Category Archives: Natural Gas

Boulder County Imposes 6-Month Moratorium on Fracking

“Boulder County commissioners  imposed a temporary moratorium on accepting and processing new applications for oil and gas drilling operations in any unincorporated areas of the county.  A March 1 public hearing on oil and gas drilling, particularly on the potential impacts of horizontal drilling and of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the process of injecting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into rock formations in order to free up hard-to-reach oil and natural gas deposits — is tentatively set.

The six-month moratorium, which went immediately into effect and is to remain in place until Aug. 2, is intended to give the county staff time to study the adequacy of Boulder County’s current land use regulations as they apply to oil and gas development, and to propose possible amendments to those existing local rules.

Assistant county attorney Ben Doyle told the commissioners that while Boulder County’s current comprehensive plan and Land Use Code do address oil and gas exploration, the county’s regulations “are ripe for review” and “may not be adequate to address the impacts” of drilling as it’s now practiced.

According to the resolution the commissioners adopted Thursday, “oil and gas operations have the potential for significant and immediate impacts on the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Boulder County.”

Among those possible impacts, the resolution says, are: “increased noise, odor, dust, traffic, noxious weeds and other disturbance, as well as the potential to significantly impact the county’s air, water, soil, biological quality, geology, topography, plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat, wetlands, floodplains, water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, drainage and erosion control, parks and open space lands, transportation infrastructure, emergency response plans, and other aesthetic values and community resources.”

For entire article, click here

Fracking in CO: Full Disclosure of Chemical Contents Required, Extraction Procedures Unchanged

It required intense negotiations between oil and gas companies and environmentalists, but  Colorado now has the most comprehensive  fracking-fluid disclosure rule in the country; this new rule requires drillers to disclose all the chemicals in hydraulic fracturing and their concentrations.

According to Grist, “The disclosure of [the chemicals in fracking] gets at two very serious concerns posed by fracking: 1) when fracking pollution occurs in groundwater, in streams, or on land, the public should be able to connect that pollution back to the fracking chemicals that caused it, and 2) it will allow landowners to test their wells and groundwater prior to fracking, and then re-test after fracking to check for fracking pollution.”

“Importantly, the new rules substantively removed the “trade secret loophole” that was proposed in the original version of the rules that would have allowed frackers to not disclose the names of the chemicals in fracking fluids by saying those chemicals were “trade secrets.”

And although drillers in Colorado will have to disclose the chemical components in fracking concentrations, “these new rules do nothing to stop or slow down fracking, do nothing to address the fracking pollution that’s already occurred, and do nothing to directly protect water, land, wildlife, or people from oil and gas pollution and fracking. These rules simply allow the chemicals to be named and tested for after the poisoning and pollution may have occurred.”

To read more about Colorado’s recently passed fracking disclosure law, visit the Denver Post article here.

To read more about the pro’s and con’s of Colorado’s fracking rule, as posted by Grist, click here.