GOP drilling proposal defeated in Colorado Senate


Republican Sen. Ted Harvey's measure was at least the fourth bill related to drilling that has been defeated this year. Both Democratic and Republican proposals have been rejected. Harvey's bill would have made clear that cities and counties can't go against the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.

Colorado legislators reject bills to temper impact of oil, gas drilling


Two initiatives to temper the impacts of oil and gas drilling in Colorado -- requiring a 1,000-foot setback from homes and limiting the use of open fluid pits -- were rejected Monday by a legislative committee. The setback bill and the bill requiring "closed-loop" tank systems in place of open pits both went down on 3-7 votes.

After the vote, Ryden said the fact that the oil-and-gas commission would begin a review of the setback issue was "a victory in itself."

Lobbyist: Bill threatens local controls on oil & gas

February 5, 2012

A bill before the Colorado Legislature is aimed at eliminating any local control over oil and gas activities, according to the Colorado Municipal League, which is opposing the bill.

Introduced by state Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, Senate Bill 88 is before the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver. Its title is "Preempt Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations."

Boulder County puts moratorium on oil and gas operations

February 2, 2012

"In order to ensure both our Comprehensive Plan and Land Use regulations are as thorough and up-to-date as possible, today we approved a temporary moratorium on the processing of the required development plans for local oil and gas permits under the county Land Use Code (Resolution 2012-16)," the commissioners said in a statement posted on the county's website. "This will give us time to make sure that, within the limits of our legal authority, we are able to mitigate local impacts from these activities and to maximize protection for the people and environment of Boulder County," the statement continued.

The commissioners set a public hearing for March 1 to take public testimony "on the local impacts associated with oil and gas development, and on the appropriateness of continuing or amending the temporary moratorium," the statement said.

Boulder is home to more than 300 active oil and gas wells, according to state records.

"Colorado needs to have a conversation about local control, and whether drilling in residential neighborhoods is appropriate," said Mike Chiropolos, chief counsel for the lands program at Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, an environmental advocacy group, in a statement.

Colorado oil, gas commission director David Neslin to resign


David Neslin will focus on public lands as a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, where he will be part of a team serving energy industry clients.

Thom Kerr, who manages permitting and technical services for the commission, will be acting director until a permanent director is named.

Drilling advances prompt escalating fight in Colo.


Local governments concerned with what they see as encroachment in the forms of horizontal drilling and fracking have responded by imposing new regulations on drilling rigs.

The industry cried foul, prompting Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, to warn Arapahoe and El Paso counties along Colorado's densely-populated Front Range to back off.

Suthers, writing on behalf of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees state rules, told Arapahoe County that "responsible government requires uniform regulation" -- in other words, that the state had jurisdiction and local officials couldn't go their own way.

Democratic Rep. Matt Jones of Louisville is one of them. Jones said drilling has been proposed within 350 feet of schools in his district and that existing regulations need an update because of new technology.

Another Democrat, Aurora Rep. Su Ryden, has proposed a bill increasing the statewide drilling setback from 350 feet to 1,000 feet.

One powerful lobby at the state Capitol, the group Colorado Counties Inc., is watching closely. "Whenever the state starts talking about pre-empting local control, it always gets us concerned," said CCI's legislative coordinator, Andy Karsian. He predicted "strong push-back" if McNulty or other lawmakers introduce a bill to strengthen state authority over drilling rules. "We have specific authority ... to regulate the land within our jurisdictions," Karsian said.

Clean Air Settlement to Strengthen Fracking Safeguards in Colorado

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has agreed to prohibit drilling on several oil and gas leases and commit to addressing the clean air impacts of drilling and fracking throughout eastern Colorado, including the Front Range, in a settlement of a lawsuit filed by WildEarth Guardians.

"This is a great news for clean air along the Front Range and beyond, which is increasingly at risk because of ramped up drilling and fracking," said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians Climate and Energy Program Director. "The BLM has basically agreed to look before it leaps, which is a common sense approach to keeping people in Colorado safe from air pollution."

Oil and gas activist groups buoyed by Gunnison County District Court ruling

January 18, 2012

Grassroots citizen-activist groups seeking more local control of oil and gas drilling are touting a Gunnison County District Court decision earlier this month finding "there is no express or implied preemption" of local regulations by the state of Colorado.


Onshore oil, gas lease revenue up, yet below 2008

January 14, 2012

Revenue in the Rocky Mountain region, however, remains far below levels four years ago. New acreage leased each year also is down significantly.

"We have worked hard to increase certainty for industry by reducing the conflict, litigation and protests that tied our nation's oil and gas leasing program in knots for many years," BLM spokeswoman Celia Boddington said by email Thursday.

The new Interior policy rolled out two years ago aims to give environmental groups less reason to file protests against oil and gas leases. That meant increasing clarity, consistency and public engagement in the leasing process, according to the department.

The policy also brought about a bump in revenue from BLM oil and gas lease sales last year -- money that is split about evenly between the federal government and the states where leasing occurs, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a news release Tuesday.

"This is an example of the power of a common-sense approach to growing America's energy economy on public lands," Salazar said. "The Obama Administration is moving ahead with a comprehensive energy plan for the country that is enhancing our energy security, creating jobs, and improving protections for our land, water and wildlife."

In Colorado, [BLM] oil and gas lease sales brought in $128 million in 2008. In 2009, the amount was $1.2 million; lease sales brought in $4.7 million last year. Federal land leased for oil and gas drilling in Colorado fell from 120,000 acres in 2008 to 21,000 acres in 2010 before climbing to 35,000 acres last year.

Fracking fury reaches fever pitch in Erie


Residents band together to challenge planned drilling, fracking operation near schools

Even though it's difficult to prove, Beach is convinced that the emissions from the drill site and the chemical mix used in hydraulic fracturing -- the practice of pumping fluid underground at high pressure to crack rock and release oil and natural gas -- are at the root of her family's illness.

Wendy Leonard, a relatively new arrival to Erie who lives across town from Beach, said her family hasn't felt well for months. Leonard said she's learned from her research that exposure to the chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can result in the symptoms her family has had, including gastrointestinal distress and asthma. She said she knows of five families on a single street near her that also have health problems.

So when Leonard, Beach and others heard that Canadian oil and gas company Encana Corp. had plans to drill eight natural gas wells on a site between Red Hawk Elementary School and Erie Elementary School, they revved up a quick get-out-the-word campaign. An anti-fracking blog and Facebook page, dubbed Erie Rising, popped up online in December. And a group of concerned residents will descend on Town Hall on Tuesday to demand that the Board of Trustees do something about the proposed project near the schools.

Oil-and-gas regulators in Colorado hiring community liaisons

Facing a wave of city and county rules and moratoriums on oil-and-gas development, state regulators are trying to create better communication with local government and defuse some local initiatives.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is creating two positions for local-government liaisons, said commission director Dave Neslin. The industry trade group -- the Colorado Oil and Gas Association -- is also adding a community liaison.

It is [moratoriums] that the state oil- and-gas commission is looking to head off, Neslin said.

"There are comprehensive state rules for oil-and-gas development, and we have to be able to communicate that to local government," Neslin said.

This is not a drill: Oil, gas wells coming to Aurora

September 14, 2011

Hoping to tap the Niobrara formation -- a fertile oil and natural gas field under much of the eastern plains -- a Texas-based oil company applied last month to drill up to 36 wells in a 30-square-mile patch of land near Auror a' s eastern edge.

Tom Kerr, permit manager for the at Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, said there are wells very close to the city of Brighton as well as some wells within the city limits of Thornton, Longmont and Laffayette.

" There is actually quite a bit of drilling in the urban environments," he said.

Typically, the drilling occurs in neighborhoods of ranchettes, where homes sit on larger lots than in a subdivision. If it occurs near homes, the Arapahoe County drilling will likely occur in that type of area, he said.

But, he said, it all depends on whether drillers find oil and gas when they poke their first few test holes in Arapahoe County. " If the tests prove productive there will be more, " he said.

State Lawmakers Wants Bill to Inform Homeowners of Mineral Rights

December 8th, 2011

Out of the blue, property owners in rural Colorado sometimes get a knock on the door or a letter informing them that someone else owns the minerals in the ground below their land and plans to exploit them. Republican Rep. Marsha Looper of Calhan in rural El Paso County wants to end such scenarios. She is introducing a bill requiring home sellers to tell prospective buyers who owns those mineral rights.

Hickenlooper: Colorado's frack fluid disclosure rule will be a model for the nation


Colorado today adopted the nation's toughest rule requiring oil and gas drillers to disclose all the chemicals used in the fracking fluids they pump down wells.

The compromise on the chemical concentrations was that the chemicals and concentrations would be listed separately from the descriptions of the products in the frack fluid. This would make it difficult to know which chemicals go in which products.

Environmental groups had opposed allowing the industry to declare any chemical a trade secret that would not have to be disclosed. Under the compromise, companies would have to file a form with the oil and gas commission explaining why it is a trade secret. Even with that, the chemical family of the proprietary chemical must be listed, according to the new rule. The disclosure forms will have to be filed within 60 days of completing a frack job with, an independent Internet database available to the public.

Colorado approves disclosure of fracking chemicals

The guidelines are similar to those required by a first-in-the-nation law passed in Texas this year but go further by requiring the concentrations of chemicals to be disclosed. Also, if Colorado drillers claim a trade secret, they would still have to disclose the ingredient's chemical family. In emergencies, companies would have to tell health care workers what those secret ingredients were.

Gov. John Hickenlooper called for Colorado to draft a disclosure rule and the commission proposed having companies list nonproprietary ingredients and concentrations on, a national website created by two intergovernmental agencies. The rule was proposed to take effect Feb. 1, but commission staff recommended delaying that until April 1 to give drillers more time to comply.

Niobrara News -- Information for the Common Joe

White River Drilling Forecast: 10 Times The Number Of Wells By 2030


A planning document projects potentially more than 10 times the current number of oil and gas wells on the White River National Forest over the next 15 to 20 years.

The Bureau of Land Management document predicts possibly 903 to 1,004 wells being drilled in the forest, compared to 82 existing wells.

Louisville's Rep. Jones seeks more local control over oil and gas drilling


State Rep. Matt Jones said Wednesday that he'll be proposing a state law that would give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling, including the practice of hydraulic fracturing. The Louisville Democrat said he would introduce the measure during the Colorado Legislature's 2012 session, which starts in mid-January. "It just seems that local governments don't have a lot of authority" to regulate oil and gas operations now, Jones said.

South Park, metro-area residents seek curb on sales of gas exploration rights


Plans to drill up to 300 wells in South Park and install a gas pipeline depend on whether enough gas is found, El Paso Corp. spokesman Richard Wheatley said.

Among the South Park Coalition leaders is newly retired U.S. Environmental Protection Agency engineer Wes Wilson, a Denver resident who says federal regulators don't know enough about fracking to gauge impact.

"And, of course, the country needs energy independence. But why do it now, when there are so many issues with the drilling in Wyoming, Weld County, Garfield County?" Government regulators "should pause," she said. "We should learn from what has happened to our neighbors."

Front Range oil bonanza could mean billions in revenues for Colorado


Colorado's Front Range is sitting on top of as much as a billion barrels of oil, which could inject $4 billion a year in revenues into Colorado's economy, according to one estimate.

The Anadarko estimate is just for the 100-square-mile Wattenberg Field, which includes Weld County and small parts of Adams, Broomfield, Boulder and Larimer counties. Anadarko is also doing exploratory drilling in Arapahoe County, and Chesapeake Energy has filed plans to drill in Elbert and Douglas counties. Ultra Petroleum is set to drill exploration wells in El Paso County.

"Anadarko's announcement today shows once again that Colorado is a leader in the energy sector of our country's economy," Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement Monday. "We are thrilled to see the company plan a significant investment in Colorado."


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