350 Colorado supports local control of fracking and ultimately a ban unless it can be proven safe and methane leaks can be curtailed.
Current Research & Background
Fracking is a heavy industrial process whereby millions of barrels of water are mixed with hundreds of undisclosed and often toxic chemicals and then injected into the earth under extremely high pressure to force oil and natural gas (methane) to the surface. Research and on the ground experiences have proven that fracking poses grave risks to public health, clean air and water, and a stable climate.
Studies by NOAA and other researchers have shown vast leakage of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – from fracking well-heads. They have documented that about 4% of natural gas production in the Denver-Julesberg Basin is leaking directly into the atmosphere, and found as much as 17% of total methane produced leaking in other regions. This has resulted in some researchers surmising that fracking may be as dangerous to our climate as burning coal—if not more so. A study by the EDF and Princeton University suggests that shifting from coal-fired generators to natural gas only has climate benefits if the cumulative leakage rate is below 3.2%.
Emissions, toxic chemical spills, negative affects on human and animal health, water and air contamination, decreasing property values and other deleterious impacts from this industry are well documented. Over a 3 year period in Colorado, more than 1,000 fracking-related spills of diesel fuel, oil, toxic chemicals, and other contaminants, dozens of which have polluted groundwater were documented.1 Unfortunately, 1,500- or 2,000-foot setbacks of wellheads, tanks and other equipment from property lines cannot ensure protection of precious groundwater, which spans these artificial lines, and therefore so can toxic fracking chemicals. In addition, when there is clear evidence that fracking air emissions put nearby residents at increased risk of cancer, why should any resident be subjected to fracking within sight or breath of businesses, schools or homes?
According to the TEDX The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, many of the hundreds of chemicals used in oil and gas operations have been shown to have severe impacts on wildlife and human health, including the respiratory, digestive, immune, reproductive and nervous systems. A recent analysis of 353 of the 632 chemicals used during natural gas operations found that more than 75% of the chemicals could affect the skin, eyes, and other sensory organs, and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Approximately 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% could cause cancer and mutations.
By the Numbers
Current state regulations are failing to represent the will and best interests of the people, and local communities like Longmont and Ft. Collins that have passed local bans and moratoria to protect themselves have faced lawsuits. The time has come for Coloradans to take a stand for the health and safety of our communities. This is our Colorado and we must preserve our right to protect our families, properties and way of life.
In the News
350 Colorado calls for decommissioning of the COGCC
Nov. 16, 2015 – Read the statement delivered here describing how the COGCC is failing to fulfill its mission to protect public health, safety, and welfare.
Nov. 12, 2015 – Over 100 people protested outside of the BLM auction of 90,000 acres of Colorado public lands for oil and gas development. Read more here.
Here is some of the media coverage…
Report Card on Fracking
May 6th, 2015 – Coloradans Against Fracking deliver “F” Report Card to the CO Legislature and Governor
You can read 350 Colorado’s statement regarding the need to fix the “dual mission” (promote and regulate oil and gas in CO) of the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) delivered in March, 2013, here. Source: Fracking by the numbers
Fracking & the COGCC
Aug. 3, 2015 – Coloradans Against Fracking Stands up to the COGCC in Greeley – and deliver Declaration Rejecting the Legitimacy of the COGCC Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Data and Failures
- 43% of all operator spills result in groundwater contamination.
- 3.1% of all operator spills result in surface water contamination.
- 57% of all protective berms fail to prevent secondary industrial liquid waste migration.
- 2003-2012 Weld County, CO – 1.7 million gallons of produced water and oil never recovered from the ground after operator spills. It’s still in the environment.
- 2.4 billion square feet of surface has been contaminated by 1,000 O&G surface spills. Study: 1,000 spills in Weld County, CO
- Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer was contaminated with toluene and thermogenic gas by an O&G operation in 2009 – Weld County, CO
- Colorado has 129,073 Completed O&G wells. ~48,000 are active and ~81,000 are inactive.
- Early statistics show that ~55% of all abandoned wells are being re-entered/re-drilled.
- Colorado has over 5,000 reported industrial waste spills on record.
- There have been 3,552 oil and gas related public complaints filed with the COGCC.
- The burden of expense has been shifted to the local emergency response departments to battle any fires or mishaps. This expense has been shifted by the oil and gas industry to citizen tax payers, meaning ‘you.’
- There have been 3,964 ‘Notice of Alleged Violations’ filed by the COGCC.
- There are 825 unique oil and gas operators listed at COGCC.
- There are 693 ‘UIC SIMULTANEOUS DISPOSAL’, ‘UIC ENHANCED RECOVERY’, ‘UIC DISPOSAL’ sites in Colorado. Approximately 300 are active.
- There are over 5,000 pits in Colorado of all statuses.
- There are 11 gas storage facilities in Colorado.
- There are 168 gas processing plants in Colorado.
- There are 183 gas compressor stations in Colorado.
- There are 108 gas gathering systems in Colorado.
- There are more than 4,000 active oil and gas wells closer to homes than the COGCC 350′ setback mandates, thus denying the state to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts to human health
- COGCC has failed to prevent or mitigate adverse environmental and human health impacts in accordance with their mission statement.
- Information on spills and groundwater contamination in: 1) Colorado: Bruce Finley, “Drilling spills rise in Colorado, but fines rare,” The Denver Post, February 22, 2012; and 2) Pennsylvania: PNAS-2013-Jackson-Water Contamination Marcellus
- “CU-Boulder, NOAA study uncovers oil and gas emission’s ‘chemical signature’, Study finds that more than half of ozone-forming pollutants in Erie come from drilling activity“, By John Aguilar, Camera Staff Writer. Posted: 01/16/2013
- 2014 Nature High Winter Ozone Uinta Basin
- Health impacts studies:
- “Study shows air emissions near fracking sites may pose health risk,” University of Colorado Denver Newsroom, March 19, 2012
- 2014 EHP Birth Outcomes Rural Colorado
- Health impacts on livestock: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/1784382/livestock_falling_ill_in_fracking_regions_raising_concerns_about_food.html
- Resources that discuss the elevated amounts of methane leaking from natural gas wells, the natural gas piping infrastructure and leaking at end use sites (i.e. a kitchen stove). Methane is potent greenhouse gas:
- 2014-02 Science MethaneLeaks
- 2014 Methane Leakage Eagle Ford and Bakken
- 2011 Howarth and Ingraffea Letter to Climate Change on GHGs from Shale Gas
- CIRES, NOAA observe significant methane leaks in a Utah natural gas field
Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field : Nature News & Comment
- Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas : Nature News & Comment
- Bridge Out: Bombshell Study Finds Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Production Far Higher Than EPA Estimates | ThinkProgress
- NOAA ESRL CSD: News & Events 2013
- Colorado oil and gas wells emit more pollutants than expected
- Airborne measurements confirm leaks from oil and gas operations
- ▶ Lethal gas/oil wells: Anthony Ingraffea at TEDxAlbany 2013 – YouTube
The following film deals with methane on a global scale and is very sobering: Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb – YouTube
Check it out! 350CO and partners organized a “Good Governors Don’t Frack Their People” event in Aspen outside the Democratic Governor’s Assn. meeting. Watch the video!