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Oil and Gas Industry myth vs. reality Longmont Planning Committees December 7, 2011 Weston Wilson EPA (retired)

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Presentation on theme: "Oil and Gas Industry myth vs. reality Longmont Planning Committees December 7, 2011 Weston Wilson EPA (retired)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Oil and Gas Industry myth vs. reality Longmont Planning Committees December 7, 2011 Weston Wilson EPA (retired)

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4 Myth #1 - Fracking is a 60-year-old, safe, and proven technology High-volume, chemical fracking in horizontal wells from multi-well pads is years old. With virtually no scientific investigation, the jury is still out on whether this new technology is safe.

5 Contamination from bad wells and accidents Bad well construction (bad wells gone bad) Spills – especially spills of undiluted fluids Leaking Pits – frack flow-back fluids placed in open pits Production fluids mismanagement - frack fluids are re-injected or hauled to landfills

6 Contamination that could be systemic Good wells gone bad -pathway allowed by brittle geology Air pathways from pits and condensate tanks Evaporation of toxic frack fluids and VOCs from open pits VOCs could later condense and rain on an ecosystem

7 Myth #2 - Natural gas is a clean fuel Yes, natural gas has no SOx, NOx, or particulates when burned Unconventional wells leak 250x more methane than conventional wells. Natural gas production results in more global warming than coal % methane leakage rate methane has 105x heat trapping effect compared to CO2 over 20 years

8 Myth #3 - Fluid migration from faulty wells is rare Fluid migration is not rare. Canadian researchers found 12% of new wells leaked. EPA found benzene, toluene, and 2BE, near Pavilion, Wyo. Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, said it is possible that fracking caused this contamination. COGCC report on Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer found 36% of gas wells had gas flow in the surface casing and all 9 water wells tested had biogenic gas. Greater Wattenburg Baseline Study Report by LT Environmental, Inc., for COGCC, June 2007, page 3-1.

9 Myth #4 - COGCCs Correcting Gasland refutes Colorado cases GOGCC actions actually confirm key Colorado scenes shown in Gasland Weld Co. - Aimee Ellsworths well had thermogenic gas and she reached a settlement with industry, cause not determined. Garfield Co. - Stream near Lisa Brackens property had thermogenic gas 1500 feet away, faulty well the cause.

10 Myth #5 - State claims that their data shows no ground water contamination State uses domestic wells where homeowners volunteer, not suited for scientific inquiry Neither state nor industry determines the cause of contamination events Industry investigates to defend industry -not at fault. State fails to determine cause in almost all cases. And, if industry is at fault, landowner agreement with non-disclosure clause prevents investigation.

11 Myth #6 - Cities and Counties are pre-empted from regulating oil and gas activities Cities /counties can regulate if not materially different and in harmony with state rules. setbacks greater than 150/350 feet obligate clean-up to pre-existing conditions require closed-loop systems benign fluids could be required ground water monitoring wells obligated

12 Myth #7 - Colorado Cites cannot stop drilling due to legislative pre-emption Colorado Home-rule Communities have authority under the States Constitution to restrict industrial activity. Neither property rights, nor contracts rights are absolute, for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the detriment of his fellows. Supreme Court, 1932 Pittsburg did it -- so did 140 other communities in Pa. and New York. New York City has banned drilling in watershed by legislative action.

13 Thank you


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