Tag Archive for fracking

Super Advisory Committee to hear about drilling

Oil and gas drilling at Fairview and SH 119

An informational meeting will be held on December 7th (Wednesday) from 6 PM to 9 PM at the City Council Chambers (350 Kimbark Street) to to provide information on oil and gas issues to the members of the Board of Environmental Affairs, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Water Board . Members from the Planning and Zoning Commission will not be attending the meeting. Presentations will be given by city staff and outside agencies and organizations. The presentations will be similar to those provided at the November 15th City Council meeting. In addition to the previous speakers, Mr. Wes Wilson, an ex-EPA staffer who has information on the environmental effects of oil and gas operations, has been invited to give a presentation.

This meeting will be educational only. Board members will have the opportunity to ask questions of staff and the presenters as they relate to the presentations. While this is a public meeting and the public is invited to observe the presentations, there will not be any public participation or a Public Invited to be Heard period at the meeting.

For those who would like to preview the presentations or for those not able to attend the meeting, the video of the presentations at the November 15th Council meeting is available here.

Don’t rush drilling decisions

Editor’s Note: The following address was presented to the Longmont City Council on November 15, 2011. The address was authored by Darcy Juday, Vice Chair of the Water Board, who has 20 years experience in oil and gas exploration. It was presented and endorsed by Kaye Fissinger, Chair of the Board of Environmental Affairs.

Short-term profit, long-term damage

Drilling in Wattenberg Field is coming to the edges of Longmont; and if the first wells are successful, it could continue west into the heart of our city.

Now we have the unique opportunity to consider the effects this will have on Longmont’s livability. If we rush into this unprepared, we may have regrets for 20 years to come. Other nearby communities are also assessing the impact of large scale drilling within their boundaries. Longmont should take advantage of the experience of those communities.

Council has met with Weld County and heard of their positive experience; but that’s been mostly in rural areas. We should also hear from Boulder County which has had drilling on Open Space, and from Arapahoe County which is about to experience a drilling boom. Other counties and cities are drawing up their own regulations. We should learn about what they are considering. We should learn what other counties and communities are proposing to add to their regulations, regulations that likely may go beyond those that Longmont currently has in place.

We should ask for air pollution controls, pre- and post- drilling water sampling, enclosed drilling mud circulation, visual barriers, and landscaping in our parks. Those are big picture items.

We should also know about the operating company. Weld County has had good experience with large companies but problems with smaller ones. This smaller company, TOP Operating, has drilled on Longmont property before. Did they perform as they said they would?

And lastly, our investigation should be a joint effort with Council, Water Board, Parks and Recreation and the Environmental Board in any studies, meetings and presentations. Deliberate study can prevent future regrets.

Say no to fracking

Short-term profit, long-term damage

Fracking is a seemingly innocuous nickname for an insidious drilling method called “hydraulic fracturing,” where massive amounts of water and fracking fluid (made of a secret mix of caustic toxic chemicals and breaking agents) are pumped under pressure into horizontally drilled wells to release natural gas and oil that are trapped in rock beneath us.

Why should you be concerned?

Because this type of drilling is already occurring in Boulder County and more is coming in a big way (it is rampant next door in Weld County). Fracking will monopolize our water supply (our most valuable resource in Colorado), contaminate ground water (if you use well water, be prepared), release methane gas into the atmosphere (a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide), and much more. (Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg). People who live nearby drilling sites are getting sick, not to mention the effects on livestock and vegetation.

Just last month, toxic fracking fluid contaminated groundwater on Boulder County agricultural land near Valmont and 95th Street. However, Noble Gas wanted this spill to be kept “hush hush,” claiming business confidentiality protection. Lies and deception do not make for good business practices.

Encana Natural Gas drilling touts on their website that they provide “a clean, affordable, abundant resource for future generations.” If we’re thirsty, sick and/or dying from fracking, will there be a future for us?

You should be very concerned about this threat to our health and well-being. Please say NO to fracking.

Fracking — coming to a location near you

Plans are being prepared by city staff and others to allow drilling for gas and oil on Longmont properties.  The mineral rights involved are substantially owned by others with Longmont owning only surface land, although the city itself does own some mineral rights.

TOP Operating, a drilling firm, has already held a neighborhood meeting in conjunction with the city for those in the vicinity of Union Reservoir, Sandstone Ranch and the Sherwood property at County Road 20-1/2.  The company’s representative, Dale Bruns (of the LifeBridge/West Union development infamy) also appeared at the October Water Board meeting and Bruns and the owners of TOP Operating appeared at the Board of Environmental Affairs October meeting.

Cougar Land Services, a seismic survey firm that has requested a permit to conduct surveys on Longmont property, is expected to appear before the two boards in November.  The purpose of the seismic surveys is to locate additional oil and gas under Longmont properties.

The TOP Operating plan is to access 80 to 100 wells through five drilling pads located on the Bogott and Adrian water and open space properties west of Union Reservoir that are owned by Longmont, at Sandstone Ranch, on the Sherwood open space property and one additional site.  These plans include directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Drilling preparations could begin in as little as two to three months.

Frack You Longmont

Frack near Longmont? It's no fairy tale.

Mineral rights issues are complex. Those of you who have seen “Gasland” and/or “Split Estates” will understand that there can be surface land rights and mineral rights for the same piece of property.  Most landowners only own surface rights.  Federal and Colorado law actually permits owners of mineral rights to locate on surface-owned lands of others to drill for the oil and gas (mineral rights) that they own.  In most cases, property owners have acquiesced and leased to them — in some cases for revenue, in some cases for some control over location and/or the number of drills.  If these companies so choose, the can erect a vertical drill for every well.  Outrageous, but true!

While there can be many wells of oil and gas near each other, today’s technology allows for drilling directionally or horizontally to access several of these wells through single drilling sites.  Fracking now makes many of these sources economical for the oil and gas industry.  Fracking uses a combination of water, sand and a chemical cocktail to break apart shale rock and release trapped oil and gas.  Fracking is a serious threat to water supplies regardless of industry propaganda to the contrary.  There are also other environmental hazards with fracking.

About three weeks ago, Longmont voters received a telephone poll conducted by American Tradition Partnership (ATP), formerly known as Western Tradition Partnership (WTP).  Among their many questions was, and I paraphrase, “Would you be OK with oil and gas drilling on Longmont’s open space?”

American Tradition Partnership is rabidly anti-environmental.  They are funded by the oil, gas and coal industries.  Even more significant, the organization is amongst the nation’s best liars who have never had a relationship with shame, and likely never will.

ATP/WTP fully funded Longmont Leadership Committee in the 2009 Longmont election that conducted the ugliest political campaign in Longmont’s recent memories. That election ushered in a majority on city council that espouses a radical ideology. In this year’s election, American Tradition Partnership has openly endorsed Bryan Baum and Health Carroll and opposed Sarah Levison and Sean McCoy in Longmont’s upcoming election.

Mayor Baum raised the issue of Longmont’s mineral rights at the 2010 council retreat.  The subject was not openly resurrected after that time and most of us who are concerned about potential drilling wrongly assumed that the subject was going nowhere.  It is my belief that American Tradition Partnership has acted with the mayor and his block on council since the 2009 election, if not before.  The dots connect.  In essence ATP/WTP is receiving payback for the support provided to elect Baum, Santos, Witt and Sammoury.

This latest turn of events is appalling and our options are limited.  We are losing control of our city and our environment.  Let your voice be heard in whatever forum you have available or feel comfortable in using.

Fracking in Longmont Open Space?

Dear Mayor Baum and City Council,

Oil and Money -do mix

I found out several days ago that plans are being prepared by city staff and others to allow for horizontal drilling for natural gas and oil on Longmont city-owned properties, including on Longmont Open Space. Then I find in the City Council Study Session packet for October 18, 2011, that the City is having a conversation with Weld County about how they deal with their gas and oil well drilling agreements. What’s up?

First, before any kind of drilling is approved, I urge our Mayor and City Council members to educate themselves about the dangers of fracking by watching the movie, “Gasland” to get a better understanding of hydraulic fracturing, also know as FRACKING.

Caustic fluids (things such as biocides and breaking agents – very toxic chemical concoctions that are trade secrets) are injected under pressure deep into the strata in order to release natural gas and/or oil that might not be obtainable through regular drilling methods. One of the problems, however, is the forcing of natural gas into places where it doesn’t belong, like in people’s water wells. Just to the east of Longmont, people are able to light the water coming out of their faucets because it is full of methane.

At a recent meeting that discussed the dangers of fracking, a woman from Firestone, where drilling platforms and condensate tanks surround the neighborhood and local schools, told us that people are getting sick. Cancer rates in her neighborhood have risen dramatically and other serious health issues have appeared. Of course, that is in Weld County, where they’ve dug hundreds if not thousands of these kinds of wells. However, Weld County Commissioners appear not to be concerned with the health and wellbeing of their population.

When I heard that Longmont is considering allowing drilling on our Open Space land that is owned by the people of Longmont and close to homes, I was flabbergasted.

Drilling for oil THIS CLOSE to Union Reservoir?! Insane!

By the way, did you know that Fracking requires the use of millions of gallons of water? An initial “Frack” requires one to four million gallons of water. That amount is enough domestic water for 30 to 100 homes for a year. However, since each well requires up to 32 frackings – well, you do the math. In our state, it’s common knowledge that water supplies are already inadequate.

Of course, there is the issue of cleaning up of the injected water. The extracted water sits in ponds to evaporate. What type of chemical soup is in the water? Deadly toxins!

And what about emissions? Fracking is producing seriously harmful air quality problems. In Wyoming, for example, there is a rural town that has the highest ozone levels in the country. Ozone gives lungs a sunburn – did you know that?

Sure, it makes sense to find out how Weld County manages their oil and gas wells. However, given the problems that Weld County is experiencing, you should be running in the opposite direction as fast as you can. It’s a nightmare waiting to happen. But wait, is it all about the money?

Please, don’t allow FRACKING anywhere near our city.

Don’t defile Longmont’s Open Space

In a recent Guest Opinion, I wrote about Western Tradition Partnership.  WTP funded a Longmont political committee that waged an ugly political campaign to elect Mayor Bryan Baum and council members Gabe Santos, Katie Witt and Alex Sammoury.

Western Tradition Partnership is primarily funded by the oil, gas and coal industries.  WTP is now known as American Tradition Partnership.

Last week ATP polled a substantial number of Longmont voters.  It was an extensive poll.  The poll clearly promoted Baum for mayor and at-large candidate Heath Carroll.

American Tradition Partnership is rabidly anti-environmental.   Halfway through the poll, a second agenda became evident.  Their questions about renewable energy were designed to push respondents to respond negatively to green energy.

But the question that should alarm all of Longmonters was this, and I paraphrase, “Would you be OK with gas and oil drilling on Longmont’s open space?”

American Tradition Partnership is calling in its chits.  It spent money to elect the above-mentioned candidates and now its secret contributors want something in return.

Over the next four weeks Cougar Land Services, already operating in Weld County, will seek permission to perform seismic surveys on our open space.   Make no mistake, this is a precursor to drilling with the belief that it will pass the next council.

Our open space belongs to the people of Longmont and must not be disturbed, defiled and degraded.

If you want to end this threat to Longmont’s open space, you have no alternative but to vote against Bryan Baum and those on his preferred slate.   Protect our environmental, recreational, agricultural and water assets from drilling and likely some hydraulic fracking.  Vote in Dennis Coombs as Mayor and return incumbents Sarah Levison, Brian Hansen and Sean McCoy to council.

This land is our land.

Water, Oil and Gas don’t mix

Save the Poudre Wants Analysis and Public Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals used in Oil/Gas Wells on top of Proposed NISP Reservoir.

March 9, 2011
Fort Collins, CO — As oil and gas wells continue marching across Weld County, Colorado, they are also marching across the site for the proposed Galeton reservoir which is a water storage facility for the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Additionally, of the 11 wells currently drilled and producing on top of the Galeton reservoir footprint as of March 7, 2011, 8 were drilled using “hydraulic fracturing” (fracking) with unknown chemical pollutants (click for map of wells).

On March 8, 2011, Save the Poudre sent a letter to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking for a thorough environmental analysis to be completed within NISP’s Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) that includes publicizing the chemical components in the fracking fluid used to drill the wells on top of the proposed reservoir. That letter is here: (2011-03-08-stp-letter-to-corps-cogc-epa-fracking-galeton) The NISP SDEIS is supposed to be released to the public near the end of 2011.

“The existence of fracked oil and gas wells on top of, and near, the proposed Galeton reservoir may pose significant human and environmental health risks that need to be thoroughly analyzed in the NISP SDEIS,” said Gary Wockner of Save the Poudre. “NISP has triggered the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act — these federal laws require full disclosure of all environmental impacts, including the environmental impacts of fracking under the proposed Galeton reservoir.”

An example of the fracking description available for one of the wells that was drilled on top of the proposed reservoir reads:

Well 05-123-31052: Frac’d Codell w/101835 gals Silverstim, Acid, and Slick Water with 201220 lbs Ottawa sand. (Source: Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee)

In a February 17, 2011 email exchange with Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper, Chandler Peter from the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed that no environmental or cost analyses of the oil and gas wells has yet been figured into NISP. Save the Poudre’s letter to the Corps, COGCC, and EPA outlines the extent of analysis needed to meet federal requirements.

NISP is already over 5 years late and at least $150 million over budget. In January of 2011, the Supplemental DEIS was postponed for the third time.

Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper opposes NISP and has proposed a “Healthy Rivers Alternative” to the project. This Alternative would be cheaper, better for farms, better for the river, and could be implemented faster than NISP. The summary of the Alternative is here: http://poudreriver.home.comcast.net/~poudreriver/Healthy_Rivers_Alternative.pdf

Evidence shows water contaminated by “fracking”

The petroleum industry's concept of a 'fire' hydrant

I recently viewed the documentary Gasland and was appalled at what has been happening in our country regarding hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Fracking is a controversial drilling technique used by the oil and gas industry that has injected millions of tons of highly toxic chemical fluids into the ground to break apart shale and release natural gas.

Problems with drinking water that can be traced to fracking in Colorado are documented in Gasland. One graphic example is tap water actually catching on fire.

Fracking was exempted from the Safe Water Drinking Act in the 2005 Energy Bill and now scientists believe this process is poisoning our drinking water. As time has gone by more facts are coming to light showing the damage being caused and the American lives being placed at risk.

A few members of Congress — Representatives Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, and Maurice Hinchey — have introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act in the U.S. House while Senators Bob Casey and Chuck Schumer have introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate. These bills provide common sense regulation of hydraulic fracturing. They require companies to divulge the chemicals being used and close a loophole that exempts drilling operators from safe drinking water regulations.

This is the third time that legislation such as this has been introduced. It is time for citizens to lobby Congress for appropriate regulation of this industry.

This is not a partisan issue. This is about safe drinking water.

If you have a chance, see the movie Gasland, and please call Congress and support this Act. The life you save may be your own.