A longtime critic of the oil and gas industry had some surprising comments for Colorado’s business community at a luncheon last week.
Colorado is “in a great place as a state” when it comes to the energy sector, according to Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who offered his outlook on the state’s energy market and competitiveness at a recent event sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI).
Polis’s universal optimism came as a surprise to some of those in attendance familiar with his record of trying to stop oil and gas development.
Despite industry claims to the contrary, history shows that there is simply no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception.
The rate and volume of pipeline spills in the U.S. has increased in recent years, with devastating consequences for communities and our environment. In the past decade, U.S. pipeline spills have led to 20 fatalities, 35 injuries, $2.6 billion in costs and more than 34 million gallons spilled. That’s an average of 9,000 gallons of hazardous liquids spilled every single day for ten years.
And yet Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda means we could be facing a massive expansion of the U.S. pipeline network, including increased development in the Canadian tar sands. If that happens, it would be disastrous for the climate and violate the rights of tribes and First Nations on both sides of the border.
An environmental bill of rights in Carbondale would advocate items including clean air, clean water, protected “viewscapes,” increased recycling, automobile alternatives and “unimpeded views of the quintessential Western night sky.”
It wouldn’t have the force of law, but the whole Carbondale Board of Trustees supports the idea as a “guiding document.”
Trustees have described it as a “filter” that the board would use in its decision making, but nothing as forceful as an ordinance. As Trustee Heather Henry put it, the environmental bill of rights is seen as an “overarching document, not a policy document.” This will be a bill of rights to hang on the boardroom wall and distribute through town.
Keystone XL owner TransCanada told investors Friday that the company was still assessing demand for the project with oil companies, increasing speculation that the controversial pipeline may not see the light of day.
A battle over oil and gas drilling in residential areas was fought in the Colorado legislature this spring, with Democrats and environmental groups seeking to impose rules that would push fracking activity further away from schools and public facilities. This effort, which was punctuated by an April gas well explosion that killed two men in Firestone, was opposed by the state’s influential oil lobby and allied Republican legislators.
Given recent concerns about underground natural gas storage wells (UGS), FracTracker mapped UGS wells and fields in Colorado, as well as midstream transmission pipelines of natural gas that transport the gas from well sites to facilities for processing. Results show that 6,673 Colorado residents in 2,607 households live within a 2.5 mile evacuation radius of a UGS well. Additionally, the UGS fields with the largest number of “single-point-of-failure” high-risk storage wells are also the two fields in Colorado nearest communities.
ByLisa Gardiner (UCAR Center for Science Education) June 16, 2017
Oil and water don’t mix, they say, but when it comes to drilling an oil and gas well, water is a big part of the process.
Each day, 2.4 billion gallons of wastewater pour out of U.S. oil and gas wells according to 2009 estimates from Argonne National Lab. This includes water pumped down for fracking and water that flows up to the surface from deep aquifers. Both contain dissolved minerals and chemicals including many that are harmful, and both can have impacts on drinking water resources if not handled with care, according to a 2015 report from the EPA.