Sound and fury

My inbox es-ploded last week with oil & and gas news. What the hell happened? Did we accomplish anything? Let’s take a look.

We begin with SB 107 – aka the Water Rights Protection Act – which would protect property rights, health & safety, water quantity & quality, closed loop systems, injection of cancer-causing chemicals, environmental bonding, and limit drilling activity near radioactive materials, explosives and Superfund sites!

We could also call this the “too good to get passed act”.  Colorado State Senator Morgan Carroll, a co-sponsor of SB 107, reports:

I am deeply grateful to each of you who signed this petition, wrote your legislators and took time to testify on the important health and safety issues that arise in this unprecedented fracking frenzy. SB 107 passed out of Senate Judiciary on a vote of 4:3, but does not have the votes to get out of Senate Appropriations. I wish I could tell you it did. The Colorado legislature adjourns next Wed. May 9 and none of the measures trying to address the risks of fracking will have made it through the legislature this session.

However, the COGCC has begun a process through rules to consider increasing the set-back distances. PLEASE consider engaging by writing to the members of the COGCC to encourage greater distances from homes, schools, water supplies, radioactive materials, explosives and Superfund sites. Their email is:

While the measure did not ultimately pass, your voices were heard and you made an impact — and I am deeply grateful for your activism on this issue.

So-oo – looks like the COGCC is our only hope for protecting public health and the environment. We are totally screwed.




Next up we have HB 1356. That’s the one that seeks to punish local communities who regulate oil & gas development by withholding severance tax payments. HB 1356 was laid over twice in committee – allegedly to amend it. Truth is, they can’t dredge up much support for this turkey.

Bill links oil & gas development, severance taxes

There was also a Congressional hearing in Denver on May 2, to bash the Obama administration’s proposed fracking regulations.

‘Fracking’ a hot topic at congressional oversight hearing in Denver

Congressional hearing in Denver tackles fracking

Then late Friday, the Obama administration issued a proposed rule requiring chemical disclosure for wells on public lands. And guess what?

New U.S. Proposal on Fracking Gives Ground to Industry

Yup, the oil & gas companies will not be required to report until after the well is fracked. It’s the “here is what we poisoned you with rule”. We already have it here in Colorado.

Here’s a bit of good news:

BLM defers oil & gas leases in North Fork Valley

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for those folks. But this is not the end. It is only the beginning. The leases were deferred. The industry will wait until public outcry diminishes, then they’ll bring back the leases quietly, while no one is looking.

Definitely a big week in oil & gas news. Looking back however, I’m reminded of the quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

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