Hickenlooper released the fracken

March 2, 2015

Colorado, fracking, task force

Governor Hickenlooper with President Obama and Utah Governor Gary Herbert in the Oval Office in January 2015. [Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

Governor Hickenlooper with President Obama and Utah Governor Gary Herbert in the Oval Office in January 2015. [Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

For months on end in his public appearances, we’ve been treated to the chuckly Governor Hickenlooper, the politician with his cheesy grin. But after the task force turned in their 9 measly recommendations last Friday (2/27) he released the fracken.

Witness the return of Frackenlooper!Frackenlooper-signGovernor: Oil, gas rules must protect mineral owners’ rights

DENVER — Any attempt to give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado must protect the rights of people who own underground mineral rights, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday.

Some people have owned or leased those rights for decades, long before Colorado’s growing cities spread onto land above rich oil and gas deposits, Hickenlooper said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“What right does government have to take that person’s lease away from them?” he said. “Through no fault of their own, the march of suburbanization, suddenly their lease is worth less than it was.”

In other words, you should not have built your house on top of their oil and gas. Perhaps local governments should prohibit further residential development on top of oil & gas leased lands.

The problem in Colorado is not the devaluation of mineral leases. I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a company’s mineral leases being devalued because they were underneatha  residential subdivision. What a ridiculous notion!

The problem in Colorado — and Texas and Pennsylvania and North Dakota — is the devaluation of private property because of oil & gas development: Fracking With Your Health and Your Home

Surface owners’ property rights should also be protected, Hickenlooper said, adding that energy companies are required to pay for damage. Noise, dust and other effects should also be taken into account, he said.

Asked if he would support stronger compensation rules for surface owners, the governor said he would want to see the specifics. “I certainly wouldn’t go there without having something in front of me and making sure it’s fair to all concerned,” he said.

Hickenlooper spoke on the same day that his oil and gas task force submitted nine recommendations for easing tension created by the oil and gas industry in the state, often when wells are drilled near homes and schools …

Note that Frackenlooper doesn’t mention “property rights.” In fact if you own property (homes and lands) in Colorado you are required to follow all local zoning and land use laws and regulations. Your property rights are limited when it comes to development. For example, my house on a lot in Silt would be a lot more valuable if I could tear down the house and build a gas station. But Silt zoning laws and regulations don’t allow for that. However if I owned the mineral rights below my lot, I could lease them to the highest bidder, tear down my house and put up a rig, as long as it’s 500 feet from the neighbors’ houses.

According to Frackenlooper, only those with mineral rights have property rights in Colorado.

… Other states are struggling with how to regulate oil and gas as fracking spreads. New York banned fracking last year, but Hickenlooper has said a ban wouldn’t work in Colorado because it would hurt a valuable industry and leave the state vulnerable to lawsuits alleging an improper “taking” of energy companies’ property …

… In New York, fracking would have occurred relatively close to aquifers, natural underground water reservoirs, Hickenlooper said. Fracking wells in Colorado are a mile away from aquifers, he said.

There have been no instances where the fracking process itself has contaminated water, only cases in which the lining of a well has failed or when chemicals were spilled above ground, he said.

There he goes again. What difference does it make whether the contamination was caused before, during, or after fracking? Contamination is contamination. We’re really sick of that stupid argument.

The state has come down hard on energy companies for those kinds of incidents, Hickenlooper said. “In those cases, we are very, very rigorous,” he said.

Oh. Yeah. Right. Williams was never fined for the Parachute Creek spill.

In 2014, there were 712 spills reported in Colorado. Those were just the ones reported. The COGCC collected about $1.4 million in fines from oil and gas companies last year — that’s less than $2,000 per spill. Hardly what I’d call “rigorous.”

More Frackenlooper-isms from his Colorado Public Radio interview.

Hickenlooper said the nine recommendations “probably should be enacted,” and he will rely on regulators and lawmakers to fine tune and implement them. The fact that nine proposals garnered such substantial support — with several passing unanimously — shows the task force did its job, he said.

“There were an awful lot of people that said nothing is going to come out of this, we’re not going to make any progress,” the governor said. “That turned out not to be the case” …

… A spokesperson from the newly formed group Coloradans Against Fracking said it’ll work to get a statewide ban on fracking passed through a ballot initiative or another means, including executive order.

For Hickenlooper, that’s a nonstarter.

“We can’t find examples in Colorado, or more than one or two examples, where fracking, in any sense, has caused harm or been sufficiently dangerous to the public to justify us to ban it,” he said.

It’s impossible to find something when you refuse to look for it. Here’s a good place to start looking: Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking

You see there are professionals across the country looking at the harm and documenting it. The day will soon come when Frackenlooper will have to answer to the people why the state of Colorado allowed this single industry — the oil & gas industry — to destroy our health and our environment now and for generations to come.

Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force Final Report

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4 Comments on “Hickenlooper released the fracken”

  1. Today I'm Gay Says:

    My Beautiful, Lyrical, Pulitzer Prize winning Hickenlooper Poem

    Blissful me I was: I once thought I was a Democrat.
    But all the Democrats I thought were Democrats somehow became Republicans!

    In horror, I saw the corporate pods: they bodysnatched the DNC!

    Monsanto bought out the Dems;
    Oil and Gas bought out the Dems;
    Corporate America bought out the Dems.
    Glyphosate soaks the Front Range while Boulder is held hostage by the far right.
    All the fracking wells are run by the bodysnatchers!

    Blissful me I was in my trust: I voted for John. I voted for Jared. I voted for Mike.
    Sad am I.
    And Independent am I now.

  2. robert dresdner Says:

    Great piece on fracking — I would add that citizens can be more effective by demanding that the State propose more stringent environmental rules. The Governor needs your help—he needs to hear SPECIFCS [tougher more protective requirements and regulatory standards] from well informed citizens! Specifics —rule improvements— are usually found in the federal rule proposals and the preambles and technical support documents thereto, which can be found by searching online, eg, try searching for “Proposed NSPS OOOO”.

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Exemptions for hydraulic fracturing under United States federal law

    “There are many exemptions for hydraulic fracturing under United States federal law: the oil and gas industries are exempt or excluded from several of the major federal environmental laws. These laws range from protecting clean water and air, to preventing the release of toxic substances and chemicals into the environment:
    Clean Air Act
    Clean Water Act
    Safe Drinking Water Act
    National Environmental Policy Act
    Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
    Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response
    Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.”

  4. robert dresdner Says:

    An NRDC Report re oil and gas statutory and regulatory exemptions for the energy industry during Bush’s reign — thanks to Congress!

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