Category Archives: Earthworks

Certified Disaster: a powerful report hits home

See the link below to download this 43 page PDF report that is totally focused on the pressing issue of air pollution in the Front Range:

CERTIFIED DISASTER: HOW PROJECT CANARY & GAS CERTIFICATION ARE MISLEADING MARKETS & GOVERNMENTS

Though originally published in April 2023 (when it was reported here), I thought it would be a timely reminder to help support public pressure on our state legislators and local legislators. It was so incredibly informative, I felt the need to post it here again. (Note that the cover image is from Weld County, from an OGI video filmed by Earthworks.)

The title says it all: the O&G industry is trying with all its powerful media might to lie to local governments and US domestic markets about the pollution it is causing. They have hired a host of PR efforts to spread their lies, which is wrapped up in something called Project Canary. Purposefully name to allude to the aphorism of a canary in a coal mine, the old fashioned method of detecting deadly methane gas in the hand-dug coal mines of old.

But this quote from page 29 gives the lie of this project. Though organized under the auspices of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, the industry keeps the project muzzled and its data hidden:

“But the data is not made available for public verification, and Project
Canary’s methods have not been subjected to peer review….At the moment, proprietary quantification methods can be a bit of a black box, and it’s not easy to get information on the methods used,” argues Professor Allen. “So it needs academic oversight but with the
process being led by regulators to ensure compliance. And methodologies should be peer-reviewed. The emissions data should be public – at least to regulators. This would be the gold standard that could build trust and transparency in any data.”

Another expert opinion: “One expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, states that “the claims that Project Canary is making regarding being
able to track all methane emissions seem to be premature and should be backed up by peer-reviewed science so they can be independently validated.”

In other words: the public, nor the regulators, nor the markets, can trust the data coming out Project Canary.

The report goes on to document how the entire project is suspect due to the conflict of interest built into the so-called “certification” that it offers to O&G projects. It is the old story of regulatory capture…or the fox guarding the hen house, to put the situation in the vernacular.

So if anyone from the O&G industry attempts to offer up Project Canary as a defense of how their projects have been “certified”…or that their boundary fence monitors are protecting the public health…this is malarky! Their bluff should be called, and regulators should demand peer reviewed science and real transparency to their data and measurement methods…like real science, not fake science.

Recording of March 16 Webinar “Northern Colorado Air Quality”

Online even co-sponsored with Colorado Rising, featuring the following speakers:

Andrew Klooster, Colorado Field Advocate with Earthworks, is an expert videographer and a certified optical gas imaging thermographer. He has been working with local environmental groups in the Front Range for years, has documented many instances of VOC and methane pollution sources in the region, and is very familiar with the situations of many of the afflicted communities.

Dr Cory Carroll, MD, Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado, will detail health impacts he has seen in his patients from being exposed to ozone, VOCs, and other dangerous air emissions, based on his professional experience with patients.

Dr. Detlev Helmig, CEO of BoulderAIR, will discuss findings from his continuous air quality monitoring study at 5 installations in the Front Range (Boulder, Longmont (2), Erie & Broomfield), which have identified quantity and source of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) contributing to the formation of ozone along the Front Range. Many of these VOCs are toxic and can traced directly to oil and gas operations in the region.

See this link to a YouTube recording of the webinar, which was a resounding success: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfuViYOE940

Sign on to our petition calling on the City of Fort Collins and Larimer County to establish comprehensive 2/7 real-time air quality monitoring: https://secure.ngpvan.com/7UocbEb5yE–XV1viRSpNQ2https://secure.ngpvan.com/7UocbEb5yE–XV1viRSpNQ2

earthworks videos highlighting problems with abandoned O&g sites

The images paired above do not begin to do justice to the issue of long abandoned oil and gas facilities in Colorado. Earthworks conducts extensive field surveys of producing, temporarily shut down, and abandoned facilities around the country. Their optical gas imaging using FLIR camera technology illustrates the continued venting from supposedly inactive units. These screen captures were taken from one of the videos posted below.

This highlights the critical need for comprehensive financial assurance regulation, which is being discussed at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in January and February of 2022. Public comment opportunities are scheduled and information on that can be found in this previous blog post.

These are the full YouTube videos of Earthworks:

northeRn larimer county gets noticed…FINALLY

The residents who live in the vicinity of the oil and gas wells in northern Larimer County — such as the Hearthfire neighborhood and County Road 13 — know all too well all about leaking tanks, foul odors and unsafe air pollution; and finally this attracted some media attention. The Larimer Alliance is thankful for this story in the Coloradodoan that was published December 6, 2021:

Oil company hasn’t replaced leaking tanks near Fort Collins despite months of complaints

It was certainly a great effort by the reporter Jacy Marmaduke, the people she interviewed, and especially the videographic work by Earthworks’ Andrew Klooster.

As Ms Marmaduke accurately described, existing oil and gas wells and transmission facilities have fallen through the cracks of industry regulations. Even though SB-181, the 2019 law that dramatically reformed how oil and gas is regulated, and empowered local city and county authorities, in theory, to write their own regulations about oil and gas operations, these have only applied to new wells — leaving existing operations to continue to be regulated by the state. This has come as quite the disappointment of local residents who were hoping for some help and relief from the continuing air pollution.

As we’ve come to find out, when existing tanks start leaking, the state regulators have been slow to react; as the hapless residents having to endure the foul air have found out. It has taken months of effort by local residents complaining to the authorities responsible, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, to get them to inspect the sites.

Unfortunately, it will likely take many more months of efforts by citizens calling out for redress to fix the problem. Please show your support by either commenting here, sending your thanks to the Coloradoan for the above story, or contacting your city and county offices to express your concerns.