thought the spellings were interchangeable ".......It is a technical term referring to a specific activity. The activist community uses fracing (its correct spelling) to refer to any activity associated with oil and gas activity. This disconnect is impeding our ability to have an honest, respectful, and empathetic dialogue. We are talking past each other and using language as both weapon and shield. I’ve sat in more than one audience in the past two months where someone had a piece of paper taped to their forehead that said “Frack off” or “Frack you”. The addition of the K, once deemed clever, is now rude. “What the frack” and “no fracking way” have become clichés of the worst kind: they build walls rather than bridges to communication........" http://www.coga.org/index.php Anyway I've learned a lot in our private conversation, probably no one I know reads this either.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Lewi, I know the story from the Brower era, this story was intended for today. I'll keep turning over stones and if I find anything more than rumor will come back and post.

LIz, you got me wondering if people are interchanging the SDWA and the Clean Water Act. My understanding was the Halliburton loophole was an exemption from the Federal CWA.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

There is a general misunderstanding that the oil and gas activities were intended to be subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act?

EVERYTHING should be subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, From Chesapeake Energy:

http://www.chk.com/media/educational-library/fact-sheets/corporate/regulatory_framework_fact_sheet.pdf

"Natural Gas and Oil Exploration and Production is Heavily Regulated"

"The development of natural gas and oil, including from deep shale formations, is regulated under a stringent system of federal, state, and local laws that addresses every aspect of the natural gas and oil industry’ s operations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EP A) administers federal environmental laws, either directly or by delegating authority to the states."

"As applied to the natural gas and oil industry, the Clean Water Act regulates surface discharges associated with drilling and production and storm water runoff from production sites to certain waters. The Underground Injection Control program of the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates the underground injection of wastes from all industries including the natural gas and oil industry. The Clean Air Act limits air emissions from engines, gas processing equipment, and other sources associated with drilling and production. Contrary to common belief, the natural gas and oil industry is not exempt from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)."

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

quoting again:

Clean Water Act regulates SURFACE discharges

Safe Drinking Water Act regulates the underground injection of wastes

The Clean Air Act limits air emissions from engines, gas processing equipment, and other sources associated with drilling and production.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Lewi, for the clarification. I didn't understand the relation between the CWA and the SDWA, I thought CWA as the overarching act, and only became aware of the associated Halliburton Loophole last November. I'm reading and writing in these online comment sections in an effort to learn more and take the conversation forward for our County.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

The website of the Groundwater Protection Council: http://www.gwpc.org/home/GWPC_Home.dwt who is half of FracFocus has a thorough search option. Useful for water questions.

Injection of wastes means "disposal wells", which I gather are "Class II" wells. There may be less than 10 of these in Colorado.

So the SDWA does not address fracking and other production methods which are typically Class I. The CWA does not touch what they do underground.

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