News

Unity in the Community 2017

From the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce:

Unity in the Community is a Chamber premier event that welcomes business, non-profit and political leaders from the region and the state. Unity is open to the public at no charge and provides a unique opportunity to network with a vast number of representatives from the business, political and non-profit sectors.

Date and Time: Feb, 23 2017   5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
RSVP Deadline: Feb, 22 2017 at 05:00 pm (Please call 303-776-5295 if past deadline)
Location: Plaza Convention Center, 1850 Industrial Circle, Longmont, CO 80501 (Map)
Cost: Chamber Member:  $ 0
Non-Member:  $ 0
Seats: Limited Seats Remaining


Cory Gardner – photo by MDWray

I’ve been informed that Cory Gardner might very well be there.

If you’ve been trying to see him or ask him a question, this might be just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Please be sure to attend and take LOTS of photos and videos – FRL is happy to publish your best. Always fun to see Cory’s face when he’s being asked a hard question.

Enjoy!

Littwin: Gigantic, enormous, colossal, unpresidented women’s march drives Trump mad

From the Colorado Independent:

These are, as they say, early days. And as the nascent Trump era progresses — if that’s the right word — we will continue to see things we’ve never seen or heard before.

For starters, we’ve never heard an inaugural speech like Trump’s American carnage address.

We’ve never seen a counter-inaugural demonstration drawing an astonishing 3 million across the country, many of the protesters wearing pussy hats and many carrying signs about a president keeping his tiny hands off the First Amendment. If you think you were stunned by the turnout — the 100,ooo-marchers-strong aerial shot of Civic Center is a remarkable testament to those Coloradans trying to take their country back — imagine how Trump felt.

We’ve never seen a press secretary, on his first day, ordered by the president to read out a pack of lies about, of all things, crowd size and insist they were true – period. Or see a presidential counselor say the lies were actually “alternative facts.” Or see Orwell cited quite so accurately quite so early in a president’s tenure.

We have seen Trump embarrass himself many times, but never quite as he did, as president, at the CIA, standing in front of the wall honoring the CIA dead, using the occasion to accuse the press of willfully deflating his inauguration numbers and of falsely creating a rift between him and the intelligence agencies that he had compared to Nazis.

We’ve never seen a president, in his first days, hold a meet-and-greet with congressional leaders and tell them the already clearly debunked lie that he had lost the popular vote only because 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants voted for Clinton, who apparently was not smart enough, as several observers have pointed out, to wield these voters in, say, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

He can’t let go — of anything. He can’t move on — from anything. Getting elected isn’t enough. It has to be the greatest election. The most colossal crowds. A global movement. And still that won’t satisfy. We can only imagine what the GOP congressional leaders were thinking – that they have to pretend for four years that this is remotely normal. Remarkably, in the face of Trump’s allegation of massive voter fraud, no one called for an investigation. A better response, of course, would be to call for an intervention.

Read the rest at the Colorado Indpependent.

Oil and gas ‘third party validation’ and message control

Kaye Fissinger #123

Kaye Fissinger, Longmont, CO.

In mid-May, I went into “enemy territory” to hear what the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) had to teach regulators from oil-and-gas-producing states and the ex-officio industry that it actually represents. The IOGCC is similar to the COGCC, but on steroids.

The IOGCC conference had two sessions on “crisis communication.” The first had presenters from the Ohio oil and gas regulatory body and the second was led by a regulator from our own COGCC. The 2013 flood was the example in his presentation. What an incredible whitewash of the event as it pertained to oil and gas and a textbook example of message control! The second presenter was none other than Karen Crummy, communications director for CRED and Protect Colorado.

CRED is the organization that keeps bringing you (ad nauseum) TV ads about how great and wonderful fracking and oil and gas are. Never mind that their visuals do not reflect environmental realities. Protect Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence is the issue committee against Yes for Health and Safety over Fracking. George Orwell would have been so pleased at Protect Colorado’s name. Remember the Church Lady? She would have said, “Well, isn’t that special?” to the first place position of the environment.

Yes for Health and Safety is gathering signatures to place the constitutional amendments No. 75 (local control) and No. 78 (mandatory 2,500-foot setbacks) on November’s ballot. The health and safety of all of us is precisely what these amendments are all about. It’s time to get the state’s priorities straight, and the only way this can happen is a change in the state constitution. The legislature has failed the people. Governor Hickenlooper is even worse.

Here are the kickers from the regulators’ bedfellow, the oil and gas industry — in how to handle the public in a crisis. And No. 75 and No. 78 are certainly a “crisis” from the oil and gas industry’s perspective.

  1. Get out there first.
  2. Get out there loud.
  3. Control the message.
  4. Get “third party validation” for the oil and gas industry talking points.
  5. Tell people that their health and safety comes first, even if they don’t mean it.

The fourth is a doozy! Think about the University of Boulder oil and gas economics studies by the Leeds School of Business. These studies used industry modeling and gave the decision for releasing the results to that very same industry. No chance that a message other than one in support of their talking points would ever see the light of day. The Boulder Weekly did a thorough investigative report called “Behind the Curtain” that connected all the dots between Leeds and the industry.

And the latest report from the COGCC on Initiative 78 was requested by Mayor Tom Holton of Fort Lupton, also a COGCC commissioner. Holton regularly plays footsie with the oil and gas industry. And that report is ripe with flaws and omissions. Just what the industry was looking for.

See how “third party validation” works?

A good authority, at an earlier IOGCC conference, heard publicly that CRED was created because of Longmont’s success in overwhelmingly passing the ban on fracking and its waste products.

As it turned out, Coloradans can’t trust the Colorado Supreme Court either. Older folks might remember an ad from decades ago that said “a little dab will do ya.” Now its “a little phone call will do ya” with a well-laid foundation by the oil and gas industry that dates back a century or more.

Because the Colorado courts have said that Coloradans’ constitutional rights as already enumerated are essentially irrelevant, we have no other choice than to make it monumentally clear that the state constitution says otherwise. No wiggle room and no establishing priority of rights by the Colorado Supreme Court when it comes to oil and gas and the people.

State law does not override the constitution and preemption is state statute, not an article in our constitutional. At least not yet. If you see people asking for your signature on No. 138, don’t sign. This initiative enshrines preemption into the state constitution. If you do sign, you will be giving up your rights to health and safety, potentially in perpetuity.

Kaye Fissinger is president of Our Longmont.

Comparing the Choices

Bruce Lindner, Portland, OR

Bruce Lindner, Portland, OR

So I’m reading this morning that the GOP has adopted two more policies to be included in the official convention platform next week: To build Trump’s wall along the border with Mexico and to recognize pornography as a public health crisis. Let me see if I have this right.

  • The proposed wall, which even the party’s hitherto favorite son, Jeb Bush, said yesterday was a stupid idea, would achieve nothing.
  • Pornography, which as far as I know isn’t lethal, is a “public health crisis,” but 300 million guns on our streets and in our schools, churches, night clubs and movie theaters, which take the lives of 30,000 Americans per year … isn’t.
  • The presumptive nominee, a man with precisely ZERO political experience, has accused the current President—the first African-American President in our history—of being to blame for any racial divisions in our society today. Yet he himself just DECLINED an invitation to speak before the NAACP, the nation’s premier and possibly most respected civil rights advocacy group. Cat got your tongue Donald? That’s a first.
  • The GOP platform also calls for “continued conservative fiscal principles.” Right. The last time they held the White House, they ratcheted up federal spending by 85%, cut revenue by 25%, passed two tax cuts largely benefiting the top 1%, launched two catastrophic wars, none of which was budgeted for, and plunged the nation into the deepest recession in 80 years. This in contrast to the current administration who pulled us out of the recession and increased federal spending by a whopping 6% (or 11% over the level he inherited).
  • The CEO of the party’s official media organ, Roger Ailes, suddenly finds himself in competition with Bill Cosby for most allegations of sexual harassment and lewd behavior. Is he innocent until proven guilty? Sure. But based on statistics alone, it’s hard for any rational person to believe all of the women who’ve come forward thus far with similar allegations are lying. Yet he still controls what Republicans hear, and perhaps more importantly, what they DON’T hear. What say you Rupert? Isn’t it time for Sexy Roger to go on a sabbatical for a little R & R?
  • And no GOP convention platform can be complete without mentioning their continued pledge to abolish and outlaw a woman’s Constitutional RIGHT to make her own reproductive decisions. Rather than respecting a 43 year old Supreme Court decision, they defer to pressure from the religious community and violent groups who firebomb Planned Parenthood clinics and murder physicians who perform abortions. Because their mission is to “defend the sanctity of life,” don’tchya know.

So let’s see… Vote for the sexist, racist, fascist, xenophobic, pathological liar who’s backed by the overwhelming support of Republicans (and their secretive brethren under the hoods and sheets), many of whom want to take America back to the good ol’ days of Jim Crow, Bible lessons in public schools, submissive women, puritanical “morality,” crushing economic policies, a nation where guns are defended over human lives and the cries of inequality from Black Lives Matter are called “threats from a terrorist group” by their most-admired television personality, Bill O’Reilly.

Or I can vote with the Democrats, who, imperfections aside, have overseen 7-1/2 years of economic growth, a party that’s inclusive of ALL races, religions, sexual preferences, and hold a position that the Constitutional RIGHT to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness *must* override the GOP’s warped reinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment fetish for guns in our bleeding society.

Thanks Reince. But I’m with her.

Fracking Forum Features Foolishness

If you’re looking for entertainment in Longmont, no one serves up better than the Longmont Republican Women. Their recent forum “The State of Fracking in Colorado – A panel discussion” was one of the best comedy performances I’ve seen so far in 2016.

Ken Buck

Ken Buck clearly enjoyed the open bar

Featuring none other than Ken Buck, Weld County’s well-lubricated supporter, the oil barons favorite semi-roughnecks Matt Lepore (Director, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission) and Dan Haley (President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association).

Longmont Councilman Brian Bagley, Moderator

Longmont Councilman Brian Bagley, Moderator

Doing an admirable job as straight man was Longmont’s Ward 1 City Council member Brian Bagley. I have to say his material and delivery were on point, making it child’s play for the Three Spooges to work their magic on the audience.

Moderator Bagley asked the setup questions and the Spooges knocked em down – without interference from those pesky Dems who chose to sit out this comedy cavalcade.

Matt Lepore gave an outstanding theremin-like performance in which he lulled the 99% GOP audience, crooning that they had nothing to fear from fracking. Mesmerizing!

Matt Lepore, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commision "See? It's magic and it works!"

Matt Lepore, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
“See? It’s magic and it works!”

Dan Haley, President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association doing his very best Stan Laurel impression

Dan Haley, President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association doing his very best Stan Laurel impression

Dan Haley was a bit lackluster compared to Lepore (no small feat that!) and routinely seemed to be thinking “I Dunno…” before looking over at Buck, clearly wishing he could be as thoroughly soused.

Bagley’s questions covered a lot of territory and included questions about citizen initiatives. The Spooges responses ranged from “pshaw” to “balderdash” and were well-received by the mostly white-haired well-heeled crowd. One especially high point was when asked about safety concerns, Ken Buck burbled on about how fracking was safer than oil tankers “…like the Exxon Valdez…” and “…pipelines…” to which the crowd responded with howls of glee. I have to say I’ve never seen a complete lack of integrity used to such good comedic effect.

The crowd included some of Longmont’s quasi-luminaries as well as some career politicians clearly hoping to garner some media exposure. Here’s the ones FRL spotted:

Paul Danish Soon-to-be contender for Boulder County Commish

Paul Danish
Soon-to-be contender for Boulder County Commish

Dale Bruns Bruns Concrete & Construction

Dale Bruns
Bruns Concrete & Construction

Sean Conway Weld County Commish at large

Sean Conway
Weld County Commish at large

Greg Brophy Melon farmer

Greg Brophy
Melon farmer

WHOOPS! Not quite incognito...

WHOOPS! Not quite incognito…

There was even a lobbyist!

John Clarke Clarkestrategies

John Clarke
Clarkestrategies

As I left the event, feeling almost light-headed from all the Ben-Gay fumes, I was politely accosted by none other than LRW’s ever-so-gracious President, Rebekah Vicknair! She oh-so-politely asked me if I would stop leaving “…things…” on their Facebook page. I apologized for exercising my First Amendment rights but reminded her gently that I still had such rights – assuming Mr. Trump didn’t win the election. I suggested that if she and her cohort would be willing to reveal the name of the person behind the slur on my dead wife, I’d give them a permanent pass. I also mentioned Longmont’s one-time GOP mouthpiece and she demurely feigned ignorance. Truly, a comedienne of soon-to-be-legendary stature! I salute you Ms. Vicknair for your unstinting commitment to comedy. It made me laugh out loud.

Has the GOP Gone Insane?

From Salon:

Trump supporters first pepper spray, then yell “n****r lover” to 15-year-old protester in Paul Ryan’s hometown

pepper-spray

(Credit: Conservative Outfitters)

Police in Janesville, Wisconsin, are searching for two Donald Trump rally attendees who pepper sprayed and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old anti-Trump protester outside the Republican presidential frontrunner’s rally on Tuesday. Video of the incident shows other apparent Trump supporters shouting “bitch” and “nigger lover” to the teenager as she attempts to walk away with pepper spray in her eyes.

“Damn, Donald, back at it again with the white supremacy,” read 15-year-old Alex Drake’s topical protest sign, according to video that captured the incident. As another protester raised a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter,” the crowd of mostly older white Trump supporters began chanting “All lives matter,” attempting to drown out the Janesville teenager:

Law enforcement in Janesville, home of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that “a male in the crowd groped the 15 year girl, when she pushed him away; another person in the crowd sprayed her.” Video of the incident shows Drake confronting a man she says touched her breast before she reached out to strike him:

Another video shows one Trump supporter yelling to “get that bitch out of here,” after the teenage girl stumbles from being pepper sprayed

“Goddamn communist, nigger lover! Get out of here,” another Trump supporter can be heard shouting.


This is an open message to the Colorado GOP – some of your members have clearly gone completely off the rails and are attempting to incite riots.

I would hope that the few sensible people in your organization understand how incredibly awful and destructive such an event could be. Is this what your party has become? You want to cause a public melee?

Over the years FRL has been attacked repeatedly by extremists in your party howling for public condemnation when one of our stories upset them. Now something like this happens and you’re conspicuously silent.

Where is the condemnation of this act? Your failure to disavow this barbarity is telling.

Can I expect to see myself, family or friends attacked viciously for using our First Amendment right at political rallies?

I would strongly encourage you to caution your more extreme members not to commit violence against protesters – the backlash could be terrible and disgrace the CO GOP forever.

Donald Trump isn’t a candidate – he’s a symptom. Republicans in Colorado are well advised to distance themselves from him if they expect to maintain any semblance of respectability.

Donald Trump: A Litany of Lies

Photo courtesy of Newscorpse.com

Photo courtesy of Newscorpse.com

In just the last seven days Trump has lied nine times:

  1. Trump said his university had an ‘A’ rating by the Better Business Bureau.
    False: The BBB responded that Trump University had a D- rating.
  2. Trump said his steak and wine businesses are booming.
    False: He doesn’t own those companies at all… they just bought his name.
  3. Trump said Obama lied and that the real unemployment rate is up to 35%.
    False: The unemployment rate is 4.9% and Obama doesn’t generate the reports.
  4. Trump said Obama made the army weaker.
    False: Army generals said it’s the leanest, strongest and most powerful it has ever been.
  5. Insurance companies are hurting because of Obamacare.
    False: Health insurance industry stock has increased by 400% in the last seven years.
  6. Insurance companies have laid off millions of employees because of Obamacare.
    False: Insurance companies have hired in record numbers in the last four years.
  7. Obama is destroying the economy.
    False: Every sector of the economy has improved in the last seven years.
  8. Trump said he didn’t know who David Duke was.
    False: Trump has talked about David Duke many times in the past.
  9. Trump said Hillary is about to go to jail for using her email on her phone.
    False: It has been determined over and over again that she did nothing illegal.

Comparing Collateral Damage

Bush Administration

  • 13 Embassy Attacks
  • 66 Deaths
  • 3 US diplomats killed
  • 22 Embassy employees killed
  • Investigations [ 0 ]

Reagan Administration

  • 10 Embassy Attacks
  • 318 Deaths
  • 1 US ambassador killed
  • 18 CIA officers
  • 254 Marines
  • Investigations [ 1 ]

Obama Administration

  • 2 Embassy attacks
  • 4 US deaths
  • Investigations [ 13 ]

Cost to taxpayers for partisan witch hunt: $14 Million.

This is what the GOP thinks is more important than serving the American people.

Throwing it All Away

From US Dept of the Interior

Secretary Jewell Announces Proposal to Reduce Methane Emissions, Wasted Gas on Public, Tribal Lands

Proposal Would Limit Venting, Flaring and Leaking from Oil & Gas Operations to Reduce Waste and Harmful Emissions, Provide Fair Return to Taxpayers

1/22/2016

Date: January 22, 2016
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
Matt Spangler (BLM) 202-912-7035

WASHINGTON – As part of the Interior Department’s reform agenda for a cleaner, more secure energy future, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today proposed to update 30 year-old regulations in order to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands. The proposed rule on venting, flaring and leaking will help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies, reduce harmful methane emissions and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.

“I think most people would agree that we should be using our nation’s natural gas to power our economy – not wasting it by venting and flaring it into the atmosphere,” said Secretary Jewell. “We need to modernize decades-old standards to reflect existing technologies so that we can cut down on harmful methane emissions and use this captured natural gas to generate power and provide a return to taxpayers, tribes and states for this public resource. We look forward to hearing from the public on this proposal.”

U.S. oil production is at its highest level in nearly 30 years and the nation is now the largest natural gas producer in the world, providing an abundant source of clean-burning fuel to power and heat American homes and businesses. At the same time, venting and leaks during oil and gas operations are major sources of harmful methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. U.S. methane emissions are projected to increase substantially without additional steps to lower them. The proposal announced today is consistent with the Obama Administration’s goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Currently, vast amounts of natural gas from public and Indian lands are lost through venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas operations. Between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than five million homes for a year. States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted – as much as $23 million annually in royalty revenue for the Federal Government and the States that share it, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Developed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM), the proposed rule would require oil and gas producers to adopt currently available technologies, processes and equipment that would limit the rate of flaring at oil wells on public and tribal lands, and would require operators to periodically inspect their operations for leaks, and to replace outdated equipment that vents large quantities of gas into the air. Operators would also be required to limit venting from storage tanks and use best practices to limit gas losses when removing liquids from wells. The new measures would also clarify when operators owe royalties on flared gas, and ensure that BLM’s regulations provide congressionally authorized flexibility to set royalty rates at or above 12.5 percent of the value of production.

“The commonsense and cost-effective measures we are proposing reflect the recommendations of several government studies as well as stakeholder views and tribal consultation over the last two years,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider. “These updated regulations, which would be phased in over several years to allow operators to make the transition more cost efficiently, would not only get more of our nation’s natural gas into pipelines and delivered to market but also reduce pollution and cut greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change.”

The BLM’s current rules addressing venting and flaring were adopted over 30 years ago, long before new technologies unlocked vast new natural gas supplies in the United States. Recent technological advances allow operators to produce more oil and gas with less waste. About 40 percent of natural gas now vented or flared from onshore Federal leases could be economically captured with currently available technologies, according to the 2010 GAO report.

Several oversight reviews, including studies by the Interior Department’s Inspector General and the GAO, have raised concerns about the waste of gas from oil and gas operations on public lands and found BLM’s existing requirements insufficient. Several states, including Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, and most recently Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have also taken steps to limit venting, flaring and/or leaks.

“It’s time to modernize our regulations to reflect today’s technologies and meet today’s priorities,” said BLM Director Kornze. “By asking operators to take simple, common-sense actions to reduce waste – like swapping out old equipment and checking for leaks – we expect to cut this waste almost in half. The gas saved would be enough to supply every household in the cities of Dallas and Denver combined – every year.”

The BLM has worked to ensure that the proposed regulations would not impose conflicting or redundant requirements. In developing this proposal, the BLM looked to the States’ requirements and worked closely with the EPA to align the agencies’ proposals as much as possible, consistent with specific statutory authorities and responsibilities. The BLM is committed to continue coordinating with the EPA, as well as with individual States, to streamline regulations.

In developing this proposal, the BLM engaged in substantial stakeholder outreach, including a series of public forums in 2014 and 2015 to consult with tribal and state governments and to solicit stakeholder views. The BLM held public meetings in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C., as well as separate tribal outreach sessions. The agency also accepted informal comments generated as a result of the public and tribal outreach sessions.

The public will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposal once it is published in the Federal Register. The BLM also plans to hold a series of public meetings on the proposed rule in February and March.

A fact sheet on the proposed rule is available here. The proposed rule can be found here, along with the Regulatory Impact Analysis and Environmental Assessment.


Fact Sheet On Methane And Waste Reduction Rule

OVERVIEW: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to update its regulations to reduce the waste of natural gas from flaring, venting, and leaks from oil and gas production operations on public and Indian lands. The proposed rules, which would be phased in over several years, will help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies; reduce harmful air pollution, including greenhouse gases; and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.

The BLM’s proposal would require oil and gas producers to take commonsense and cost- effective measures to reduce this waste of gas, modernizing the existing, more than 30-year-old oil and gas production rules and bringing them in line with technological advances in the industry.  In addition, the proposed rule would modify the existing royalty rate provisions to better align with the BLM’s authority and enhance flexibility, but the rule would not raise royalty rates.

FACT: The BLM’s onshore oil and gas management program is a major contributor to our nation’s oil and gas production.  Domestic production from over 100,000 federal onshore oil and gas wells accounts for five percent of the nation’s oil supply and eleven percent of its natural gas.  In Fiscal Year 2014, the production value of this oil and gas exceeded $27 billion and generated approximately $3 billion in royalties.

FACT: Large quantities of natural gas are wasted during oil and gas production.  Between 2009 and 2014, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared and leaked about 375 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas.  That’s enough gas to supply about 5.1 million households for a year.  These losses create a myriad of problems, including: releasing harmful emissions, including methane, into the atmosphere; safety issues, if not properly handled; and waste of a valuable domestic energy resource.

FACT: Taxpayers are losing out.  States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted – as much as $23 million annually in royalty revenue for the Federal Government and the States that share it, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

FACT: The proposed rule would minimize waste of natural gas. The proposed rule could save and put to productive use 41 to 56 Bcf of gas a year – enough to supply up to about 760,000 households each year. Overall, the rule would reduce flaring by an estimated 41 – 60 percent and venting by roughly 44 – 46 percent (compared to 2013 rates).

FACT: Inaction is not an option. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, accounts for nine percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and almost one-third of that is estimated to come from oil and gas operations. U.S. methane emissions are projected to rise substantially without additional steps to lower them.  Several states, including North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and most recently Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have also taken steps to limit venting, flaring and/or leaks.

FACT: The proposed rule would reduce emissions that worsen climate change.  BLM estimates that this rule could avoid an estimated 164,000-169,000 tons of methane emissions per year, equivalent to 4.1-4.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is also roughly equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from 860,000 – 890,000 vehicles.

FACT: The proposed rule’s benefits are projected to outweigh its costs.  Using conservative assumptions, the BLM estimates that the rule’s net benefits could range from $115 to $188 million per year.  Benefits include revenues for operators from sale of recovered natural gas and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions and other air pollutants.

FACT: Impacts to operators are expected to be minimal.  Many oil and gas operators are voluntarily taking steps proposed in the rule to reduce wasted gas and improve operations.  The BLM estimates that the annual cost to industry of implementing the rule will be $125-161 million.  Individual, small business operators may see profit margins reduced by roughly one- tenth of one percent, on average. About 40 percent of natural gas now vented or flared from onshore Federal leases could be economically captured with currently available technologies, according to the 2010 GAO report.

FACT: The proposed rule reflects stakeholder outreach through public meetings and tribal consultations.  The BLM conducted public and tribal meetings in 2014. In addition, the proposal will now be open to a 60-day public comment period, during which the BLM will hold another series of public meetings and consult further with Tribes.  The BLM will also continue to coordinate with individual states, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, to avoid inconsistency or redundancy in regulations.

PROPOSED RULE OVERVIEW

The Mineral Leasing Act requires the BLM to ensure that operators “use all reasonable
precautions to prevent waste of oil or gas.”  Important elements of the proposed rule include:

LIMITING ROUTINE GAS FLARING

  • Currently, there is no upper limit on how much an operator can flare.  The proposal would phase in, over several years, a flaring limit per development oil well, averaged across all of the producing wells on a lease.
    • Year one limit: 7,200 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well;
    • Year two limit: 3,600 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well; and
    • Year three limit (and thereafter): 1,800 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well.
  • Estimated to affect about 16% of existing wells, which account for about 87% of gas flared.
  • Applies only to flared associated gas from production wells, not flaring from exploration or wildcat wells or during emergencies.
  • Provides an exemption if meeting the limit would cause an operator to cease production and abandon significant recoverable oil reserves under a lease.
  • Operators could comply with the proposed flaring limits by: expanding gas-capture infrastructure (e.g. installing compressors to increase pipeline capacity, or connecting wells to existing infrastructure through gathering lines); adopting alternative on-site capture technologies (e.g. compressing the natural gas or stripping out natural gas liquids and trucking the product to a gas processing plant); or temporarily slowing production at a well to minimize losses until capture infrastructure is installed.
  • Also improves disclosure of flared volumes by requiring metering when flared volumes reach 50 Mcf/day.

PRE-DRILLING PLANNING FOR GAS CAPTURE

  • Currently, there is no mechanism to better align timing of well development and pipeline installation.
  • Before drilling a development oil well, operators would need to evaluate opportunities for gas capture and prepare a waste minimization plan, which must be submitted with an Application for Permit to Drill.
  • The plan must meet various requirements, and must be shared with midstream gas capture companies to facilitate timely pipeline development, but plan details would not be enforceable elements of the permit to drill.

DETECTING LEAKS

  • The proposed rule will require operators to use an instrument-based leak detection program to find and repair leaks.  Operators could use infrared cameras or other methods approved by the BLM; smaller operators (fewer than 500 wells) could alternatively use portable analyzers assisted by audio, visual and olfactory inspection.
  • Operators would begin by inspecting twice a year.  If they consistently find few leaks, they would be allowed to inspect annually, while if they consistently find more leaks, they would be required to inspect quarterly.
  • The proposal is similar to EPA’s recent proposed rule requiring leak detection and repair for new wells and facilities, as well as leak detection and repair requirements in Colorado and Wyoming.

REDUCING VENTING

  • Except in narrowly specified circumstances, operators would be prohibited from venting natural gas.  Exceptions include emergencies and venting from certain equipment subject to proposed limits.
  • Operators would have to replace all “high bleed” pneumatic controllers with “low bleed” controllers within one year in most instances, tracking requirements in Colorado and Wyoming.
  • Operators would generally have to replace certain pneumatic pumps with solar pumps, if adequate for the function, or route the pumps to a flare (if one is available on-site), similar to Wyoming and proposed EPA requirements for new and/or existing pumps.
  • Within six months of rule’s effective date, operators would have to capture or flare gas from storage tanks that vent more than six tons of volatile organic compounds (Volatile Organic Compounds)/year.  This is expected to affect fewer than 300 tanks and is similar to EPA requirements for new tanks and Colorado and Wyoming requirements for new and existing tanks.
  • Operators of new wells (drilled after rule’s effective date) would generally not be allowed to purge those wells into the atmosphere; and operators unloading liquids from existing wells would be required to use best management practices.
  • Operators would be required to capture, flare, use, or re-inject gas released during well completions.  This would affect only conventional well completions, assuming that EPA finalizes its proposed rule for all hydraulically fractured well completions and recompletions.

CLARIFYING AND REVISING ROYALTY RATES

  • The proposal revises existing royalty provisions for onshore oil and gas leases to specify a royalty rate at or above 12.5 percent for new competitive leases, consistent with the statutory authority in the Mineral Leasing Act.
  • This modifies the existing regulation, which sets the rate at 12.5 percent and leaves the BLM no discretion to raise the rate as conditions change.
  • The proposal responds to findings and recommendations in audits from the Government Accountability Office and Department of Interior Office of Inspector General.
  • The BLM does not currently propose to raise royalty rates for new competitive leases.
  • The proposed rule also clarifies that royalties would apply only to gas flared from wells already connected to gas capture infrastructure. This reduces burden on operators to submit applications for approval to flare royalty-free.

Exxon’s inconvenient truth

This Guest Opinion first appeared in the Times-Call (FRL)

Back in the day when Exxon was just a gigantic oil company, before its merger with Mobil, Exxon had its own inconvenient truth. Based on investigation by Inside Climate News (ICN) as well as research by the Los Angeles Times in conjunction with a project at Columbia University, in the late 1970s and early 1980s Exxon scientists conducted pioneering research on climate change.

The ICN article is the basis for the following. In July 1977, James Black, one of Exxon’s senior scientists, gave a sobering report. From a written version he recorded later, Black said: “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”

In 1978, Black gave an updated report to a larger audience of Exxon scientists and managers. According to a written summary of his talk, Black warned: “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.” Among other things, Black also predicted that rainfall might get heavier in some regions, and other places might turn to desert. In the written summary of his 1978 talk Black said: “Some countries would benefit but others would have their agricultural output reduced or destroyed.”

In 1982, Exxon developed a primer on climate change and carbon dioxide. Again, from ICN: Marked “not to be distributed externally,” it contained information that “has been given wide circulation to Exxon management.” In it, the company recognized, despite the many lingering unknowns, that heading off global warming “would require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.” The ICN article continued: Unless that happened, “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered,” the primer said, citing independent experts. “Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”

Exxon continued with its climate change research, an issue that posed an existential threat to its oil business, until the late 1980s. Exxon scientists even were permitted to publish at least three peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals on their ground breaking research.

Unfortunately, in the late 1980s Exxon shifted tactics to stressing the uncertainty of research into the greenhouse effect. This change apparently was due to financial considerations and was not based on any research challenging its previous findings. Since then, Exxon and climate-change deniers have been successful in preventing effective action on this issue. We have lost 20 to 25 years when steps could have been taken, and now the window for alleviating the worse effects is much smaller. Every year we delay taking effective action means that future actions will have to be much more draconian or the effects of climate change will be far worse.

It appears as if nothing very constructive will be achieved during the current talks in Paris. The fossil fuel industry still has sufficient clout to stop effective action. Distressingly, the U.S. is pushing voluntary national reductions. There would be no requirements since each nation does what it wants when it wants. On top of that, there would be no enforcement mechanism to hold a nation to its commitment.

Talk about perversion— the worse climate change impacts will initially be experienced by those nations that had little to do with causing climate change. The U.S., a key contributor to the increase in greenhouse gases, will generally initially suffer lesser impacts. Coming generations, including the young children and grandchildren of today, who have had no role in causing climate change, will face the greatest suffering. Those generations aren’t going to think kindly towards us and our lack of action.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics who lives in Longmont.

I Think They’ve Peaked…

Eat shit!

Sometimes you can only say it so nicely.

Well, once again the cowards are getting their asses handed to them.

I watch the right wing online and one particular site spewed the most ridiculous lies and distortions for months, hammering away at the recall backers. The anti-union rhetoric was disgusting, especially in the state that hosted the Ludlow Massacre. Feh. The “thugs” in CO have already clearly identified themselves.

Here’s what Westword said about them:

Political Blog Colorado Peak Politics is Denver’s Best Political Blog.

Because of the secret-secret nature of this blog, it’s not entirely clear where it’s based.

Golly.

Why are right wingers in Colorado such scaredy-cats? Too afraid to put their name on their work? Or just unwilling to admit who’s pulling their strings? It’s very obvious that there’s fundy money and oil money at work.

Also, to those who whine about FRL censoring ‘opposing views.’ Bullshit. I’ve posted comments that were CIVIL. The rules are simple. The people bitching are just louts that want to make FRL a cesspool like the Times-Call’s virtually-unmoderated comments. When the hero behind Not So Bonita fesses up, then, maybe they can post comments here. Till then, to hades with them.

As for this wingnut echo-chamber, I don’t see ANYWHERE to comment. What courage.
Update, LOL, they’ve turned on comments apparently. Not a lot of folks agreeing with them.

Obviously they’re not interested in what anyone has to say.

And it seems to run both ways, based on the election results.

Big Kisses kids.

Follow the Money: Bonnie Finley = Developers

Developer funded and owned.

Developer funded and owned.

Longmont residents are fortunate that all city council candidates must report contributions at certain stages before Election Day. Some critical info came from the first reports candidates filed last week. We have eight candidates for three seats this election. Three candidates are incumbents. All have received the majority of their funding from the land development/real estate industry. A fourth new candidate has also received this same package of construction funding. We’re talking thousands of dollars…Four candidates have not received nor accepted this special interest money – these candidates are Joan Peck, Paul Rennix, Sarah Levison, and Ron Gallegos.

I’m speaking about publicly tonight because it’s important and the good people of Longmont need to know from where council candidates are getting their contributions. Very sadly, money in politics translates to influence. These developers, builders and realtors give candidates money because they want to have influence on their decisions regarding the future of our city. As constituents, we are curious about how beholden these candidates, if elected, might be to these special interests when making decisions regarding land use, development, affordable housing, the St. Vrain corridor etc.? One has to wonder what these special interests expect in return for their very large “donations”?

Do they hope it will assert influence in tonight’s discussion about Affordable Housing? For instance, the Construction Defects Law that Councilwoman Finley keeps bringing up. This state law helps to protect people whose homes and finances are hurt by poorly done construction. Like other professions, builders need to be held accountable for their work and homeowners should have some recourse when that work is poorly done. Ms. Finley’s repeated accusation regarding its negative impacts on new development ultimately aims to benefit developers at the expense of regular people. Her suspicions are unfounded and a waste of staff time to “investigate” as we can all see there is a building bonanza happening.

Similarly, we have the City’s old inclusionary zoning clause that the 2011 City Council nixed. This clause mandated developer’s make10% of new housing designated affordable housing or provide cash in lieu. Why hasn’t this council reinstated this? While Inclusionary zoning is not the whole solution, certainly it would help and be a step in the right direction—that direction being serving people & not just lining the pockets of the land development/real estate industry.

This council has been wringing your hands for far too long regarding affordable housing. People are hurting while the profiteers can’t count their money fast enough. Now we see big money being poured into certain candidates for city council. What are we to think? It certainly helps inform me, as I get ready to cast my votes for Ward 3, at large and Mayor.

For Sale: Longmont City Council – $10245

Bonnie Finley, 100% For Sale

Bonnie Finley, 100% For Sale

For Sale: Certain members of Longmont City Council. Bonnie Finley likey the most valuable coming in at @ $10,245 (or best offer). In exchange, you may get business incentives, financing totaling more than $27 million, or just a pat on the back as she claims she can’t be bought at any price.

This lays it out straight.

The Big Red Scare

Joe Stalin, nothing like Bernie Sanders.

Joe Stalin, conservative boogieman

Beware! Be very afraid is the message George Will imparts in his commentary, “When history books make history,” published in the Opinion page Aug. 9. But to me the overriding theme is the hubris— excessive pride— Will attaches to the power of writers. He singles out Robert Conquest, who, according to Will almost single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union with his honest and truthful description of the evils of communism under Joseph Stalin.

Understand there has been no communism except in theory, especially under the brutal dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. Everyone was not equal but there was a level of thugs at the top who were “more equal.” Everyone else followed orders or got sent to gulags in Siberia, or were shot. No writers brought down the Soviet system, and neither did Ronald Reagan as has been claimed for him posthumously. No, the Soviet Union collapsed in utter failure with a corrupt government, a failed economy and by investing in an arms race resulting in total disregard of its people.

By some estimates, Stalin had more than 20 million citizens murdered in order to instill his brand of communism. Stalin was guilty of “moral obtuseness,” meaning he said one thing and always did what he wanted, which usually resulted in breaking treaties and murdering anyone who got out of line. Liar and hypocrite are the most polite words we can associate with Stalin.

Yet, in his meandering punditry of 700 words, Will brands U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders with moral obtuseness. That is one writer’s hubris run amok. It is also disgustingly false.

So just what has Bernie proposed that is so threatening it receives a label the writer also chooses for the worst killer dictator in human history? Here is a sampling: healthcare for all by extending Medicare; eliminating tax evasion techniques by large corporations that offshore profits and jobs; extending Social Security to all by applying the payroll tax to income more than $250,000; raising the minimum wage to $15/hour; paying for parental leave and vacations; and foremost, getting big money out of politics.

These are major issues for the 99 percent of us who are being squeezed out of the middle class by stalled wages and benefits. Yet somehow Will and conservatives in Congress interpret our issues and Bernie’s common sense solutions as “socialist threats.”

America is a social country. Our history is marked by communities coming together to deal with tough issues. Every farming community has a cooperative that allows members to save money through bulk purchasing of goods and services at lower prices. Foremost though are the many benefits derived by all of us by combining our taxes for the common good: setting up public utilities and services, public libraries, public education, highways and roads top the list. Consider too that we have a national military, Social Security and Medicare.

Realize that many hardline conservatives like George Will consider social services undeserved entitlements. What is scandalous is the association of Bernie Sanders’ stand on providing for the people first akin to the moral obtuseness of Joseph Stalin. Rather, I believe entitled is the No. 1 characteristic of large corporations avoiding taxes and offshoring jobs. Entitled describes a Congress that votes itself better health insurance benefits and a better pension system than it allows the people it is supposed to serve.

Where Bernie would extend Social Security, conservative pundits like Will would cut it, limit benefits and raise the eligibility age.

A final thought. My friend Hermine is from Germany, a democratic socialist country. In a recent discussion she was asked about health insurance there. Her answer: Everybody has it. What about unemployment insurance? It never runs out. What about the homeless? She says there isn’t any. Parental leave and vacation pay? Yep, Germany has those too. Other studies point out the happiest people live in Scandinavia, where democratic socialism also exists with the benefits found in Germany.

In the next 15 months, pundits and politicians will try to scare you with demagoguery tactics like Will’s. “The Big Red Scare” was a farce perpetrated by radical anti-communist demagogues like Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. Don’t believe the ghosts of that era posing as pundits and candidates for the presidency.

Bill Ellis is a local author; reply to bill-ellis@comcast.net
Bill Ellis

St. Vrain Valley Voices

Better to be Thought Miserable Excuses for Human Beings than to be Aaron and Melissa Klein

THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD

(apologies to Keith Olbermann)

Aaron and Melissa Klein

Last month, judgment was finalized against Aaron and Melissa Klein for refusing to sell a same-sex couple a wedding cake out of the Oregon bakery they co-owned called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. In addition to $135,000 fine for violating the state’s nondiscrimination law, the Kleins were ordered to cease and desist from in any way communicating to the public an intention to discriminate. This, they claimed, was a violation of their free speech, but this week, they undermined their own self-victimizing argument. On September 8th, residents of Fayetteville, Arkansas will consider Ordinance 5781, which creates LGBT nondiscrimination protections. While a local group is advocating for the protections, religious conservatives with national support are working to quash the ordinance, and Tuesday night, they brought in the Kleins to speak at their rally. The rally attracted press attention, not only because of the hundreds who turned out, but because several advocates of Ordinance 5781 were forced to leave the event by a police escort. Aaron and Melissa Klein were among those interviewed by KNWA…. “You guys are facing the same issues we face in the state of Oregon and that is a law that really seemingly is needless,” Aaron explained. “It leaves the door wide open to force people to adhere to something they don’t want to adhere to.”…. Melissa added, “We just feel that we also should have the right to — you know, not necessarily refuse a person, but refuse an event.”

pol-rightSomewhere along the line, it seems some Christians decided that following their Lord and Savior’s teachings about love, tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion just didn’t make sense. Perhaps they felt Jesus couldn’t grasp that homosexuality is an abomination and that those living an LGBT lifestyle are sinners destined for an eternity in the fiery pits of Hell. Perhaps He neglected to adequately address the truth that it’s supposed to be “Adam and Eve,” not “Adam and Steve.” Or perhaps Jesus just didn’t consider that there would be a large number of judgmental, self-righteous, self-victimizing zealots who believe they possess the absolute right to demand the world live by their narrow, fear-based morality.

Aaron and Melissa Klein are typical of those who’ve turned hatred and homophobia into a career- despite the teachings of the Jesus Christ they claim to revere. They’ve managed to convince themselves that their prejudice and hatred of homosexuality is a core tenet of their Christian faith…when in fact it’s nothing of the sort. They’re free to hate and judge whomever they may choose, but they don’t have the right to demand that ALL Americans hew to their morality…nor do they have the right to portray themselves as victims.

That they’re predicated their hatred and homophobia on their (bastardized and intellectually dishonest) faith isn’t surprising, if only because they representative of a vocal and ugly minority of Christians for whom hatred is the new Christian charity.

By continuing to speak out, the Kleins are proving that LGBT nondiscrimination protections are actually not a violation of free speech or religious liberty. They simply protect LGBT people from discrimination.

Despite what the Kleins believe, there’s no right- 1st Amendment or otherwise- to discriminate against someone because you happen to find their lifestyle and sexuality to be “icky.” There’s no right to treat another human being as “less than” because how and whom they choose to love clashes with your conviction as to what relationships are “right” or “appropriate.”

I’d respect the Kleins more if they at least had the courage and intellectual honesty to own their hatred and homophobia. Instead, they cower behind their “faith,” and portray themselves as the victims in this scenario. It’s as if the lesbian couple they refused to serve didn’t even exist. The Kleins have succeeded in martyring themselves in the sense that they’ve become minor celebrities among the American Taliban and have raked in something like a quarter-million dollars, more than enough to pay their fine without feeling any pain.

The Kleins continue to proclaim their victimhood, that their 1st Amendment rights and religious freedom is being proscribed by those who hate the baby Jesus. The fact that they’ve suffered no backlash from speaking out demonstrates their argument to be a sham, proof that their cherry-picked cafeteria Christianity is about their convenience and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If nothing else, Aaron and Melissa Klein illustrate why I reject modern Christianity. They’ve taken a perfectly good concept and turned it into a means for justifying their hatred and homophobia.

EXACTLY What Jesus Would Do, eh??

If you believe in karma as I do, you believe that the Kleins will at some point be called to account for their hypocrisy and self-superiority. When it comes to life, you get out what you put in…and the Klein’s karmic bank account has long been overdrawn. Their time will come.