The Colorado Independent,2020
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Colorado conservation groups are rallying the troops in Golden today for one of only three forums nationwide that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is conducting on the controversial natural gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” BLM director Bob Abbey is weighing whether to require public disclosure of chemicals used in fracking operations on federal lands. Today’s BLM meeting will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Denver Marriott West in Golden.
Between 2005 and 2009, the nation’s 14 leading natural gas drilling service companies used hydraulic fracturing fluids containing 29 different chemicals regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as potential human carcinogens, according to a new congressional report released Saturday. The investigation was spearheaded by a group of House Democrats that includes Colorado's Diana DeGette.
Observers of the century-long quest to extract oil from the shale rocks of Colorado’s Western Slope are fond of saying “oil shale is the fuel of the future … and always will be.” Never commercially viable because of the costs and resources needed to heat and extract the kerogen trapped in the rocks, an estimated 2 trillion barrels of shale oil remains locked up – perhaps forever.
Colorado oil and gas regulators are touting a new website, set to debut in mid-April, that will allow operators to voluntarily register chemicals used in the controversial but commonly used process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), under revised oil and gas drilling regulations that went into effect in 2009, already requires operators to disclose fracturing chemicals if requested by state regulators or by health professionals.
Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility and a key backer of Colorado’s aggressive renewable energy standard (RES), reacted with skepticism to Monday’s lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law mandating 30 percent of Xcel’s electricity be produced by renewable sources by 2020. “... We understand that [the complaint] was made by a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization,” Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz told the Colorado Independent. “We would be surprised if a federal court would overturn Colorado's legislatively approved Renewable Energy Standard.”
The Colorado Petroleum Association (CPA) today dropped its bid to get the state to roll back its rule for proper disposal of pit liners used in the oil and gas drilling process. Rule 905 was one of the revised oil and gas drilling regulations most criticized by the industry after the new, more environmentally stringent rules went into effect in the spring of 2009. The CPA withdrew its petition at today’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) meeting, eliciting praise from the environmental community.
Two Colorado congressmen whose districts include all or parts of the state’s extensively drilled and mined Western Slope had very different reactions to today’s speech on energy policy by President Barack Obama. Obama, speaking at Georgetown University on the heels of a report he requested from the U.S. Department of Interior detailing unused oil and gas leases, took a shot at the 2008 “drill, baby, drill” Republican campaign rhetoric and chided today’s GOP for trying to blame rising gas prices on his administration.
A New York City law firm today will hold a press conference on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol building in Denver to announce a lawsuit against a Denver-based natural gas drilling company for the alleged contamination of a Silt family’s property “leading to their forced exile from their home and serious health effects.”
Even as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, continued his crusade last week to step up federal oversight of the natural gas drilling industry, his fellow Western Slope congressman, Republican Scott Tipton of Cortez, proposed a new regulatory impact study (RIS) to tabulate the fiscal impacts of federal regulations on industry.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis on Thursday followed up his reintroduction this week of the FRAC Act -- which would tighten federal regulation of natural gas drilling’s impacts to water quality -- with the BREATHE Act, a bill that would remove two exemptions for gas drilling under the Clean Air Act.