Tag Archive for . Longmont Open Space

Stamp 2 Well Near Union Reservoir Contaminated

3 out of 7 wells on Longmont Open Space are contaminated.

TOP Operating’s Stamp 2 gas well is located on the western edge of Union Reservoir. It is 506 feet from the water. It is approximately a mile from TOP’s contaminated Rider 1 well, near Trail Ridge Middle School.

The Stamp 2 gas well is contaminated by toxic petrochemicals above State regulatory standards.

Last year, in January 2011, the City of Longmont received a “Limited Site Investigation,” completed by Terracon Consultants on the Bogott Property, where the Stamp 2 is located. The Bogott property is now owned by the City of Longmont. It is part of Longmont’s Open Space at Union Reservoir.

Regulatory limits are placed on petrochemicals because of their strong toxicity.

The Stamp 2 site environmental investigation reported Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons at 1970 mg/kg in the soil, which is almost 4 times the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission regulatory standard for soil of 500 mg/kg.

Soil contamination at the Stamp 2 by benzene is .029 mg/kg, almost 6 times above the regulatory limit, 0.005 mg/kg.

Ethylbenzene levels are 10 times the statutory level; Xylenes are 340 times the “safe” limit; gasoline range hydrocarbons are 38 times allowable levels.

These readings were from samples taken near the wellhead.

Near the Stamp 2 tank battery, ethylbenzene levels were 20 times the statutory limit; xylenes almost 3 times; and gasoline range hydrocarbons almost 20 times statutory limit.

The Investigation found that the soil has “dark gray petroleum staining and odor” 3.5 feet deep, beside the wellhead,

From 4 to 8 feet deep, the soil is “dark gray-gray, weathering decreasing with depth, petroleum gray stain and odor, slightly moist.”

There are no ground water monitoring wells at Stamp 2. Terracon pushed a 1-inch temporary PVC pipe 8 feet into the ground on December 17, 2010. No ground water was found, at that time of year. Nearby residents report that ground water is encountered at depths of 9-10 feet, 1600 feet from the water’s edge.

Ground water at Stamp 2, so close to Union Reservoir, and now on City Open Space, needs to be monitored and tested more carefully. Engineered groundwater monitoring wells, are the best method for monitoring ground water at oil and gas wells. The COGCC and the City must require that TOP install, monitor and report to the COGCC and the City, accurate reports on the ground water between Stamp 2 and Union Reservoir.

During January 2012, activity was observed at Rider 1 and Stamp 2. Bulldozers, trucks, and pumps were seen at the sites.

At Stamp 2 in late January 2012, a truck with high pressure hoses was observed. The tank battery was being washed down. The wash water, detergents, petroleum wastes and contaminates were not contained, and now leach toward Union Reservoir, as the only protection around the tank battery is an unlined clay berm.

Terracon recommends that the City contact TOP Operating “to pursue remedial activities of the petroleum impacted soil and groundwater above regulatory standards.” The Oil & Gas Commission should also be notified.

There are other TOP operated wells on the Boggot and Sherwood properties, now owned as open space by Longmont. Of the 7 wells where Terracon took soil and groundwater samples, three wells have contamination levels over COGCC limits.

“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.

Safeguards needed for oil and gas drilling

Editor’s note: Mr. Cunningham’s commentary was first seen in the Denver Post and is fully reposted here with the author’s permission. His commentary is especially relevant inasmuch as the City of Longmont is preparing to allow drilling on Longmont’s Open Space.

Only a nitwit would think this is a good idea.

Fracking? This Close? We Need to Stop This.

As a Colorado resident, I have always enjoyed getting outside, exploring the outdoors in the Rocky Mountain National Park and breathing in the fresh air. However, that clean air is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Heavy oil and gas drilling is already spewing millions of tons of harmful pollutants Colorado’s air and it’s getting worse.

The oil and natural gas industries are dumping dangerous pollutants like methane and sulfur gases and benzene into our air, causing serious health problems ranging from asthma attacks to cancer and premature death. Drilling has increased in the growing front range suburban communities in Weld County and all across the western part of Colorado. But it’s not just here. Millions of families around the country are becoming increasingly exposed to these deadly pollutants.

Few people realize that the natural gas industry is currently exempt from the Clean Air Act. This allows natural gas companies to dump massive amounts of pollution into the air every day.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The Environmental Protection Agency​ can stop this deadly air pollution that is suffocating communities from Parachute and Rifle to Greenly, and across the country. For the first time ever, the EPA has proposed cost-effective pollution safeguards to close industry loopholes and clean up toxic air pollution from oil and gas production. These safeguards would cut methane pollution, asthma-causing smog and other hazardous air pollutants by nearly 4 million tons per year.

It is not surprising that the oil and gas industry is lobbying heavily against these proposed protections.

Yet these safeguards will benefit everyone – including industry. Strong air pollution protections will help oil and gas companies capture gas that currently leaks into our air during production, saving businesses an estimated $30 million each year. Cleaning up industry practices and our air just makes sense.

The EPA recently opened a comment period to ask the public what it thinks of their recently proposed pollution protections, and on Wednesday they’ll be in Denver to hear from residents affected by air pollution from oil and gas drilling. We all need to tell the EPA that we want these air safeguards to be as strong as possible.

Here in Colorado, I want children to be able to grow and raise their own families without worrying about breathing dangerous air pollution. That’s why I urge everyone in and around Denver to join us as we fight to clean up the oil and gas industry and protect clean air for our families.

Kirk Cunningham is co-chair of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Conservation Committee.

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.