Posts Tagged ‘hydro-fracking’

A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors.  It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.

Click here to read the full article…

Photo courtesy of Skytruth

Drilling in the Uinta Basin near the town of Ouray. Drilling locations appear as bright spots and are connected by a network of roads and pipeline corridors. / Photo courtesy of Skytruth

By Robin Cooley, Earth Justice

The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment.  What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end?  And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.

During wintertime inversions, when cold air is trapped near the ground by warm air above, the Uinta Basin suffers from a thick blanket of smog that rivals Los Angeles on a bad day. In its recent State of the Air Report, the American Lung Association gave Uintah County an “F” for ozone pollution, the key ingredient of smog. Scientists have compared the effects of ozone pollution to getting a sunburn on your lungs. It is most harmful to children, seniors, and people with heart and lung problems.

In the Uinta Basin, fracking is the primary culprit. A recent study shows that oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin is responsible for smog-forming emissions (volatile organic compounds) that are equivalent to the amount coming out of the tailpipe of 100 million cars and trucks.

The EPA, the state of Utah, and the energy companies are spending millions to study the problem. The Utah Department of Health is also investigating after a local midwife raised concerns about a possible increase in infant death rates.

But studying this problem is not enough to protect people living and working in the Uinta Basin. EPA must take the steps necessary to ensure that the air is clean. In 2012, the EPA refused to designate the Uinta Basin as a “nonattainment area” for ozone, which would trigger the state’s obligation to develop a clean-up plan under the Clean Air Act. On October 21, 2014, Earthjustice went to federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, WildEarth Guardians and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, to argue that it is time for the EPA to stop dragging its feet and start protecting public health. Given the ongoing oil and gas boom in the Uinta Basin, there is no time to waste.

YOU CAN HELP! The terrible flooding in Colorado struck the heart of one of the busiest oil and gas fields in the country. Amid concerns that chemicals and #fracking fluids from these facilities are contaminating the water, we need your help documenting these problems! http://coflood.skytruth.org/  Just take a photo of the site and report it to SkyTruth, a nonprofit that uses remote sensing and mapping to expose environmental dangers. It's easy to do and will greatly help them map areas of high concern! Here's the link: http://coflood.skytruth.org/  You should also report the problem to Colorado's Oil and Gas Commission: http://ow.ly/oZYwc Please SHARE or LIKE especially if you have friends or family in Colorado that can help out!  (photos courtesy of East Boulder County United)

YOU CAN HELP! The terrible flooding in Colorado struck the heart of one of the busiest oil and gas fields in the country. Amid concerns that chemicals and #fracking fluids from these facilities are contaminating the water, we need your help documenting these problems! http://coflood.skytruth.org/ Just take a photo of the site and report it to SkyTruth, a nonprofit that uses remote sensing and mapping to expose environmental dangers. It’s easy to do and will greatly help them map areas of high concern! Here’s the link: http://coflood.skytruth.org/ You should also report the problem to Colorado’s Oil and Gas Commission: http://ow.ly/oZYwc Please SHARE especially if you have friends or family in Colorado that can help out! (photos courtesy of East Boulder County United)

By , Grist.org

Heavy rains returned to Colorado on Sunday and hampered rescue efforts after last week’s flash floods. The confirmed death toll has risen to seven, and hundreds are still unaccounted for. An estimated 1,500 homes are destroyed. Some 1,000 people in Larimer County, north of Boulder, were awaiting airlifts that never came on Sunday — they were called off because of the foul weather.

The floods have also triggered other problems that have gotten a lot less media attention: Fracking infrastructure has been inundated and its toxic contents have spilled out. Pipelines that transport fossil fuels are sagging and snapping under pressure. Tanks that store chemicals and polluted water are being overwhelmed and toppling over. Oil and gas wells are flooding.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado Floodwaters Cover Fracking And Oil Projects: ‘We Have No Idea What Those Wells Are Leaking’

By Rebecca Leber, ThinkProgress.org

CREDIT: East Boulder County UnitedColorado flooding has not only overwhelmed roads and homes, but also the oil and gas infrastructure stationed in one of the most densely drilled areas in the U.S. Although oil companies have shut down much of their operations in Weld County due to flooding, nearby locals say an unknown amount of chemicals has leaked out and possibly contaminated waters, mixing fracking fluids and oil along with sewage, gasoline, and agriculture pesticides.

“You have 100, if not thousands, of wells underwater right now and we have no idea what those wells are leaking,” East Boulder County United spokesman Cliff Willmeng said Monday. “It’s very clear they are leaking into the floodwaters though.”

Photographs shared by East Boulder County United, a Colorado environmental group that opposes hydraulic fracturing, show many tanks have been ruptured and others floating in the flood. At least one pipeline has been confirmed broken and leaking.

Click here to read the full article…

U.S.34 outside Greeley ripped apart by the South Platte River. (Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post)

U.S.34 outside Greeley ripped apart by the South Platte River. (Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post)

5,250 gallons of oil spills into South Platte River

By Bruce Finley and Ryan Parker, The Denver Post

MILLIKEN — Industry crews have placed absorbent booms in the South Platte River south of Milliken where at least 5,250 gallons of crude oil has spilled from two tank batteries into the flood-swollen river.

The spill from a damaged tank was reported to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources Wednesday afternoon by Anadarko Petroleum, as is required by state law.

State officials have responded to the spill site, which is south of Milliken near where the St. Vrain River flows into the South Platte.

Nearly 1,900 oil and gas wells in flooded areas of Colorado are shut, and 600 industry personnel are inspecting and repairing sites, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Crews are inspecting operations, conducting aerial and ground surveillance, identifying and determining locations of possible impairments, the association said Tuesday.

Anadarko, the second-largest operator in the operator in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, has shut about 10 percent of its operations — 250 tank batteries and 670 wells.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado Floods Causing Fracking Spills?

Posted: September 16, 2013 by earthfirstdurango in fracking
Tags: , ,

flood-in-Weld-County-yesterday-Sept-13-e1379256241135

Natural and Human-made Disasters Portend Future of Toxic Catastrophe

From Earth First! News

It appears that an unknown number of underwater frack wells are leaking into the flood waters tearing through Colorado. Although local activists have sent emails with photographs documenting toppled industrial tanks, there has been no response from media or authorities.

According to one activist, “There has been no mention of the gas wells on the Denver newscasts either last night or this evening although all stations have had extensive and extended flood coverage. You can see underwater wells in the background of some of the newscast videos, and yet the reporters say absolutely nothing.”

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Torrential rains have led to days of flooding across the state, and 500 people remain unaccounted for. At least 4 people have died.

According to Brad Udall, director of the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, the floods are likely resulting from a combination of drought-hardened soil, wildfires that remove vegetation, and unusally strong rains due to warmer air that more holds moisture in clouds. “As the climate warms further, the hydrologic cycle is going to get more intense,” he told National Geographic, “Between the fires last year and this year, the unprecedented and continuing drought in the Colorado River, and now this shocking event,” he continued, “climate change feels very real to me.”

As climate change gets worse, disasters will increase. Fukushima may be just the front end of what’s down the pipeline for Earth.

Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historic Park. | Photo: gregorywass/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historic Park. | Photo: gregorywass/Flickr/Creative Commons License

By Char Miller, KCET

The falcon flew low and fast over Strawberry Rock, an outcropping high above the Rio Brazos Valley, just east of Chama, New Mexico.

We were sharing a picnic with good friends in a pine copse rooted in rough sandstone and marveling over the clear blue horizon, when the small raptor shot past; its backswept wings and breakneck speed were its only identifiable features.

As it stretched out and banked west, the falcon’s swift form was highlighted against the quartzite face of the Brazos Cliffs, glowing in the midday sun; it then hurtled down the dark green valley, following the silvery flow west toward the Rio Chama.

That shutter-click of a moment seemed suspended in time. Like our vacation, a lifting up and out, a release.

Yet at some point the falcon had to wing home, and so did we, though our pace was a bit more sedate. A day later we were rolling along U.S. 64 across northwestern New Mexico, straight through the state’s oil-and-gas patch in the San Juan River watershed.

The region contains the nation’s second largest gas reserves, a play that has gone through a series of booms and busts since the 1920s, but it has been experiencing a decline of late. The small towns along our route bear the marks of this economic withering — idled rigs, banged up pickups, pitted roadbeds, and dusty stores with little on the shelves. Even the relatively bustling Farmington, which received a substantial infusion of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dollars to repave an extensive portion of U.S. 64, has not been able to generate enough new work to break out of its doldrums.

That’s why so many are looking for salvation in two words: Mancos Shale. The formation, which extends from New Mexico into portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, is buried about a mile beneath the surface. Estimated to contain upwards of six billion barrels of oil, approximately one-third of which lies within New Mexico, the untapped resource is being touted as a godsend for the recession-hit area.

Click here to read the full article…

From EcoWatch:

Two months ago a story started ‘leaking’ out of Western Colorado about a fracked-gas pipeline break—loaded with cancer-causing benzene—with fluids heading toward and eventually into Parachute Creek which is a tributary to the Colorado River. As water wells close to the Creek started testing positive for benzene, and then as the Creek itself tested positive for benzene above drinking water standards, the news media started telling a story of how the Colorado River—a drinking water source for 35 million people across the Southwest U.S.—was threatened. As of this writing the leak is still not cleaned up and the creek is still testing positive for benzene.

This one leak may be the tip of the iceberg for fracking impacts in the Colorado River basin.

Across the Colorado River basin in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and in Southern California, a huge boom in natural gas and oil exploration and drilling—all using the extremely dangerous and controversial extraction method of fracking—is taking place that is increasingly imperiling water resources. Fracking has these impacts on water resources:

  1. Fracking uses enormous amounts of water.
  2. Fracking uses cancer-causing chemicals.
  3. “Spills and releases” of drilling and fracking fluids on the ground are commonplace during the drilling and fracking stage of each well.
  4. Unless wells are drilled and fracked properly, chemicals can leak into surrounding groundwater. Even when wells are drilled and fracked to the highest standards, there’s no guarantee that cement casings around wells can’t break and leak over time.
  5. After the drilling and fracking process, there’s no guarantee that fluids injected into the well can’t migrate up into groundwater through geological fissures and cracks.
  6. Millions of gallons of waste products from each fracked well are so badly poisoned with cancer-causing chemicals that the water is never purified and returned to rivers and streams, and instead is usually injected into even deeper aquifers and wells where government regulating agencies hope it stays forever.

More than a hundred thousand active oil and gas wells in the Colorado River already exist, and approximately a hundred thousand new wells—all to be fracked—are proposed. Many of these existing wells are near streams that connect to the Colorado River and some are right beside the Colorado River, and all of the proposed wells are in the same locations. Billions of gallons of toxic water and waste products have already been injected into deep disposal wells across the Colorado River basin every year, and billions more are proposed. Cancer-causing fracking chemicals are sometimes stored in tanks and open pits on the surface right beside rivers, including the Colorado River.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom. Photographer: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom. Photographer: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The mainstream media mother-Earth-fuckers at Bloomberg recently released this report:

Stan Dempsey, an oil and gas lobbyist, raced from one committee hearing to another in Colorado’s statehouse this spring, defending the industry against an onslaught of bills.

While only one of 10 measures passed, the flurry of activity is one of several worrying signs to Dempsey and others in the industry that Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom.

“The politics have shifted in the state,” Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association in Denver, said in an interview. “Energy has become a big issue.”

The debate extends beyond the state capital. Two Colorado towns have banned fracturing, or fracking. Other communities are considering similar restrictions. Environmental groups — encouraged by what they see as rising populist anger over drilling — are now exploring a statewide ban on fracking through a 2014 referendum measure.

At stake for developers is access to resources that have made Colorado the nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas and the ninth-biggest oil producer. One group — the Western Energy Alliance, which represents about 400 oil and gas companies — says it plans to increase its lobbying budget four-fold to meet the threat.

Fracking Ban

“Fundamentally, a ban on hydraulic fracturing is a ban on oil and gas development in Colorado,” said Doug Flanders, a spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, another energy group based in Denver. “And it begs the question: if not here then where?”

Communities from New Jersey to California have also sought to impose restrictions on fracking, according to data kept by Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based environmental group.

In Colorado, communities have made the most direct challenges to fracking, which injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to break apart shale rock formations so oil and gas can flow to the surface.

Voters in Longmont overwhelmingly approved a ban on fracking in November. Fort Collins had a moratorium on the process. The city council voted May 21 to lift it after Prospect Energy LLC, the only oil and gas company operating within city limits, agreed to standards that are stricter than state rules.

Boulder Ban

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, is also considering restrictions. Last night, the directors of FrackNation, which portrays the positive attributes of drilling, and GasLand2, which takes an opposing view, screened their films for residents.

“There is a new movement out there by local municipalities and communities to seize control of the permitting process,” said Tim Wigley, president of the Western Energy Alliance, whose members include Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) (APC) of The Woodlands, Texas, and Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) (DVN) based in Oklahoma City.

That’s worrisome, Wigley said, because it could add more delay to a state and federal process already slowing development.

Protect Our Colorado, a coalition of residents, social justice and faith groups, environmental organizations and companies such as outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia Inc., said it is considering pushing for a statewide limit on fracking through referendum on 2014.

“There’s nothing that’s off the table with regard to fracking and what would be on the ballot,” said Sam Schabacker, Mountain West region director for Food & Water Watch.

Predicts Defeat

Dempsey, of the Colorado Petroleum Association, said he was confident that ultimately the state’s voters would reject broader efforts to limit drilling.

“To pass a ballot initiative in Colorado takes a lot of work and a lot of money,” he said. Oil and gas companies historically have “contributed quite a bit of money in efforts to defeat ballot measures that would harm our industry.”

Colorado has a long history of oil and gas drilling. That’s one reason why oil and gas producers are wary of the growing resistance to fracking in the state.

A waterway that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska 100 million years ago left behind organic matter that time and pressure cooked into rich oil and gas deposits in Colorado. These include the Niobrara shale formation, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates may contain 2 billion barrels of oil, as well as the Wattenberg Field north of Denver.

High Production

In 2012, oil production in the state reached its highest level in 55 years, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that regulates the industry. Natural gas production increased by 27 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to agency information.

Wigley said the resistance to drilling in Colorado is being driven by new residents who aren’t used to seeing energy development.

“I’m not calling them dumb, they just don’t know where things come from,” Wigley said in an interview. “It’s a challenge to the industry, no question about it.”

The population of the eight counties along the Front Range, the scenic and resource-rich eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, grew on average 18.8 percent from 2000 to 2010.

The growth has helped turned the state from Republican red to Democratic blue. Colorado voted Republican for president six out of the seven elections between 1980 and 2004, before voting for President Barack Obama in the last two.

Click here to read the full article…

From Colorado Extraction Resistance:

From The Colorado Pledge of Resistance Against Continued Hydraulic Fracturing:

On Tuesday, May 21st, the Boulder County Commissioners voted to allow the current moratorium against hydraulic fracturing in Boulder County to expire in June of this year. In doing so, the Commissioners turned their back on our health, the natural environment, and our democratic will to determine that this type of industrial activity has no place in our community.

On Sunday, June 2nd, an emergency public meeting will be held to defend Boulder County from an industrial and political process that does not take our lives and well-being into consideration. This effort is bigger than environmentalism. This is an attack on our basic civil rights and we will organize and respond accordingly.

Please attend this very important meeting to inform yourself where Boulder County now stands in relation to future oil and gas drilling, and how to organize and use the analysis and tactics of the successful civil rights movements of the past. We will attempt to answer the enormous amount of questions from the community, and organize a campaign to ensure the future of our health, environment, and self-determination. As we have reached the end of all possible negotiations with the Commissioners and the State, and the community continues to be placed in harm’s way, this effort will necessitate the use of historic nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action.

Please join us at this historic crossroads.

Where: Unity Church, 2855 Folsom, Boulder County
When: Sunday, June 2nd, 2 – 5 pm

Colorado Extraction Resistance

Colorado Extraction Resistance
Rally and Direct Action Teach-in
Friday, March 22nd 5:30pm
Governor’s Mansion (400 E 8th Ave @Logan St. Denver, CO)

In solidarity with the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance week of action we are calling for a public denunciation of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for his ever increasingly obvious role as a spokesperson for the corrupt oil & gas industry. For far too long, Hickenlooper has misused his authority to force Colorado to allow the destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing which poisons our air, our water, our land, and our bodies.  We will be converging on the Governor’s mansion  to make it clear that he does not represent us, and that Colorado is ready to stand up to the toxic extraction industry.  Bring signs, banners, puppets, chains, and u-locks for educational lockdown demonstrations) and of course fracking fluid!

Governor Hickenlooper’s track record makes it clear that he purposely denies climate science in order to act on behalf of the predatory industry interests instead of the citizens who elected him.  He has threatened to sue any city or county in Colorado that bans fracking. He is also planning an upcoming visit to the Tar Sands in Canada on March 26th for “relationship building”. Our Governor has continuously shown us that he will allow Oil & Gas to plunder and pollute our state’s basic survival resources of water and air. What will it take to stop him and his corporate masters from turning Colorado into an industrial sacrifice zone?

We demand that Governor Hickenlooper enact an immediate ban on all
hydraulic fracturing operations in Colorado, and that all responsible
companies be forced to pay financial restitution to residents who have suffered damage to their health and property.  Any jobs associated with fracking do not justify the staggering ecological destruction it brings; fracking has been proven to devastate the health of humans and animals near extraction sites while poisoning workers at the fracking pad itself. As citizens of Colorado it is not only our right but our duty to address this urgent threat to our environment and public health.

Colorado Extraction Resistance will defend the fracking bans recently passed in Longmont and Fort Collins and the moratorium planned in Lafayette.

Building statewide solidarity amongst fracking resisters, we will counter any attempt to intimidate residents into accepting the poison and lies of the oil & gas industry.

Facts about fracking that Hickenlooper refuses to acknowledge:

– Fracking spews endocrine disruptors into the air and water.

– Many chemicals used in fracking are classified as carcinogenic and hazardous air pollutants. Many of these chemicals, such as benzene, are routinely found in the air, water, and ground during and after fracking operations.  Health effects associated with benzene include acute and chronic nonlymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, anemia, and other blood disorders and immunological effects.

– Fracking permanently depletes fresh groundwater vital to ecosystems & agriculture.

– The EPA is allowing fracking companies to inject toxic waste water directly into drinking water aquifers under Northern Colorado.

– Even at distances of 2,700 feet from a fracking well site, toxic chemicals were still detectable at levels that would increase the chance of developing cancer by 66 percent.

– Pets and livestock exposed to fracking byproducts in the air and water suffered neurological, reproductive and gastrointestinal disabilities.

– At a conservative estimate, the oil & gas industry owns at least 20% of land in Colorado through private and public leases for fracking operations.  The industry has bought much of this land for as little as $2 an acre.

Sources: fractivist.blogspot.ru | ecowatch.org

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Drilling activities along both sides of the Colorado River, Interstate 70, and the Amtrak rail lines in Garfield County, Colorado. Photo courtesy of TEDX The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

By Phillip Doe, EcoWatch

I went to a meeting earlier this winter in the Colorado Governor’s Office. I’m not a regular.

The Governor, John Hickenlooper, Hick to his friends, had called the meeting with Boulder County Commissioners to discuss the county’s draft regulations governing the recovery of oil and gas found in the county’s deep underground shale formations. The fact is that most of the state is underlain by these ancient and organically rich seabeds. All are ripe for exploitation through the use of the industry’s new mining technique called horizontal fracking.

In his haste, the governor had apparently forgotten that such meetings require the public be notified at least 24 hours in advance so they can listen in on the public’s business. This law has been on the books since 1972 and is widely used, but imperfectly understood, apparently, by the governor and his lieutenants. Hick was a long-term mayor of Denver before becoming governor. Its use is commonplace in city government.

To an outsider this meeting might sound like a tempest in a teapot, but as in most states with oil and gas reservoirs made recoverable through fracking, the state government of Colorado has said that it, and it alone, has the authority to regulate the oil and gas industry. The counties and cities may write their own regulations, but they must be in “harmony” with the state’s, and can not add conditions or requirements that would harm the industry’s bottom line. They are “preempted” from doing so.

Click here to read the full article from EcoWatch.org…