Tag Archive for Anadarko

Fracking destroys vital water

I will vote “yes” on Ballot Question 300 because it will protect our lakes, our irrigation and our drinking water from the destructive effects of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). I have been wondering why proposed drill sites are often close to water, such as Union Reservoir and the St. Vrain State Park wetlands. What’s the attraction? As a spokesperson for EnCana explained: “It is always our preference to identify a nearby water source because it significantly reduces our truck traffic associated with the transport of needed water to the location” (Boulder Camera). Said in another way, they jeopardize natural and other water bodies because it is cheaper and more convenient for them.

What is the water plan for the development of fracking? There doesn’t seem to be one, even though water is an invaluable resource. Water used in fracking becomes contaminated with toxins that cannot be removed. Unlike irrigation water, this water cannot be reclaimed and restored to the system. The oil companies do not dispute that. We are about to make an irreversible decision on fracking. There’s no taking it back if we find out we should not have allowed it.

How much water does it take to frack a well? It takes 5 million gallons to frack it once. Most wells are fracked several times. Even if it’s only three times, that’s 15 million gallons per well. The oil companies now say they are going to put several well heads on one well pad. That’s 75 million gallons for just one new well pad with five wells, fracked three times. These 75 million gallons must be stored somewhere since it can never be used again, and it becomes a potential source of contamination of other water sources. What are our plans for storing 75 million gallons of poisoned water? This is just for one well pad.

When oil companies say they use only a small fraction of the available water, they are talking about present usage, not future use. It is misleading because what is planned is a large expansion of drilling along the Front Range, so the percentage of water that will be used, and destroyed, by fracking companies will be much, much greater than is being used now. Anadarko, another company trying to drill wells in this area, plans to create 2,700 new wells. Multiply that 75 million gallons by 2,700, and one begins to see how massive this danger can become. Do we really have this much water to spare, to sell, to destroy? Where will we store this much contaminated water? Will local lakes and creeks become silent and accidental repositories of seepage?

The cheapest method is open pits. These are pits dug in the ground, with a tarp lining. To see what one looks like, check out the DVD “Land Out of Time,” available on the Internet. This documentary shows an open pit, surrounded by the bloated corpses of animals that drank from it. It also creates air pollution since the toxins can become airborne. Covered pits are not much better. Over time the covers will leak. The use of “injection wells” is yet another alternative, but these wells can leak, just as fracking wells can leak.

Please join me in voting “yes” on Ballot Question 300, to ban fracking and waste pits in Longmont.

Oil & Gas “clowns” — hubris not humorous

It was a three-ring circus at the Longmont Planning and Zoning meeting on Wednesday, February 15. Industry clowns, COGCC Attorney, Jake Matter and COGA’s Schuller were juggling their corporate supremacy balls as they told us: 1) we are preempted as a City to do anything to regulate gas drilling — plus we “must” accept the COGCC rules; 2) we have “misperceptions” about how the oil and gas industry operates, and, by the way, “we need to be corrected.” Billion-dollar corporation, Anadarko, sent an emissary from Texas to assure us that they have our best interests in mind. However, this person was paid to fly out and feed propaganda to our Planning and Zoning Commission. Top Operating defended cleaning up the leaking Rider Well next to Trail Ridge Middle School. The Times-Call reported that Well had benzene levels 100 times the State level. With benzene levels that high, it doesn’t appear to be cleaned up.

COGCC says we can’t ban open pits. Do you understand the implications of living next to an open pit? It is described in Theo Colborn’s video, “What you need to know about Natural Gas Drilling.” The industry blows wastewater infused with toxic chemicals into the air to be evaporated — but you better watch out if you are downwind! Children are especially vulnerable when exposed to these toxins.

The P & Z decision to accept flawed regulations that won’t protect the health and well being of the citizens while voting to recommend a moratorium extension seems contradictory. What I heard at this meeting was a repeat performance of arrogant industry insiders who wish to put us under their big thumbs.

Our rights as citizens are being trampled by corporate supremacists and by our corporate municipality. We should be exploring ways to ban fracking and stop this three-ring circus once and for all.

Say No to Cougar

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Joseph Bassman

Mr Mayor and Members of the Council,

City Council will soon vote on a request by Cougar Land Services for an oil and gas survey on city property for Anadarko Oil.

The survey does not benefit our city. The data will be Anadarko’s private property, and Cougar will pay us only a few dollars per acre for our permission.

Longmont derives absolutely no benefit from the survey unless one believes that it’s beneficial to invite the oil industry further into our entire city for a drilling bonanza.

Oil and Gas well drilling is racing towards Longmont. There will soon be hundreds of wells within the city at Union and at Sandstone. The entire city of Longmont is located within the Wattenberg oil field, the richest of the Niobrara. Perhaps even the richest oil and gas ‘play’ in the United States. And there will be many hundreds of additional wells within our city in the near future.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission regulations in the Wattenberg are exceptionally lenient. Since the COGCC refuses to differentiate between municipal urban areas on the one hand and rural agricultural land and oil fields on the other, those lenient Wattenberg rules also apply the within our city.

In its proper place, oil and gas facilities might be acceptable. In an urban environment, there is no net benefit. Each well represents an intensive industrial activity using tens of millions of gallons of poisoned water that require quarantine forever, thousands of tanker truck deliveries, and round-the-clock disruptive drilling and fracking using lights and equipment that requires 40,000 horsepower to operate. For many hundreds of wells, the scale and impact to our city are at least alarming, if not terrifying. The cost to the health, safety and property of our citizens far outweighs any royalties that the city government might receive.

We are looking to City Council to protect our community.

And surely, the City Manager, City Attorney, and their staff must be looking to you for formal, public, guidance so they can responsibly fulfill their assignment to update our regulations. You’ve received and considered the opinions of your advisory boards, but now let us hear your true personal feelings about the place of oil and gas facilities in our lives in our city.

Tonight, proclaim to your constituents, your advisory boards, and to city employees that our city has a guiding Principal:

Proclaim: “Our city government will not promote, encourage, or enable oil and gas development even one inch beyond what is forced upon our community by the COGCC”.

Instruct the City Manager to create regulations that protect our community to the fullest extent possible. Use Longmont’s city boundaries to shield us from the personal, economic and physical damage that oil and gas facilities will cause in an urban setting.

Say “NO” to Cougar. Your vote on Cougar will be your personal stand. If you are averse to having oil and gas facilities within our city limits then say “NO” to Cougar!

A Roadmap for Achieving Responsible Oil and Gas Regulations

  1. Ensure that the public understands the situation that Longmont faces. In a nutshell: On average, in the Wattenberg, the value of the oil and gas under our homes is close to the value of our property and home on the surface. The Oil and Gas is probably owned by somebody else who feels relatively unconstrained exploiting this wealth using dangerous and disruptive industrial processes in an urban environment. (See map below)
  2. Establish a guiding principle for creating an administrative and regulatory system to protect our community. The principal should be that our city government will not promote, encourage, or enable oil and gas development even one inch beyond what is forced upon our community by the COGCC.
  3. Use the document, Oil and Gas Regulations: A Guide for Local Governments, as a fundamental resource. This was created by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, DOLA. The purpose of this guide is to provide a broad perspective to help municipalities in Colorado come to terms with, and shape the way in which they individually wish to work with the industry to address the concerns of the community.
  4. Adapt Saguache County’s 2008 regulations to fit our situation and use as our first draft. DOLA provides several case studies as a guide for considering local community issues. DOLA’s first reference is to Saguache County which utilizes Performance Standards and Operational Conflicts Special Exemptions, both of which are noteworthy.
  5. Strengthen the draft using best practices from Laplatta, Gunnison, Rio Grande, and other counties and cities. (Especially those cited by DOLA) Also use the CU Law School directory of state-wide regulations as a reference guide.
  6. Update the draft of our regulations to comply with recent COGCC rulings.
  7. Release the draft for Advisory Board and public review. Be open to new ideas and strategies. Don’t hesitate to incorporate additional reasonable requirements and tactics.
  8. Use Indemnification and Insurance to protect the property and interests of our citizens. Use fees. Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement costs. Indemnification for lost property values. Insurance against damage, disasters, negligence, environmental clean up, infrastructure build-out and degradation, emergency response, and end-of-life site restoration.
  9. Establish an Oil and Gas Department Just as we currently have a Building Department we will need a Gas and Oil Department to administrate and enforce our regulations and to protect the safety of the public. This is a multi-billion dollar enterprise just within our city. The department manager should be intimately knowledgeable about the Colorado Gas and Oil Industry and will be our official ‘Designee” to the COGCC. Give this department the mission of working to re-establish our community’s home rule rights regarding oil and gas facilities.
  10. Do not sell or lease mineral or water rights for the purpose of drilling, fracking, or production of oil and gas within our city.
  11. Place all revenue from pre-existing contracts into a municipal fund to be managed by the new Oil and Gas Department. Use the fund to mitigate the losses and damage that can be expected in our community from drilling and fracking.

Submitted by Joseph Bassman, 3414 Lakeview Circle, Longmont CO Jan 3, 2012

The Wattenberg Field

The Wattenberg Field

Oil and Gas Wells are Surrounding and Invading the Cities of the Wattenberg Field.


January 3, 2012

“If it isn’t in your backyard now, it could be.”

Frack You Longmont

Fracking near Longmont? It's no fairy tale.

A substantive article appeared in the Business Section of the Sunday Denver Post under the title of “Oil Greases Land Rush.” 

Because oil and gas drilling is coming to Longmont’s Union Reservoir, the Sandstone Ranch area, the Sherwood Open Space area at County Road 20.5 and an area known as Evans #8, it is important that the Longmont community learn as much as possible about what this will mean to our quality of life.

Free Range Longmont has already begun coverage of this issue.  We will continue to provide you with information from a number of perspectives. 

Excerpts from the article referenced above appear below.  The excerpts were chosen to serve essentially as “Cliff Notes” on the why – and why now – of what some are referring to as the next “mother lode.”

At the 2010 City Council retreat, our current mayor raised the issue of “mineral rights” that might be owned by Longmont, asking if they had been pursued.  The subject garnered no further public discussion or visibility.  We are only now learning that the city was approached in June of this year by TOP Operating to approve a conditional use permit for drilling operations on city property. We do not know what conversations may have taken place between Mayor Bryan Baum and his 2009 and 2011 campaign supporters prior to beginning the conditional use permit negotiating process. Longmont citizens should demand full disclosure from the mayor, members of city council and members of city staff.

“Oil Greases Land Rush”  by Mark Jafee, The Denver Post

Between 2008 and 2011, leasing activity in six Front Range counties — Larimer, Weld, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso — more than doubled, with 8,100 leases filed in the 12 months ending Aug. 30, according to county

Propelling the rush is the discovery of oil in the Niobrara — a geological formation sitting more than 6,000 feet below the Front Range.  Most of the leasing and drilling has been focused on Weld County — the better known and most-promising part of the Niobrara

The strategy of the companies and speculators has been to assemble large land positions in the formation.

In this highly competitive and often secretive game, land companies working for drillers try to assemble parcels and negotiate leases. Often leases aren’t filed in the oil company’s name.

The stealth and shifting corporate decisions have left property owners confused and frustrated.

“Leasing is highly competitive,” said John Dill, a Denver- based spokesman for Chesapeake. “We often do mass mailing just to get the word out.”

The approach isn’t that surprising in a competitive market, said Neil Ray, president of the National Association of Royalty Owners’ Rocky Mountain Chapter.  “Sometimes they are just testing the waters,” he said. “They’re trying to determine if it will be easy or difficult to get leases.”

The larger companies have now built fiefdoms along the Front Range.

EOG has 220,000 acres, mostly in northern Weld County, with a target of completing 45 wells in 2011, according to a company presentation.

Noble Energy more than doubled its holdings to 840,000 net acres in 18 months and plans to drill 85 wells, Chuck Davidson, the company’s chief executive, told investors in September.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., based in suburban Houston, has a net 900,000 acres in Colorado — much of it from acquiring Union Pacific and Kerr-McGee interests. The company is aiming to drill more than 40 wells this year, according to Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen.  [Anadarko Petroleum has hired Cougar Land Services to conduct seismic surveys to locate additional wells.  They have requested permits from the city to conduct these surveys on city-owned properties.  Unlike drilling, the city has the right to deny permission for these surveys.]

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake has amassed 800,000 acres in Colorado and Wyoming.

The top drillers and number of permits for the 12-month period ending Aug. 30:

Weld County

Mineral Resources: 1,018
EOG Resources: 594
Diamond Resources: 483

Larimer County

Marathon Oil: 50
Strata Oil & Gas: 45
Prospect Energy: 44

Nikki Stansfield, who lives in a suburban-style Larimer County development, persuaded neighbors to hire a lawyer to deal with a driller…. Still, concerned that state rules don’t provide enough protection to homeowners, Stansfield is seeking a meeting with Gov. John Hickenlooper.”The lesson is,” Stansfield said, “if it isn’t in your backyard now, it could be.”

Read the entire article here.