Governor John Hickenlooper has formally pulled the plug on the possibility of a special legislation session to consider stricter rules for the oil and gas industry. Hickenlooper said there weren’t enough stakeholders on board for a bi-partisan solution.
“We continue to believe that the right way to solve complex issues like these is through the legislative process and through transparent rule making.”
Governor John Hickenlooper’s office said he’s still in discussions about whether to call lawmakers back to the state capitol for a special session on oil and gas issues. The goal would be to pass a compromise bill and avoid a fight at the ballot box.
Water & Energy was the topic of a statewide call-in program associated with Connecting the Drops, a year-long collaboration on Colorado water issues from KRCC and other member stations of Rocky Mountain Community Radio, as well as the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Guests were Ken Carlson, professor of civil & environmental engineering at CSU; Sloan Shoemaker, head of the Western Slope conservation group Wilderness Workshop; and Kent Holsinger, an industry attorney specializing in water and energy issues. Hosted by KGNU's Maeve Conran.
Water & Energy is the topic this Sunday afternoon at 5 on a special live statewide call-in program. It's part of Connecting the Drops--a year-long collaboration on Colorado water issues from KRCC and other member stations of Rocky Mountain Community Radio. Today, we'll have a panel of experts discussing the impact of energy development on Colorado water. Your calls are encouraged, and we'll provide a specific number for you to call during the show. That's today from 5-6 PM.
The toll free number for listeners to call in is 1-800-737-3030.
Using the force of moving water to generate electricity is an old idea. For much of the 20th century, hydroelectric technology led to the construction of giant dams across the American West and around the world. But big hydro projects have a big impact on surrounding ecosystems, and Colorado is at the center of a growing move toward hydropower on a smaller scale.
Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas says it’s expecting to add at least 850 factory workers statewide this year. 400 have already been hired. The announcement comes after one of the best years for orders placed with the company, and after leaner previous years led to a series of layoffs at its Colorado plants. In a statement, Vestas says 80 of those workers will be at its Pueblo facility, where they’re expected to reach full capacity this year. The company also says it expects by the end of the year to employ more than 2000 total workers in its four factories in the state.
It takes water to produce electricity, but how much water varies a lot depending on the fuel source and the power generating technology. In Colorado, around half a percent of our total water usage is used to generate electricity.
It’s a small percentage, says Stacy Tellinghusen, water policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates, a non-profit conservation group, but adds that it’s not inconsequential.
Scientists with the US Geologic Survey are studying the relationship between earthquakes, gas drilling and the practice of re-injecting waste-water into the ground. They're looking at area around Trinidad in Southern Colorado, where the number of earthquakes has been growing. Trinidad currently averages about eight magnitude-3 earthquakes a year.
Geophysicist Justin Rubinstein with the USGS, says there appears to be a correlation to the waste water injection process, but adds it happens at only a handful of the 35,000 injection wells across the country.
State lawmakers are expected to debate the repeal of a controversial renewable energy bill today. As Bente Birkeland reports, Senate Bill 252 was one of the most hotly debated bills last legislative session.
El Paso County Commissioners have approved a zoning request regarding a proposed wind farm in the eastern part of the county. Here’s the press release:
Following a day long public hearing, the Board of El Paso County Commissioners this evening gave its approval to a zoning request that will clear the way for the development of a large wind farm in eastern El Paso County.
Colorado’s energy industry trade group is now involved on three fronts with lawsuits over voter approved fracking bans or moratoriums. The latest move involved the announcement of suits against Lafayette and Fort Collins.
A lawsuit is already pending against the city of Longmont for a ban approved in 2012. Some in the state say a lawsuit is the wrong way to go.
A complex series of agreements govern the distribution of water throughout the state. Along the Colorado River, farms, cities & towns, and the recreation industry are all big players. But everyone takes a backseat to a tiny hydroelectric plant that’s over one hundred years old. It’s the Shoshone Generating Station, and it plays a critical role on the Upper Colorado.
Colorado’s Energy industry is continuing to make the case that hydraulic fracturing is safe and a critical part of the state’s economy. They’re stepping up efforts following the recent passage of fracking bans and moratoriums in three Front Range communities. The outcome of a ban in Broomfield has yet to be determined.
“Merely the fact that they qualified shows that there’s not enough education out there on these issues,” said Jon Haubert, spokesman for Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development – or CRED.
Weld County in northeastern Colorado, one of the most drilled in the nation, was also among the hardest hit by this week’s historical floodwaters. State regulators and oil and gas industry workers are now scrambling to assess the damage and mitigate the health and environmental impacts.
“At this point – as access continues to be limited and emergency responders remain focused on lives, property and roadways – we have limited information about specific impacts or particular locations,” said Todd Hartman, spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).
Colorado’s first biomass power plant is nearly complete. Senator Mark Udall and State Senator Gail Schwartz toured the facility in Gypsum recently, where wood cuttings from beetle kill trees will be turned into electricity. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.
The oil and gas industry says it’s trying to focus on new ways to reach out to an increasingly skeptical public. Community concern is rising as hydraulic fracturing moves into more and more populated areas of the Front Range. At the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver, which brings together energy leaders from across the country, much of the discussion this year focused on public anxiety over fracking.
Oil and gas leaders are gathering in Denver this week to discuss innovation and controversy in their industry. Bente Birkeland takes a look at how the state’s water wars can shape the public debate over fracking.
As gas and oil drilling are reaching all-time highs in Colorado, drilling is occurring closer to schools and residential neighborhoods, like this one in Fort Collins. Credit: David O. Williams/Colorado Public News
A former president of the Colorado Medical Society calls the current hydraulic fracturing boom in the state’s oil and gas industry an “experiment in motion” for the public at large – one that could lead to higher rates of cancer and other illnesses over the next 10 to 15 years.