Diesel trucks deliver frack sand & chemicals

Boulder County’s New Fracking Rules: Three (3) Things To Know

From an Article by Jackie Fortier, KUNC, Boulder, Colorado, March 27, 2017

With its moratorium on new drilling permits set to expire in a few weeks, Boulder County commissioners unanimously passed new oil and gas regulations. The county calls them the “most restrictive” of such regulations in Colorado. They are about 60 pages and require a much higher environmental and public health standard than the state. Boulder County began the new rule process following two state Supreme Court decisions in 2016 that invalidated hydraulic fracking bans or long term moratoriums.

“In light of those decisions, the board terminated our moratorium that was in effect until 2018, and established a new moratorium until May 1, 2017, for the purpose of allowing us [Boulder County planning department] to update the regulations that we had adopted in 2012 and prepare for their implementation,” said Kim Sanchez, chief planner for the county.

Now that the commissioners have adopted these regulations, here are three key takeaways:

These regulations are ‘the most restrictive’ in Colorado

Boulder County wants to push the envelope. For example, an oil or gas company that wants to drill in unincorporated Boulder County would have to give notice to surrounding landowners and residents, have multiple public meetings, and do soil and water testing, which could be a very long and probably more expensive process than anywhere else in Colorado. State officials told Boulder County it is overstepping their local authority, a position that Commissioner Elise Jones said they would defend.

“Our focus is on adopting regulations that we think are the strongest possible, for our citizens and the environment, and our understanding of the law as we see it,” she said. “If the state disagrees well, so be it, we’ll deal with that. If the state wants to pre-empt local governments, on oil and gas then they need to do their job and protect us from the impacts of oil and gas, and they are not doing that. And until they do that, local jurisdictions like Boulder County will continue to push to do that work themselves.”

What can the state regulate and what can local governments like Boulder County regulate?

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulates location and construction of drill sites and associated equipment, for example what machinery is used. Local governments like Boulder County have substantial regulatory authority through their land use code, such as building permits for structures, traffic impact fees, and inspecting for compliance with local codes and standards related to water quality and wildlife impacts. Boulder County’s new regulations are the most stringent in terms of land use.

New regulations aim to minimize the noise, dust and pollution associated with oil and gas drilling, like the sand loading in the photo above.

You could get paid to live by oil and gas drilling

One of Boulder County’s regulations could require a company to pay residents “disruption payments.” Not every company would have to do this; it’s an option for the county to require. Within a mile radius of the drill site, companies would need to pay residents enough money to move and pay rent somewhere else during some operations. The closer you are to the drill site, the more money you would get. The amount would be calculated based on federal data for the area. Every month residents would get a check. It would be up to them if they would want to move temporarily or just keep the money.

Commissioner Jones said they thought disruption payments were necessary to include.

“Industry has never been required to say ‘Yes, I’m impacting those people’s lives and I’m going to pay to help move them to a place so their quality of life isn’t diminished by my noise and my dust and my vibrations and my emissions,’ Jones said. “We think that it’s an important first step in industry taking ownership of the significant impacts that drilling has, particularly when you’re drilling near homes and schools and the like.”

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>>> Hear a reporter debrief with KUNC’s Erin O’Toole and Jackie Fortier on the new oil and gas regulations, and how they compare.


Springtime is spoiled by toxic fumes & chemicals

Proctor Residents Suing Williams Ohio Valley Midstream

From an Article by Drew Parker, Wetzel Chronicle, March 22, 2017

Proctor, WV — An energy company is facing a lawsuit for allegedly disrupting the daily lives of local residents.

On January 4th, Proctor residents Glenn Whisler, Sandra Whisler, Gary Hall, James McKinney and Jennifer McKinney filed a lawsuit against Williams Ohio Valley Midstream LLC, claiming the company caused noise disruptions, exposed them to toxins and devalued their properties.

Williams operates a compressor site in close proximity to the homes in question, located near Rines Ridge in Marshall County.

According to the complaint, the lawsuit alleges the Williams operations caused fumes, dust, dirt and noise and bright light to be present on the properties during all hours of the day and night. The complaint also cited fear of risks such as possible explosions near the site, as well as constant traffic surrounding the homes.

Attorney Jim Bordas of Bordas & Bordas Law Offices said the alleged damages have caused fear and concern in the affected community.

“In all cases like these the damages are a result of these big factories being put in put in people’s backyards, which is not what they bargained for when they bought their homes. Now, they’re concerned not only about the noise, smell and toxicity but the value of their property. When you move to the country, you figure you’re getting away from the effects of industry,” Bordas said. “We’re seeking for them to pay damages for the annoyance, aggravation fear and diminishment of property value, which will be up to a judge to determine. We think they’re looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Their whole lives have been disrupted.”

Bordas & Bordas attorney Jeremy McGraw said the case follows several other similar suits filed against Williams, which include about three dozen local plaintiffs. Other suits involve the energy company’s main facilities in Oak Grove on Fork Ridge Road and at Fort Beeler on Waynesburg Pike Road, both in Marshall County.

The series of litigation began in late 2015.

“One of the things that worries us about the industry is that they put a lot of lobbyists in Charleston this past year (pushing for legislation) that would make them not responsible for these incidents,” McGraw said.

Officials with Williams Energy could not be reached for comment.

See also: www.Marcellus-Shale.us

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Forced Pooling Violates the Private Property Rights of West Virginians

March 27, 2017

WVSORO Provides Leadership on Important Mineral Rights Issues From the Article by Julie Archer, WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, March 26, 2017 Forced Pooling, Land Reunion Bills Advancing We’ve received several calls and emails asking about WV-SORO’s position on the latest version of the forced pooling legislation (SB 576) working its way through the Senate. We [...]

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Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Power Plants a Problem

March 26, 2017

Study: Natural Gas Power Plants Emit up to 120 Times More Methane Than Previously Estimated From an Article by Steve Horn • DeSmog Blog, March 20, 2017 Researchers at Purdue University and the Environmental Defense Fund have concluded in a recent study that natural gas power plants release 21–120 times more methane than earlier estimates. Published in the journal Environmental [...]

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Tom Steyer is on a Mission for Planet Earth

March 25, 2017

This Billionaire Determined to Save our Planet From an Article by Nick Stockton, Wired Magazine, March 23, 2017 Tom Steyer isn’t your average California tree hugger. The former hedge fund manage— number 1,121 on Forbes’ wealthiest people list, with $1.61 billion — was once best known for turning $15 million into $30 billion in about two decades. [...]

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Pennsylvania Utility Regulator Verbally Slams Natural Gas Pipeline Opponents

March 24, 2017

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson hopes to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission From an Article by Marie Cusick, StateImpact Pennsylvania, March 21, 2017 One of Pennsylvania’s top utility regulators says people opposing pipeline projects are engaged in a “jihad” to keep natural gas from reaching new markets. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert [...]

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WV-DEP is Becoming an Instrument of Industry

March 23, 2017

New DEP is using W. Va. as industry dumping ground   Letter to the Editor, Charleston Gazette-Mail, March 19, 2017   The article by Ken Ward, Jr., titled “DEP eliminates protections for noise, light from natural gas facilities” shows how much the government of W.Va. has its middle finger up to the state’s citizens.   [...]

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Residents Standing Up Against Rover Pipeline in Harrison County, Ohio

March 22, 2017

Harrison County residents stand up to natural gas company From the Staff News Report, WTOV News 9, Steubenville, OH Harrison County, OH — Sheila Bittinger and her husband Stanley have gotten used to the loud noise of heavy machinery the past couple of weeks. But that doesn’t mean they like it. The machines are operated [...]

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Concerns About Methanol Plant at Institute, WV

March 21, 2017

Institute citizens meet to discuss methanol plant From an Article by Alex Thomas in WV MetroNews | February 14, 2017 INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A new methanol plant in Institute drew concern from citizens at a meeting February 13th  at West Virginia State University. The founders of U.S. Methanol, Brad Gunn and Richard Wolfli, discussed at [...]

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NOAA Coral Reef Watch: The Progressive Death of Earth’s Corals

March 20, 2017

It is Unacceptable to Normalize the Disruption and Loss of Earth’s Corals From an Article by Stephen Mulkey, The Environmental Century, 3/18/17 For the first time the Great Barrier Reef has experienced two back-to-back bleaching events, which have been driven entirely by extreme sea surface temperatures. The devastation is hard to miss, unless you are [...]

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