In The News....
Note: I always try to provide
links where I can, but it doesn't always work out. If you submit a story,
please try to include the link so folks can easily check it out.
Report Finds Barnett Shale
Emissions Contributing to DFW Smog:
cost-effective controls could improve Metroplex air quality
http://www.edf.org/pressrelease.cfm?contentID=9237 (Press Release
My thanks to 'Recon Don' for this
report, from the Environmental Defense Fund
From the Press Release:
"(Austin – Feb. 10, 2009) – The
first comprehensive analysis of air emissions associated with natural gas
and oil production in the Barnett Shale area finds that emissions can be a
significant contributor to Dallas/Fort Worth smog formation, comparable to
the combined emissions from all Metroplex cars and trucks.
In addition to
emissions of smog-forming compounds, such as nitrogen oxides and volatile
organic compounds (VOC), the report also considers air toxic chemicals and
greenhouse gases. Emissions of carbon dioxide and two other major
greenhouse gases underlying climate change were estimated to be roughly
equivalent to the impact from two 750 MW coal-fired power plants."
This article discusses efforts by
two big-time oil and gas industry advocates (Penry and Meis) to conduct a
public forum on energy development in Mesa County.
To their credit, this is a pretty
neat way to get folks engaged, it's just kind of a bummer that the big slant
was toward industry and a bit of a pulpit for propaganda. This is the kind
of thing a lot of activist organizations will do to rally support for
legislation, etc., and it's pretty crafty for Commissioners to bring this
tactic into the public's political forum.
Sadly, the message continues to
be that new common sense oil ad gas rules (toothless as they are) are
curtailing intense oil and gas development. These two continue to parrot
this sad spin even though industry itself has begun to finally admit that it
is due to the global economic slowdown... tied to a glut of supply, thanks
to their unbalanced extraction practices, and even tied to steel worker
layoffs and the inability to manufacture pipelines that is leveling out their
slowdown talk of town in Mesa County phone-in meeting
Saturday, February 21, 2009 / Grand Junction Sentinel
Excerpts from the article follow:
"More than 1,000 Mesa County residents participated
Saturday in a telephone town-hall meeting that focused on the slump in
natural gas drilling on the Western Slope.
The hour-long meeting also featured state Sen. Josh
Penry, R-Grand Junction, taking verbal jabs at Gov. Bill Ritter over
Ritter’s support of regulatory changes that would tighten drilling rules in
was hosted by Mesa County commissioners Janet Rowland and Craig Meis.
Organizers reached out to 30,000 people who were telephoned at home in the
morning and given the opportunity to ask questions funneled through two
screeners. People also were asked to participate in a series of polls about
the energy industry."
will provide written responses to the questions that weren’t answered on the
phone and post them at www.mesacounty.us.
She also said an audio file of the meeting will be posted on the Web site
The arrogant and ridiculous
assumptions that levels of exposure are safe for small animals (which may
now be dead) punctuates the threats that face both people and animals in an
open and contaminated environment. It's also pretty telling that the state
doesn't want to sample. We found dead birds, crawdads, and a rabbit last
summer in the area of the 2008 seep - none of which have been necropsied.
The paralyzed frg swimming in bubbles coming up in the creek? The COGCC
couldn't even be bothered to look at it. Luckily I was able to rehabilitate
and release it (but not before filming what it went through to recover).
Source of sickening spring seep still unknown
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 /
Grand Junction Sentinel
from the article follow:
"Despite intensive efforts, investigators have yet
to find the exact source of oil and gas operations that contaminated a
spring northwest of Parachute, causing a man to become ill last May."
"Prather suffered irritation to his throat,
esophagus and stomach when he visited his cabin and drank water tainted with
cancer-causing benzene May 30.
Oil and gas regulators issued notices of alleged
violation against Williams Production RMT, Marathon Oil Co., Petroleum
Development Corp. and Nonsuch Natural Gas, based on the proximity of their
wells to the cabin. Testing of water-monitoring wells in the area has yet to
prove that any of the companies is responsible for the contamination.
Tests results also showed benzene in a second
spring in the area. That led to OXY USA WTP LP being cited as a suspected
source of the second spring’s contamination.
The two springs continue to be contaminated. Tests
have at least led state officials to conclude the cabin spring water is
tainted by oil and gas condensates. The second spring is contaminated by
production water associated with drilling."
"The state found a dead elk calf in the area
examined, but it turned out to have died of natural causes. Prather has
found other dead animals such as chipmunks that he thinks may have consumed
the spring water. The state has declined to have them tested because the
water’s contamination levels aren’t considered sufficient to be toxic to
to amass as we continue to await
responsible action on the part of the COGCC and EnCana.
Oh, and at the
bottom of this article, the COGCC and EnCana dispute my assertion that thermogenic
methane was found in the ground water. There have been 5
occurrences, two of which EnCana has negated, three of which they have
ignored. Of the two negated: one of those revealed both ethane and propane
together with methane in the water. Biogenic? Not so much.
Oil, gas panel to revisit concerns about seep in water south
Monday, February 23, 2009 /
Grand Junction Sentinel
"Concerns about renewed development in the area of
a 2004 natural gas seep south of Silt probably will be aired before the
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this spring.
Acting Director Dave Neslin said he anticipates an
update with the commission on drilling in the West Divide Creek area. One
purpose would be to give residents a chance to voice any concerns.
However, Neslin reiterated his belief that renewed
drilling in the area would be safe."
After natural gas from an EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) well bubbled to the surface
of West Divide Creek in 2004, the commission fined the company $371,200 and
imposed a moratorium on drilling in the area, where underground geological
faulting has contributed to drilling problems.
The commission lifted the moratorium after putting new drilling rules in
place for better water protection.
"But area resident Lisa Bracken wants the
moratorium imposed again in at least part of the area, and she contends the
rules need to be re-examined.
Bracken and at least one neighbor, Jim Eubanks, are
worried about an incident in January, when groundwater flowed from a well
EnCana was drilling.
EnCana and the state say the leak originated about
1,000 feet down, well below the deepest water wells in the vicinity. It was
stopped before drilling had reached the well’s gas- producing zones.
EnCana also experienced a “kick” of high gas
pressure with that well and late last year with another well in the area,
state officials said. But they say both situations were controlled and posed
no threat to residents or water.
The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission also
reports EnCana experienced a recent problem installing surface casing for
another well. Surface casing is intended to protect shallow water aquifers.
In the case of that well and the one that leaked water, the agency granted
EnCana variances from standard requirements. EnCana said the alternative
measures were adequate.
Bracken contends gas from drilling is leaking to
the surface at her property. Commission staff say numerous tests show any
surface methane is biological in origin.
The agency and EnCana dispute Bracken’s contention
that recent tests by an EnCana consultant showed that gas from drilling has
been found in groundwater monitoring wells. Commission staff say the
confusion resulted from a consultant error that later was corrected, but
Bracken believes that’s not the case for all the tests.
Bracken notes that differences of opinion exist
about how to interpret data. Late last year, Geoffrey Thyne, a geological
consultant for Garfield County, said increasing drilling south of Silt and
Rifle is resulting in more gas showing up in domestic water wells,
particularly in the Divide Creek area.
He said some gas that state officials are blaming
on biological sources is in fact coming from drilling.
Neslin said his staff will look at Thyne’s report
and that commissioner Richard Alward, a professional ecologist, will speak
Interior puts brakes on oil-shale leases -- for now
Excerpts from the article follow:
"Making good on a promise he made a week before
President Barack Obama took office, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on
Wednesday tossed out a Bush administration move to speed oil-shale
development on public land in Utah and Colorado.
During a teleconference, Salazar called the Bush
rule one of many flawed last-minute policies "that don't pass the smell
Earlier this month, the new Interior boss shelved
leases for oil and gas drilling near national parks in Utah.
Wednesday's announcement means any additional
research-and-development leases the U.S. Bureau of Management may have
offered after mid-January won't go forward.
Under the Bush regulation, the leases would have
allowed substantially more acreage and set royalties at 5 percent, a
figure Salazar said would sell taxpayers short."
"Salazar denied his move ignores the desire for
energy independence. Citing the new Economic Recovery Act, he said the
Obama administration would pursue energy efficiency, nurturing of
renewables and investment for new development technologies.
"We recognize that development has to be part of
what we need to move forward," he said. However, "those that have
fantasized that oil shale is the answer to America's oil needs are living
in a fantasy world."
Just when you
thought the industry couldn't get any more monied or powerful.... silly
NATURAL GAS: Producers launch new lobbying
Wall Street Journal /
February 25, 2009
Excerpts from the article
“Worried by the combination of booming supplies and falling demand, natural
gas companies in the United States are joining forces to get their voice
heard louder in Washington and by the public.
Companies such as Newfield Exploration Co., Devon Energy Corp. and
Chesapeake Energy Corp. today will announce the formation of the American
Natural Gas Alliance, which will push for more natural gas use in power
generation, transportation and other fields.”
new lobbying group's leaders argue the boom in domestic gas production
offers an opportunity to revamp the nation's energy policy, noting that gas
burns more cleanly than coal, is produced domestically and relies on
existing technology and infrastructure.
EnCana: Corporate citizen and all around nature lover!
Pardon me while I wipe away the tears and sit myself
onto my chair from laughing my ass off. Ahhh, the mirth....
You have to appreciate their wicked sense of humor, though.
EnCana donation funds school
service-learning, aquatic habitat restoration, game warden training
By Texas Parks and Wildlife Department / Feb 27, 2009
the article follow:
"AUSTIN, Texas – A $486,000 donation by
natural gas producer EnCana Corporation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Foundation will fund a new grant program to get high school students out
into natural settings for service-oriented learning projects, control of
giant salvinia and other invasive plants choking Toledo Bend reservoir in
East Texas, and much-needed facilities for the new Texas Game Warden
“We’re proud and pleased to be able to support these important education,
conservation and training efforts, as they’re right in line with our
company philosophy,” said Paul Sander, EnCana vice president, at a recent
TPW Commission meeting.
is one of North America’s largest independent natural gas producers. The
company has a long history of supporting conservation and education causes.
For the past two years EnCana has been on both the Dow Jones Sustainability
World Index and the North American Index. Inclusion in these groups
demonstrates high environmental, social and business