CRITICAL ALERT FOR COMING WEEK: CALL FOR COMMISSIONERS TO EXTEND O&G MORATORIUMS

CRITICAL ALERT!

     

April 13: Demand extension of O&G moratoriums!

The Larimer Alliance is calling for public comment when The Larimer County Commissioners hold a public hearing at 3:30 PM, Tuesday, April 13. They will consider extending the current one month moratoriums on processing 1041 and oil and gas permits. The temporary moratoriums presently in force will expire on April 15. The hearing will take place in the hearing room of the County Courthouse and Administrative Building at 200 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins. Registration and general information on the meeting and agenda can be found on this page, and the direct link to register for this event can be found here

The Commissioners and Planning Department have laudably extended the process for revision and public comment. The processing of applications related to oil and gas development should remain on hold until that process has been completed, and Larimer County has comprehensive and effective regulations in place.

If you are unable to attend this session, remember you can still register your opinion with the Commissioners at their administrative matters meeting, held regularly every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM also at the County Courthouse. Your comment can be delivered virtually on line, by calling in, or by email as detailed here.

Why is all this important? Find out by attending

Cleaning Up Our Air: Oil and Gas Impacts on Larimer County

A webinar by Larimer Alliance, LOGIC, and Earthworks, April 12

Join an informative online forum on April 12 at 7:00 PM for an honest discussion on air quality and oil and gas development in Larimer County and the northern Front Range.

Register here to attend!

Cleaning Up our Air will feature respected panelists:

Mike Foote: A former state representative and senator who helped draft Senate Bill 19-181, Mike is an attorney who will highlight how changes in Colorado law now enable local governments to protect their communities.

Elise Jones: Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, former Boulder County Commissioner, and current member of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, Elise will bring knowledge and experience as a policy maker and an organizer heading a group promoting more efficient and sustainable public energy systems.

Laurie Anderson: a Broomfield City Council member, resident, engineer, and mother, Laurie will speak about Broomfield’s efforts to protect residents and neighborhoods from harmful emissions by oil & gas development.

Andrew Klooster: A Colorado staffer with Earthworks, Andrew will show and explain images of emissions at oil and gas operations using Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology, discussing its implications for addressing damage to air quality in Larimer County and the northern Front Range.

Andrew Forkes-Gudmundson: Deputy Director of LOGIC, Andrew will moderate the forum.

The Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, & the Environment is a coalition of citizens and groups advocating for effective regulation of oil and gas development to protect our people, communities, environment, and wildlife.

For further information or any questions, please contact [email protected]

Please consider a donation to help cover the costs of presenting this webinar and the Larimer Alliance’s ongoing work to protect ….

  www.larimeralliance.org

Comments on COGCC hearing on financial assurance

These are comments I made during live commentary at the public COGCC meeting on March 31, 2021: 

Good evening Commissioners,

I am Doug Henderson, I live in Larimer County. I am speaking for the Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety and Environment, a coalition that represents thousands of Larimer County residents.

Oil & gas development has many financial costs that are externalized and avoided by the industry –

  • O&G operations collide with residential areas and neighborhood — so people suffer and get sick

from these operations and emissions, with big costs to their lives, families, and communities

  • property values decline, causing losses to homeowners
  • communities become embroiled in fighting against O&G,

costing residents, local governments, and public agencies untold millions

  • air and water get polluted, with huge costs now and into the future
  • billions of gals of toxic waste gets pumped underground –

its false to pretend this won’t have costly consequences

  • many spills, explosions, and fires occur,with costs to emergency services, people’s health, 

and to the environment

  • and the list also includes thousands of old wells and sites left by operators, for taxpayers to pay to clean up.

It is time that O&G operators are required to pay their way, to cover all their costs, from start to finish, to operate when and where it is genuinely profitable, not because it is subsidized by externalizing costs to others, to local communities, to local and state governments, and to taxpayers.

At this point, taxpayers are already facing the cost of plugging and cleaning up thousands of orphaned wells in Colorado, which will run to hundreds of millions. The O&G industry is unwilling to pay to clean up after itself.

It is this Commission’s responsibility to make sure that going forward, the O&G industry acts responsibly, and that operators are capable and responsible for fully covering costs.

COGCC must require full-cost bonding, set at a level that provides real financial incentive to properly shut down, plug, and abandon wells, and to fully reclaim and remediate sites. Every well needs to bonded. Inadequate bonding creates incentive for operators to escape properly shutting down and cleaning up sites.

Allowing blanket bonding must eliminated – in some cases now, the effective bond is under $1000 per well.

COGCC also should get serious about a mechanism for the O&G industry to pay for cleaning up orphaned wells and sites in Colorado – so taxpayers won’t be left with clean-up costs.

The industry claims to be responsible toward the public and the environment.

COGCC needs to be sure the industry and operators walk their talk – from start to finish, including cleaning up after all their operations and all sites, current, future, and past, instead of leaving it to taxpayers.

We thank the Commissioners and staff in COGCC who have genuinely embraced reform in oversight of O&G development in Colorado, including protecting the taxpayers from undue financial risk and cost.

Comments on Land Use and Locational Topics

These are comments I submitted to the Larimer County Planning Department for the public meeting held April 8, 2021, “Oil and Gas Regulations Public Meeting to discuss Land Use and Locational Topics”

Dear Larimer County Planning Department,

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on this planning process. I am a Fort Collins resident since 2018, and a Colorado resident since 1981.
In accordance with the new priorities of SB-181, I would hope that the Alternative Location Analysis can be used to instruct operators who intend to drill an O&G well that they intend to frack, that they supply in the application a plan that shows drill sites that can be located as far away as technically possible from any inhabited structures or open space parks, preferably over a mile.
My understanding of fracking technology is that horizontal drilling can extend for miles; so locating drill sites as far away as possible from peoples’ homes, schools, hospitals, or any inhabited structure would seem in keeping with the spirit of SB-181.
As this compendium on the health risks of fracking details, this document:
In this authoritative document is much evidence that suggests that anyone living within a mile of a drillsite has an elevated risk of negative health effects. As such, the past setbacks of 500 feet or even 1000 feet have no scientific justification.
This is the main point I wish to make: if one of the advantages of horizontal drilling is that it can be extended for miles, at likely only a marginal increase of cost to the operator, there this suggests there are potentially enormous benefits to gain by locating these harmful operations as far away from people as possible.
Weighing such benefits against the costs is not an analysis I have ever seen, but this approach would be extremely useful, I would think, for the tasks that the Planning Department is tasked with.