plainsPeak1a

Home

Fracking basics
what is fracking?
spread of fracking in Colorado
history of fracking
documentaries & videos

What goes wrong

overview

faulty cementing
spills
leaks
releases of gas
methane in water
fractures reaching aquifers
unknown causes

How fracking is harmful
air quality
Ultra Resources violations
water quality
lack of water in Colorado
food supply & livestock
health effects
explosions & fires
wildlife

property values
quality of life

tourism & local economy
toxic waste
increased crime rates
earthquakes

What can be done?
proposed laws
Coloradans need an advocate
bans
rewriting regulations
overcoming preemption
how to comment on a permit
less-toxic fracking
studies
other energy sources

Take action now
meeting schedule
petitions
sample letters
addresses for letters

politicians' comments

Colorado Springs
& El Paso County
organizations & websites
news
maps
history of drilling in El Paso County

Colorado
organizations & websites
news
maps

National
organizations & websites

About us
our mission
sign up for the latest news

ULTRA RESOURCES' VIOLATIONS

Ultra Resources, one of the oil and gas compan ies wh o's been granted drilling permits in El Paso County, Colorado, also operates in Wyoming and Pennsylvania. Following are some of their violations.

5300 gallons of flowback fluid released by Ultra into watershed in Tioga County, Pennsylvania

O n March 15, 2011, a valve of a frack tank owned by Ultra was left open and 5,300 gallons of flowback fluid were released into an exceptionally-valued watershed in Tioga County. It's reported that Ultra waited two hours before contacting the Department of Environmental Protection.

Last March, the New York Times reported that Ultra had sent more than 155,000 gallons of drilling wastewater to nine towns for dust suppression in 2009. "The water came from two gas wells in Tioga County and contained radium at almost 700 times the levels allowed in drinking water," the Times reported. Radium is a cancer-causing element found in underground uranium deposits, and which decays into radon gas.

47 violations in 2010, 52 violations in 2011

In Pennsylvania in 2010, Ultra Resources had 33 wells and 47 violations, or 1.42 violations per well. Ultra Resources had 2.2 violations per well in Pennsylvania from 1/1/08 to 6/2/10. Many operators (both big and small ) are able to keep their violations to less than one per every two wells.

From January through September 2011 Ultra had 52 violations in Pennsylvania .

Some of the violations were for:
- Discharge of pollutional material to waters of Commonwealth
- Failure to report defective, insufficient, or improperly cemented casing w/in 24 hrs or submit plan to correct w/in 30 days
- Failure to construct properly plug, frac, brine pits
- Improperly lined pit
- Improper encapsulation of waste
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion

Ultra fined $200,000 for venting VOCs in Wyoming

In a consent decree filed May 5 , 2009, Ultra must pay a $200,000 fine and complete two Supplemental Environmental Projects for eight separate notices of violation for venting volatile organic compounds (VOC) during natural gas production in 2007 and 2008 in Sublette County.

One week after Ultra’s vice president of operations signed the consent decree, Ultra received another notice of violation for venting VOCs.

VOC are the vapors that emanate from petroleum products . When exposed to the sun, they transform into the hazardous air pollutant ozone. At ground-level, a high ozone concentration can cause nose, throat and eye irritation, and shortness of breath. It can be extremely dangerous -- even deadly -- to the elderly, children and those with respiratory problems.

“The companies continue to disregard the community’s concerns and the DEQ’s concerns,” said Linda Baker, Upper Green River Valley Coalition Coordinato r. “Children are paying the ultimate price with their long-term health because of these companies’ disregard for air quality.”

Ultra, Shell, QEP and Encana to pay up to $72 million to mitigate high ozone levels in Wyoming, yet drilling continues

Ultra Petroleum, Shell and QEP Resources paid a total $13 million to an air quality monitoring and mitigation fund in Pinedale, WY and are committed to eventually paying up to $36 million. EnCana has committed to contributing an additional $36 million.

O perators say a 2008 decision that acknowledged unforeseen environmental effects and mitigat ion allows them to resolve the spiking ozone problem without shutting down operations.

M any area residents did n' t bargain for the level of air quality degradation or the major decline in mule deer. At a public meeting in Pinedale, residents spent about two hours airing their frustration and imploring state and industry officials to take serious action.

In July 2011, suit filed against Ultra Resources for emitting large amounts of nitrogen oxides

Ultra’s Pennsylvania shale gas operations span a 558-square-mile area in Tioga and Potter counties.

PennFuture alleges that Ultra's network of natural gas wells, pipelines and compressor stations should be treated as a single source of air contaminants under state and federal law and that Ultra should obtain a permit under Pennsylvania’s New Source Review (NSR) program.

Ultra is emitting large amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air, creating serious health risks for anyone living downwind. In addition to being a main precursor for ground-level ozone, NOx is harmful to human health in its own right.

If found to be a single source of emissions, Ultra will have to obtain an NSR permit to continue operating, which could take up to 18 months. They will also have to achieve the lowest achievable emissions rate and offset nitrogen oxides emissions with emissions reductions credits.

The PennFuture case could have significant consequences for all shale gas operators in Pennsylvania.

Erosion and sedimentation permits revoked

In October 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection evoked three erosion and sedimentation control general permits issued to Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. due to inaccurate calculations, failure to provide best management practices where required and lack of proper technical detail.

P ermit revocations mean that Ultra Resources and Fortuna Energy must immediately halt all earth disturbance activities at the sites.

REFERENCES:

Frac record, August 24, 2011
http://lockhaven.com/page/content.detail/id/533549/Frac-record.html?nav=5006

Frack-happy Ultra Petroleum is the city's largest private landowner. What kind of neighbor might it be? http://www.csindy.com/colorado/close-up/Content?oid=2422410

Violations per Well by Operator: Bad Actors, Pennsylvania, December 12, 2011
http://www.fractracker.org/?p=1188

Ultra Resources Inc Violations
http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/drilling/operators/ultra-resources-inc/

Ultra Resources 2.2 violations per well in Pennsylvania from 1/1/08 to 6/2/10 Violations_Report.pdf

Despite Ozone Spikes, More Drilling Proposed in Wyoming Community
http://www.stanford.edu/group/ruralwest/cgi-bin/drupal/content/despite-ozone-spikes-more-drilling-proposed-wyoming-community

Wyoming's smog exceeds Los Angeles' due to gas drilling
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/03/wyomings-smog-exceeds-los-angeles-due-to-gas-drilling/1

PennFuture files federal lawsuit against Marcellus Shale driller Ultra Resources, Inc. for violations of federal and state air pollution laws
http://dothemountain.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/pennfuture-files-federal-
lawsuit-against-marcellus-shale-driller-ultra-resources-inc-for-violations
-of-federal-and-state-air-pollution-laws/

Air And Water Woes In The Marcellus Shale - The PennFuture Case against Ultra Resources
9-11Law360StromanBellSalek.pdf

DEP Revokes Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permits for Two Gas Companies
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=2409&typeid=1