Lynn Abbott: Time for Pilot series


Your recent articles regarding oil and gas development in Routt County bring to mind many questions. It would be marvelous to reap the benefits of new jobs for Routt County and to reduce dependence on foreign oil for our nation, but first we must learn how this would affect our community.

One well is already in place near Wolf Mountain. A proposed second well on the Camilletti property was tabled until March 1 by the Routt County Planning Commission. While the county researches the issues regarding the tabled proposal, the Steamboat Pilot & Today has an opportunity to present an authoritative series of articles giving us all an accurate picture of what to expect if these two exploratory wells were to go into full production and if many more wells were to be permitted in the future. Here are a few questions to start the conversation:

The process

■ How many trucks a day will haul out the oil produced? Will they carry that oil through downtown Steamboat to the refinery in Commerce City or through Hayden to Utah? How will the natural gas be moved?

■ How equipped are our roads and bridges for this traffic? Will the oil companies pay for road construction and repair?

■ How prepared are we for an emergency such as an explosion, fire or cave-in at the well site?

■ In your article of Jan. 18, what does the third tank in the picture contain? Its contents are described as “well fluids,” but what are they?

■ Will there be hydraulic fracturing at these wells? If so, what fluids will be used? Where will the water come from and how will the used water be disposed of? Is waterless fracking an option?

■ What will be the effect on our water and air quality?

■ Do we know how many wells could potentially be permitted?

Social, economic concerns

■ How many jobs for these projects will go to local workers?

■ How many people will be imported? Where will they be housed?

■ What impact can our schools expect?

■ Some oil-boom communities have experienced increases in drug and alcohol use, crime and sexually transmitted disease. What precautions can we take to avoid these?

■ How will this affect property values? Our tourism industry?

I inherited mineral rights years ago from my grandfather, and I hold oil and gas leases. It is therefore especially important to me that if these leases go forward, it is with the utmost care and concern for the people and environment of Routt County. Please use your investigative resources to inform your readers about the impacts of the proposed oil and gas drilling on our communities.

Lynn Abbott

Steamboat Springs


Fred Duckels 5 years, 2 months ago

Lynn, You start out by indicating a desire to be reasonable, but first you want a myriad of concerns explained. I have noticed the same pattern used on the Catamount Ski Area, La Farge gravel pit, Steamboat 700 and now oil drilling among others. In the end this has been code for NO-NOT NEVER. No matter how many concerns are met there will always be more to satisfy. If the Pilot conforms to your request we willl have the whole community participating in a "What if" scenario to bury drilling. Las Vegas has put all their eggs in the gambling-tourist basket and now are regretting that decision. We are hell bent to produce a tourist trap here and discourage any other tax opportunities. Tourism alone will be hard pressed to pay the bills on the infrastructure we have now.


Fred Duckels 5 years, 2 months ago

During the last construction boom, affordable housing was used as a political tool to slow development by the same groups that wish to stop growth. In the end this feel good boondoggle has been exposed for what it is. I think it necessary to point out this pattern to control the valley. Naysaying is a powerful tool and takes very little resources, think twice before falling for this ideological trap.


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

How will the oil be hauled? The oil that goes in YOUR car. How will the gas be moved? The gas that heats YOUR house. How equipped are our roads...? The roads that will take YOUR kids to school or to the emergency room. Jobs? YOUR job. YOUR kids job. YOUR grandkids job. Housing? YOUR house. YOUR kids house Water? The water YOU and YOUR family must have to stay alive.

Where will the infrastructure come from for all this and more? It won't exist if we do not build it. China is building their dams; their pipelines; their highways. They are making deals for their minerals, their coal, their electricity, their water, their lumber. All the while Americas elitists stand safely on the sidelines and do little more than demean and humiliate those who try to provide for our future.

I wonder if environmentalists ever really ask any of those "what are we gonna do about..." questions in a gunuine planning context rather than in the context of obstruction. They have been obstructing all those things for so long I wonder if they are even capable of understanding that having those capabilities is what makes a society prosperous.

It used to be "NIMBY"... Not In My Back Yard. Now it's "BANANA"... Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.


Steve Lewis 5 years, 2 months ago

Its a coded conspiracy. Its an ideological trap. Its demeaning and humiliation of the oil and gas industry.


Its a list of questions.


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

I am merely suggesting we ought ask ourselves those same questions not just for the sake of one industry but for the sake of our nations infrastructure, which has been sorely neglected for decades and often in the name of environmental protection.

I am not worried about humiliating the oil industry. I couldn't care less. But when every attempt to provide for this nations infrastructure is met with the same chicken-little type hand wringing it soon becomes a problem.

As a nation we have now studied and batted the Keystone pipeline back and forth longer than it took us to ramp up for, fight, and win World War II. If you can not see the implications in that disgraceful truth, Lewi, that is in my opinion, largely YOUR problem.


Kerrie Cooper 5 years, 2 months ago

WOW, why is being thoroughly educated on a subject soooo threatening to the folks above? Seems to me, if the practice of fracking was truly a harmless practice, there would be no issue in listing all the answers to Lynn's questions. CAN you say red flags in the thinking of the folks listed above and of the industry and the newspaper that has not all ready answered these questions.

Greed and evil, love nothing more than ignorance, secrecy and threats.


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

Being thoroughly educated is something for which I have long advocated.

In fact I so agree with Lovestoread that I expect they would join me in advocating a minimum aptitude test for voting eligibility, hmmmm? Would you support that, Lovestoread????? That wouldn't be too "threatening" would it?

How long should it take a man to learn the answers to Lynns questions, Lovestoread? As long as it took to put a man on the moon? As long as it took to build the Hoover Dam? What's a reasonable timeframe, Lovestoread? And will you, Lovestoread, turn YOUR lights and thermostat off untill those questions are answered to your complete satisfaction??


Fred Duckels 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't think that the Pilot should be a research or propaganda arm of the environmentalists nor should this group be allowed to pressure for censure on opposing views..


sedgemo 5 years, 2 months ago

Gosh, all. I read this article very differently. This is a woman who owns mineral rights and is very probably considering selling or leasing them, but wanting a clearer picture of what is involved beforehand. Her questions indicate she hasn't attended the planning sessions where a lot of the answers she seeks were addressed. Lynn is clearly trying to make thoughtful decisions and asking the paper to become part of that process. I see nothing that strikes me as censuring, other than nobody seems to want to mention how much money is trading hands in both directions.

I think her request of this paper to present some better background information, is timely and not outrageous. Maybe we could return to the Rob/Cari sort of opposing view articles to help our community grapple with the way forward.


Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 2 months ago

I worked for many years in the oil patch. New technology automating production and such with microprocessors and transducers and controls powered by solar panels. I was impressed at the environmental care involved. But hey, they were a responsible major oil company until BP bought them out.

Lynn's questions and concerns are just that: questions and concerns. I'm not concerned about each and every one of her bullet points, but her questions didn't sprout from some whackadoodle tinfoil-hat fantasy.

IMHO these are legitimate questions. (WTF is an illegitimate question?)

Lynn, you may have to write the series yourself.


kathy foos 5 years, 2 months ago

Oil production peaked out in 2007,to say producing more oil to satisfy the needs of our future is a reality is a flat out misrepresentation.Not even possible,in say seventy years we will be all out of oil.The question to me is will that generation seventy years from now be wallowing in filthy chemicals looking for pure water source,clean air?Living a filthy hell?Cursing our current generation for ruining it for greed.Save the water,it starts here in our mountains and flows out of our mountains clean and clear ,under and overland.That Keystone pipeline wants to sell to South America along with American company's.They are driving the price up right now on natural gas by not producing,then plan to sell to Mexico the gas fracking shale oil,other country's buy the product and we live with the filth,there is no guarntee that these Inland Fracking operations will help our country.Can't push that patriotic angle.In the Gulf Coast you all saw how it happens for ruining the water land and quality of all peoples employment.Learn from it.We need Inland oil safety in a very big way. If there is an aptitude test for voting in the future Sledneck,I rest assured you will loose your voting rights.


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

Seriously Kathy; spaces. The price of Nat Gas is low and dropping. It's down 35%in the last month. You know nothing of what you speak. And Kathy, if voting could change anything it would be illegal.


cheesehead 5 years, 2 months ago

Aptitude tests for voting. Imagine the political bitch fight involved in writing that up....


sledneck 5 years, 2 months ago

How about everybody gets 1 vote. Then you get an additional vote for every $10,000 you pay in taxes.

Do the people paying the bills at your house make the rules or do the kids make the rules? Same should be true in government.


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