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January 25, 2009 12:18 AM UTC

Dissembling for Drillers?

  • 6 Comments
  • by: ClubTwitty

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Continuing his assault on truth Colorado’s new drilling rules, Sen. Greg Brophy apparently is not one to let facts get in the way of carrying the water drilling mud for his clients the oil and gas industry.

In his recent opinion piece in the Denver Post, Brophy writes that:

But these new restrictions go too far, imposing wholesale moratoriums on energy development across vast, energy-rich landscapes. In one case, the purpose of the moratorium is to protect black-footed ferrets, which were released here in the first place by the government.

This is, to put it kindly, wrong.

Follow me kind readers as we deconstruct the Senator’s ‘arguments.’

The so-called ‘moritorium’ on development in critical wildlife habitat was removed at the behest of industry last summer.

“There is no timing moratorium, period,” said COGCC member Richard Alward. “That rule was completely modified at the behest of the industry. “There’s a lot of misinformation and fear about what the rules imply in terms of jobs and costs.”

When energy prices were high, Colorado Republicans were up in arms, demanding that the state remove as many impediments to drilling as it could. Now that they are low, Colorado Republicans are demanding that the state remove as many impediments to drilling as it can.  The question then for Sen. Brophy and his ilk is when is it appropriate to protect our state’s wildlife, water and public health?

And impacts are occuring, which is why these regulations are so necessary.

For example to Colorado’s prize-winning wildlife

Now Ellenberger wonders if Colorado can keep those bragging rights. During a recent tour of the basin, 18-wheelers barreled down a county road as companies drill holes and lay pipes for natural gas in what has become one of the nation’s energy hot spots.

“You definitely get this feeling of being in the middle of an industrial zone,” Ellenberger said.

Throughout the Rockies – the Pinedale Anticline of northwestern Wyoming, the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana – the energy boom is changing a once-pristine landscape. It’s generating lawsuits, regulatory fights and heated public relations battles between those championing America’s untapped energy potential and those worried about populations of deer, elk, pronghorns and sage grouse.

“I think we’re watching the end of the West,” said Steve Torbit, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation. “We’ll have post-stamp areas like Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone and Zion National Park. The rest is going to be industrial-scale productions.”

And to Colorado’s life-giving water.  Our creeks have been threatened by numerous spills and sediment dumps, and drinking water wells have been contaminated with fraccing and other fluids from oil and gas operations.

Then there was the incident in Durango, where a nurse treating an oil-field worker was sent to the ICU and the company refused to disclose what chemicals were involved.

The issue flared up last summer when a Durango nurse became sick after treating a gas field worker for chemical exposure. The worker’s company provided a Materials Safety Data Sheet, but it did not provide a full list of what was in the fluid because it is a trade secret.

The new regulations would address each of these issues–requiring consultation between the Colorado Division of Wildlife (but no ‘moratorium’) when drilling in critical habitat; requiring disclosure of potentially toxic chemicals being used in our communities; and requiring set-backs from drinking water sources.

The fact is that production has been ramping up so much in Colorado over the past decade, far quicker than transportation capacity, that when prices for a thousand cubic feet plunged (by 60%) since November, a glut in natural gas on the market caused drillers to scale down their operations.

As one one driller, in its investor reports noted:

Oil and gas production was 11 percent lower compared to third quarter 2007. In response to declining prices in September 2008, the company elected to shut-in two million cubic feet per day of Piceance Basin gas production, which was restored in early October as market conditions improved.

Another, also in an investor report:

Recent Rocky Mountain gas pricing has been challenging, and we expect these conditions to continue at least through the next drilling season. There are a number of new pipelines planned for the Rockies over the next few years, which would allow for greater take away capacity and less pressure on prices.”

And another:

“Our revenues are going to be down 50 percent from what it was in the summertime when both oil and natural gas were at their peaks,” Wurtzbacher said.

Sen. Brophy is wrong. He is wrong about what is causing the current slow-down. He is wrong about what the regulations would require.

He has been corrected on his lie dissembling about the ‘moratorium’ but he keeps repeating it. From my perspective this is shameful politics and yet another reason why the GOP brand is ‘in the trash can.’

Comments

6 thoughts on “Dissembling for Drillers?

  1. On the issue of GOP cluelessness–which seems to be a theme in diaries today–the

    Windsor Beacon has an interesting article today on an address by Ex-Sen. Allard to the local Rotarians.

    One of the issues they saw differently was pushing renewable energy at the cost of the fossil fuel industry. Allard pointed out, for instance, that Salazar wanted to get oil companies to bid on contracts to drill for oil shale on the Roan Plateau and then set up the rules and regulations they would work under.

    Readers here are undoubtedly familiar with the derisive nicknames that have stuck to Allard like dull dust on a potted plant.

    And this, sadly, confirms how well he was briefed by his staff and engaged in the issues of the state.

    1) Different resources–oil shale is not natural gas, natural gas is not oil shale

    Salazar’s efforts to get phased leasing on the Roan was for natural gas.

    The efforts for commercial oil shale were for, well, oil shale.

    2) The oil and gas leasing process (‘fluid minerals’) is already established, the regulations already exist, and the Roan is now leased.

    The issue around oil shale was whether the feds should fast-track regulations for commercial oil shale leasing before any of the RD&D (Research, Development and DEMONSTRATION)leases it has already let have actually DEMONSTRATED a thing–so far they haven’t.

    Folks might not know much about Sen. Bennet but here’s betting he’ll at least pay attention and not merely occupy an office like a decorative fern.  

    1. Be honest.

      Both guys are pretty smart and worked pretty hard on the energy and environmental issues. If you don’t like some of Allard’s pandering, you like some of Salazar’s and vis versa.

      Both guys were big promoters of the ethanol scam, and Salazar will continue to support it.

      To me, the issue is, how do you get the most energy out of the state without harming our water. I really don’t think oil exploration and development would do enough harm to wildlife and the environment to deprive the region and nation of badly needed oil and natural gas.

      I don’t trust Mark Udall and Bennet on this. Their wives are deep into the Sierra Club, and both senators have tremendous conflicts of interest that make it impossible for them to do what’s right for the country on this issue.

      1. to do with the Roan Plateau issue.

        Nothing.

        Nada.

        Zilch.

        Two separate processes, two separate resources

        Unrelated.

        I believe Susan Daggett worked for EarthJustice…

        1. was once known as the Naval Oil Shale Reserve 1 & 3…

          However, the target now for oil shale development is in the lower lying lands of the Piceance Basin.  The oil shale issue that Allard refers to was whether to promulgate regulations for commercial oil shale leasing.

          The issue on Roan Plateau–where the resource target is natural gas–involved the BLM land use plan for that area, and crafting a plan under the BLM’s existing–well-established and already embodied in many laws and regulations–fluid mineral leasing program.

          It was not about ‘drilling for oil shale’ on the Roan Plateau, nor about leasing those lands for oil shale before rules were promulgated for oil shale.  It was about how to lease those lands for natural gas (Salazar supported phased leasing for natural gas on Roan).

          They are separate resources and entirely different rules/regulations (one set already exists, one set doesn’t).  They were entirely different processes–both legislatively and administratively.

          Not sure ethanol came into the mix…

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