The page is reserved for news articles relevant to the mission of the Larimer Alliance at the state level, arranged in descending chronological order (most recent first) except for the Featured Top Story:
STATE AUDIT FINDS COLORADO OIL & GAS COMPANIES NOT PAYING SEVERANCE TAXES FOR YEARS: the following news articles shocked the state when a new report from the State Auditor office discovered a pattern of non-enforcement of lax reporting from the oil & gas industry for years; several news outlets reported on this, a few listed here. This was a huge impression on the state regulatory agency, the COGCC, charged with overseeing this function:
Original report from State Auditor office, Jan 14, 2020
In wake of oil and gas tax audit, advocates seek penalties and reform, Colorado Independent, Feb 4, 2020
Audit Slaps Colorado For Sloppy Oil And Gas Tracking, Lost Tax Revenues, Colorado Public News, Jan 28, 2020
Millions in oil, gas taxes may have been lost because Colorado regulators didn’t enforce reporting rules, Colorado Sun, Jan 29, 2020
The following story on the lawsuit about the COGCC possibly breaking the law by continuing to issue drilling permits after the passage of SB-181 in April 2019:
"Colorado residents ask district court to halt oil and gas drilling until new regulations are in place", The Colorado Independent, Oct 9, 2019
A lawsuit has been filed, perhaps the first of its kind, against the COGCC that it is breaking the law by continuing to issue drilling permits since the passage of SB-181. An important case that is sure to have important implications for how SB-181 gets interpreted and enforced.
Data show fracking wells pollute Boulder County air, The Boulder Reporter, posted Dec 12, 2019.
Though this article is a year old (12/19/18), it was posted to the LA listserv today, and has been included here for everyone's information, as it is still quite relevant . Drawing on information from a public presentation in Longmong on Nov 28, 2018 by INSTAAR professor Dr. Detlev Helmig, the article points to VOCs polluting the air of Boulder County are definitely from oil and gas operations, coming from eastern Boulder county and Weld County. At that presentation, Dr. Helmig correctly predicted that the EPA rating of the Front Range area air quality would likely be downgraded to an "F" quality rating in the future, which did happen on Sept 6, 2019 (see Westword story: Big EPA Hearing on Denver Air Quality Explained, Sept 5, 2019)
Decision to allow homes to be built near oil and gas drilling facilities contributed to fatal Firestone blast, Colorado Sun, Oct 29, 2019
An historic announcement, made by the National Transportation Board, the federal agency charged with investigation of the explosion, definitively blames the gas company Anadarko for negligence in causing the tragedy.
Though little comfort to those still affected, the article supplies more public evidence of how negligent both the state regulators and the oil and gas industry have been in allowing the industry to "self regulate" its extensive network of pipelines for transporting oil and gas.
Colorado Talks A Mean Game On Methane. Bad Data, No Best Practices Say Otherwise, CPR News, Dec 5, 2019.
An incisive article that focuses on the state's somewhat suspect methods of monitoring air quality for methane and VOC's. The upshot? The state needs to invest more funds in more and better air quality monitoring stations. INSTAAR's real-time VOC measuring equipment at the Boulder Reservoir site is setting the bar for what is needed; not the air canister system that the state is using -- which they then have to ship out of state to have analyzed by third party contractors. Good links in the article to other supporting articles. Kudos to the NOAA scientists who volunteered their time and expertise to correct where the state data was wrong.
State health department publishes oil and gas health risk study, CDPHE press release, Oct 17, 2019.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has finally arrived at the obvious, which anti-fracking community groups up and down the Front Range have been stridently declaring for years: that living in proximity to fracking drilling rigs produces sickness and lasting disease, and that the proximity rules set by the COGCC are way too lax, favoring the industry over health and safety.
But this is still a highly significant report, jointly released by the CDPHE and COGCC, which is going to have a big impact on COGCC policy.
The ACTUAL REPORT, all 380 pages, can be here.
Boulder County to appeal rulings in lawsuit against Crestone Peak Resources over oil and gas leases, bouldercounty.org, Sept 24, 2019.
Boulder County Commissioners have declared a moratorium on any new drilling permits in the county until March 20, 2020. The Boulder District Court issued its decision on Sept 23, 2019 on a 140 well proposal by Crestone Drilling, deciding with Crestone on many of them to allow drilling to go forward, and even ordering that the county pay Crestone's attorneys fees. To quote the article: "The county disagrees with the court’s rulings on the leases and intends to appeal."
Clean Air Testing Progresses at Union Reservoir, Longmont Observer, Sept 28, 2019
A status report on the progress of installing the air quality monitors in Longmont, based on the INSTAAR-built station at Boulder Reservoir. Expectations are for it to be fully operational, and reporting real-time data to a website, by early 2020.
In a twist, Colorado asks EPA to lower state’s air rating, APnews.com, Sept 6, 2019
At this important EPA hearing in Denver on this date, Governor Polis led the request to the EPA of no longer exempting the Denver region from air pollution rules, and thus acknowledging that the Front Range, from Denver and Golden to Greeley and Fort Collins, has been out of compliance for ozone pollution since 2007. If accepted by the EPA, this would immediately put Denver's air rating in an "F" category (on a letter grading system). The EPA is expected to make a decision by the end of 2019. Business groups registered their opposition to the position. Other citizens testified how ozone has created health problems with their ability to breathe, and the danger to children and elders, who are more susceptible.
2019 Mineral Rights Leases Rejected, adams12.org, Sept 5, 2019
The Adams 12 school district board (Broomfield) voted unanimously to reject offers from Extraction and Great Western to lease minerals on their lands for fracking. This comes after several years of the school district agreeing to mineral rights leases, because it felt it had no choice; but with the passage of SB-181, and the breaking of the forced pooling tactic used by the industy in the the past, the board felt empowered to make this decision.
Chaos and Old Night: Fracking’s Hell Fires Still Burn Bright in Colorado by Phil Doe, counterpunch.org, Sept 3, 2019
Phil Doe was a manager at the BLM for his entire career, and has been writing incisive articles about fracking and water issues in Colorado for many years. In this article he argues that little has changed since passing SB-181, and blames the Polis administration and the new COGCC director for not enforcing the intent of the law.