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  1. #1
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    Fracking in BoCo?

    Please tell county commissioners to ban fracking on Boulder public lands including seven open space parcels. Outrageous.

    Ban Fracking in Boulder County!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOby View Post
    Please tell county commissioners to ban fracking on Boulder public lands including seven open space parcels. Outrageous.

    Ban Fracking in Boulder County!
    Why? Tell me, what do you use to heat your house? Do you drive a car?

  3. #3
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by russman View Post
    Why? Tell me, what do you use to heat your house? Do you drive a car?


    Sheeeit, If you're on a well close to a well they're fracking you might not even need to pay for your gas.


  4. #4
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    Not in MY back yard you don't!!

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    some slight overstatements*

    The only other economically viable alternative is to start mining the uranium deposits along the Front Range. Dakota ridge is just loaded with the stuff.

  6. #6
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    Well, since Boulder doesn't let MTBers in the open space up there, I'd say it's not our problem!

    (Tongue in cheek)
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  7. #7
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    Fracking's safe. less risky to ground water contamination, air quality, etc. than a new conoco station or automatic car wash going in on the corner. don't let a Mockumentary here and there persuade you away from facts. a movie theater seat is a lazy and dangerous place to formulate opinions on important public policy issues.

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    We need the natural gas, but we need to be vigilant about where, how the drilling is done. I have a cousin who is an engineer for a company that fracks for natural gas. He admits that if regulations weren't adequate the energy companies would cut every corner they possibly could to make more money. They don't even want to disclose the chemicals they pump into the ground. These companies aren't drilling because they want what is good for the country, they want profit.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin_Cup View Post
    Fracking's safe. less risky to ground water contamination, air quality, etc. than a new conoco station or automatic car wash going in on the corner. don't let a Mockumentary here and there persuade you away from facts. a movie theater seat is a lazy and dangerous place to formulate opinions on important public policy issues.
    And so is MTBR. You are just on the other side of it. Hydraulic Fracturing is proving to many towns all over America to be detrimental. It's only people that don't live in those areas that think there is no harm in it. I work in these areas...I'm an O&G pipeline engineer and our main clients are the companies that utilize fracturing. I know there is still not a 100% viable solution to ween ourselves off of O&G yet, which is why I'm fine working here. I just wish these states would regulate more. They will not be losing money. If the gas is in their state, the players will deal with it and play.

    I can't say all the clients are as bad as brokefork puts it. Many of the smaller newcomers are very into making things as safe as possible. However, the geo-tech of the ground and the actual fracturing is contracted out. The clients only know what these contractors tell them, as well as what regulations are in place. Many of the clients are just plain dumb about the process. They are 100% business minded, but they are also willing to spend the money to at least make their their systems as safe as possible if the contractors recommend it. I know in our sector, pipelines, I have never ever heard a client say "yeah, who cares about that water shed...don't put a valve there, and use the thinner pipe". It's always leaning on the side of overbuilding. On an eastern shale project now, where federal regulations require only 2 valves on a length of pipeline, we have 9 to reduce potential spill size, and that was requested by our client.

    Anyway...back to work destroying the earth.

  10. #10
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    I think it's ironic that people in Boulder are complaining about CU tuition rates increasing and are also complaining about oil exploration on State School Board Land in their own backyard.

    It's also pretty funny that all these Open Space departments purchased State School Land Board land at market value without getting the mineral rights. What were they thinking? Why wasn't the public told that the mineral rights weren't included when they presented these purchases to the public? Was it in teh fine print at the bottom of the page?

    On the flip side I've seen wells drilled and fracking first hand on our ranch when I was a kid. It's not the end of the world. 30 years later you can't even tell the wells/roads were even there. I think mother nature is much more resilient than we giver her credit for.

    I can also tell you that I have family who lived across the street from a fracking company depot in west Texas. Halliburton, Nowsco, Wesleco.... that's what they do. Overnight the trucks would come in and refuel and pick up chemicals (gases). Some type of nasty fog/fumes would come out of that place at night. We used to wake up with sore throats in the morning. My little cousin was diagnosed with cancer at 18yo. Ironically, he now works on wells salvaging scrap steel when they are shut down. Unless you have land and raise goats, there really isn't any other work in west Texas. What are you gonna do? You don't get to pick where you're born. You do what it takes to survive. That's life. It's not a utopia as some would have us believe.

    The other thing that makes fracking an issue now is that Bush doubled the number of wells allowed per unit area. I can't remember exactly. it went from 1 well per 5 acres to 2 wells per 5 acres, or something like that. Fracking now has the potential to shut down established wells, and it has, because they are too close to one another. You frack one new well and it shuts down 3 adjacent producing wells.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. There are numerous issues that most of us are too ignorant of to make responsible decisions on this topic. There is no easy answer and polarizing communities and people on these issues does nobody any good.

    My personal opinion though is that you let them come in and drill. Then get them out as quickly as possible so you can start the reclamation process. Like fixing cavities at the dentist office. It's not something you enjoy doing, but it has to be done.

  11. #11
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    The Black Swan in fracking in Colorado is the gross water use. Each frack job takes 4 million+ gallons of water. The water that flows back is generally just pumped down injection wells for disposal. There are ways to recycle, but it isn't usually done, and even if it is recycled, there is still a huge net loss in water. Another factor being ignored is that wells are often fracked multiple times during their lifespan.

    So if 2000 wells per year are fracked in NE Colorado at 4 Million gallons per, that is 8 Billion gallons of water, or 24,500 acre feet. That is a LOT of water in a place that doesn't have much, about twice as much as is held by Boulder Reservoir, for example. The Colorado Basin where much of the water for fracking in NE Colorado comes from is at 71% right now. There probably won't be a water crisis this year because the reservoirs are fat from last year, but if we get another 71% year next year, the water used for fracking will become a huge issue.

    Horizontal drilling/fracking has been done for years, and one of the things being discovered is that horizontally drilled/fracked oil and gas wells tend to deplete much faster than traditional wells of the same initial flow. We have a huge glut of natural gas in the US right now because of all of the drilling and production from horizontally drilled wells, but it won't last. Just like oil production in an area tends to follow a bell curve, overall natural gas production will eventually begin to decline. The problem is that we are going to convert thousands of power plants to run on NG, and when the production of NG starts to level off, the demand is going to be very inelastic. Ask an econ major what an inelastic demand and a limited supply means to prices. We are discovering that right now with oil.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post

    My personal opinion though is that you let them come in and drill. Then get them out as quickly as possible so you can start the reclamation process. Like fixing cavities at the dentist office. It's not something you enjoy doing, but it has to be done.
    It isn't that simple. Wells require maintenance, and have a lifespan sometimes running out to decades. Reclamation can't begin until the well is decommissioned. One of the problems is that the bond required to be posted when a well is drilled is often way lower than the reclamation costs. A company that has a bunch of wells nearing the end of their lifespan can declare bankruptcy, default on the bonds, and leave the reclamation to the surface owner, which is of course, the taxpayer in many cases in Colorado.

    The surface owner has no right to demand a bond higher than the insufficient amount required by state statutes. They just get screwed in the end.

  13. #13
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    The Black Swan in fracking in Colorado is the gross water use. Each frack job takes 4 million+ gallons of water. The water that flows back is generally just pumped down injection wells for disposal. There are ways to recycle, but it isn't usually done, and even if it is recycled, there is still a huge net loss in water. Another factor being ignored is that wells are often fracked multiple times during their lifespan.

    So if 2000 wells per year are fracked in NE Colorado at 4 Million gallons per, that is 8 Billion gallons of water, or 24,500 acre feet. That is a LOT of water in a place that doesn't have much, about twice as much as is held by Boulder Reservoir, for example. The Colorado Basin where much of the water for fracking in NE Colorado comes from is at 71% right now. There probably won't be a water crisis this year because the reservoirs are fat from last year, but if we get another 71% year next year, the water used for fracking will become a huge issue.

    Horizontal drilling/fracking has been done for years, and one of the things being discovered is that horizontally drilled/fracked oil and gas wells tend to deplete much faster than traditional wells of the same initial flow. We have a huge glut of natural gas in the US right now because of all of the drilling and production from horizontally drilled wells, but it won't last. Just like oil production in an area tends to follow a bell curve, overall natural gas production will eventually begin to decline. The problem is that we are going to convert thousands of power plants to run on NG, and when the production of NG starts to level off, the demand is going to be very inelastic. Ask an econ major what an inelastic demand and a limited supply means to prices. We are discovering that right now with oil.
    Add in the water stress if oil shale ever takes off on the western slope.

    Plus, fracking produces a lot of toxic waste that as mentioned, is injected into the ground but as the recent earthquakes in Ohio and other states have shown, even if this isn't contaminating groundwater, is not without impacts. (That's assuming that all that very nasty waste is kept contained while above ground).

  14. #14
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    Just make sure we're clear on the facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Sheeeit, If you're on a well close to a well they're fracking you might not even need to pay for your gas.

    The flaming water is bull, and was proven as such by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasland#State_of_Colorado

    The gas in their water supply was there all along and had nothing to do with the fraccing that went on in that area. They drilled their water well into a formation with naturally occurring methane, a common occurrence in areas naturally charged with hydrocarbons.

    State and Federal regulations do not allow fraccing without a significant distance between the zone being stimulated and the drinking water table, as well as natural and man-made barriers in the form of impermeable shale zones and concrete seals that prevent the possibility of fracs extending into the consumable water table. Disposal is the same way, there is a lengthy and in-depth review with state or federal agencies in the area of interest before permits are issued to dispose of used production or frac water to ensure that there is no possibility of the water mixing with the water table.

    That said, if this happens, there will and very much should be public scrutiny on the companies allowed to operate in sensitive areas, their historical performance and commitment to honoring the regulations put in place to protect the environment, as well as scrutiny of the operations if/when they become underway.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hirschmj View Post
    The flaming water is bull, and was proven as such by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasland#State_of_Colorado

    The gas in their water supply was there all along and had nothing to do with the fraccing that went on in that area. They drilled their water well into a formation with naturally occurring methane, a common occurrence in areas naturally charged with hydrocarbons.

    State and Federal regulations do not allow fraccing without a significant distance between the zone being stimulated and the drinking water table, as well as natural and man-made barriers in the form of impermeable shale zones and concrete seals that prevent the possibility of fracs extending into the consumable water table. Disposal is the same way, there is a lengthy and in-depth review with state or federal agencies in the area of interest before permits are issued to dispose of used production or frac water to ensure that there is no possibility of the water mixing with the water table.

    That said, if this happens, there will and very much should be public scrutiny on the companies allowed to operate in sensitive areas, their historical performance and commitment to honoring the regulations put in place to protect the environment, as well as scrutiny of the operations if/when they become underway.

    I bolded the statements that are problematic here.

    There is NO WAY to insure that there will never be a case of the fracking fluid and/or gas and/or oil getting into the water table, because mistakes happen. Sometimes those mistakes are a result of bad decisions, as in the Deepwater Horizon incident. In fact, a casing problem with a well similar to what happened in the Gulf is just one way a water table could be contaminated by fracking and/or drilling. Leakage of an evaporation pond is another.

    How much difference did the "historical performance and commitment to honoring the regulations put in place to protect the environment" of BP, Halliburton and TransOcean make in the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

    The problem is that Deepwater Horizon became too big to cover up, as hard as the parties involved tried.

    A little problem with a little well in the middle of NE Colorado? Hey, it never happened. It was the homeowner's fault. The problem existed before the well was drilled. They don't know what they are talking about. The industry has never fouled a well, and you can't prove anything.

    People are right to be concerned because the the past actions and attitudes of the O&G industry, not only in Colorado, but in the US and around the rest of the world.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    I bolded the statements that are problematic here.

    There is NO WAY to insure that there will never be a case of the fracking fluid and/or gas and/or oil getting into the water table, because mistakes happen. Sometimes those mistakes are a result of bad decisions, as in the Deepwater Horizon incident. In fact, a casing problem with a well similar to what happened in the Gulf is just one way a water table could be contaminated by fracking and/or drilling. Leakage of an evaporation pond is another.

    How much difference did the "historical performance and commitment to honoring the regulations put in place to protect the environment" of BP, Halliburton and TransOcean make in the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

    The problem is that Deepwater Horizon became too big to cover up, as hard as the parties involved tried.

    A little problem with a little well in the middle of NE Colorado? Hey, it never happened. It was the homeowner's fault. The problem existed before the well was drilled. They don't know what they are talking about. The industry has never fouled a well, and you can't prove anything.

    People are right to be concerned because the the past actions and attitudes of the O&G industry, not only in Colorado, but in the US and around the rest of the world.
    That's fair and well argued. I think at this point it's a question of impact and probability, how big an impact would a mistake have and how likely is it to happen. In the Deepwater Horizon incident, the answer was extremely low probability (thousands of wells completed without incident) but extremely high impact. Should you trust the oil industry after something like that? I can't made a solid case that you should, and I was working in New Orleans for one of BP's competitors at the time. We saw the drilling reports and the procedures they had in place, and our engineers were shocked at the risks they were taking. It shouldn't have happened, and it didn't have to happen. It was one of those situations where an ounce of prevention would have been worth several thousand tons of cure, but they did it anyway, insert quotes about the bottom line and all that.

    I won't argue that the industry's never fouled a well, we foul plenty, but the percentage is very small, and we do a terrible job educating the public about the steps we take to ensure the safety of the people working out there and the environment they work in, and our track record as a whole.

    I will say this, you can do molecular fingerprinting on hydrocarbon samples, it's commonly done for reservoir management and it is easy to prove that the gas they were producing in Gasland was not the same gas that the homeowners had in their water supply.

    Anyway, what point am I trying to make? I'm occasionally disgusted by the industry as well, but do know that in normal operations the risks are very low that an environmental impact will occur, and when they do the impact is typically very small, especially in on-shore operations. Boulder has every right to say NIMBY, but don't let the emotional wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and propaganda films like Gasland decide that for you.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by russman View Post
    Tell me, what do you use to heat your house?
    Hot air, dude. Lots of it to go around.
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    Hot air, dude. Lots of it to go around.
    especially in your house.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gearwhine View Post
    And so is MTBR. You are just on the other side of it. Hydraulic Fracturing is proving to many towns all over America to be detrimental. It's only people that don't live in those areas that think there is no harm in it. I work in these areas...I'm an O&G pipeline engineer and our main clients are the companies that utilize fracturing. I know there is still not a 100% viable solution to ween ourselves off of O&G yet, which is why I'm fine working here. I just wish these states would regulate more. They will not be losing money. If the gas is in their state, the players will deal with it and play.

    I can't say all the clients are as bad as brokefork puts it. Many of the smaller newcomers are very into making things as safe as possible. However, the geo-tech of the ground and the actual fracturing is contracted out. The clients only know what these contractors tell them, as well as what regulations are in place. Many of the clients are just plain dumb about the process. They are 100% business minded, but they are also willing to spend the money to at least make their their systems as safe as possible if the contractors recommend it. I know in our sector, pipelines, I have never ever heard a client say "yeah, who cares about that water shed...don't put a valve there, and use the thinner pipe". It's always leaning on the side of overbuilding. On an eastern shale project now, where federal regulations require only 2 valves on a length of pipeline, we have 9 to reduce potential spill size, and that was requested by our client.

    Anyway...back to work destroying the earth.
    agree with most of what you say, I have been out in the field with the drillers too, so I'm not just sitting around reading websites critiquing "Gasland". I no longer work in OFS and have no industry agenda.

    I only have a few followup points not directed at anyone in particular 1. Car washes and service stations are more risky to water table contamination than fracking is. I respect anyone's opinion if one opposes all threats to the water table, but I don't if one cherry picks threats based on movies and eco-fads. 2. Golf courses use/waste FAR more water every year than fracking, but I suppose since they make grass "green" its good for the environment. 3. Mother nature is a far bigger threat to our planet than humans are, so lets quit the misanthropy and go out and build some new trails in some preeble jumping mouse habitats.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin_Cup View Post
    2. Golf courses use/waste FAR more water every year than fracking, but I suppose since they make grass "green" its good for the environment.
    95% of the courses in CO use non~potable water. It might even be 100% by now.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    95% of the courses in CO use non~potable water. It might even be 100% by now.
    Man - I sure would hope the frackers use non-potable water too.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin_Cup View Post
    I only have a few followup points not directed at anyone in particular 1. Car washes and service stations are more risky to water table contamination than fracking is. .
    Car washes are supposed to contain all waste materials and have it pumped out to be disposed of in an approved facility. I worked at a wash in MI that got fined by the EPA for not following all the guidelines.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Man - I sure would hope the frackers use non-potable water too.
    Believe it or not, most of the fracking in NE Colorado is done with municipal water drawn from the closest tap.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Believe it or not, most of the fracking in NE Colorado is done with municipal water drawn from the closest tap.
    Man... that's damned crazy.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    95% of the courses in CO use non~potable water. It might even be 100% by now.
    There are still many negative implications associated with this method.

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