oil and gas

Your Morning News - November 24th, 2014

Nov 24, 2014

Drilling to Begin on the Roan Plateau 

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry reached an agreement on Friday regarding a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau near Rifle.

The Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop was one of the ten conservation and sportsmens’ groups involved in the lawsuit. On Friday they released a statement saying they’re extremely pleased with the outcome.

Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District Money Matters

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

Marci Krivonen

In one of the only contested Garfield County races, two candidates with different viewpoints are running for county commissioner. Incumbent republican Tom Jankovsky is seeking a second four-year term. He’s being challenged by Michael Sullivan, a democrat, who says he’d represent a voice that’s going unheard. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

District One in Garfield County covers Carbondale and parts of Glenwood Springs. Candidate Michael Sullivan says he typifies the values and concerns in this area.


Many fractivists across Colorado felt deeply betrayed by Governor John Hickenlooper this summer, when he announced a grand bargain over fracking. After meeting with members of the oil and gas industry and environmental groups, everyone agreed to drop ballot measures for and against drilling… instead agreeing to a statewide task force. Now fractivists are faced with a tough choice in the upcoming election. The gubernatorial race has turned razor thin, and they must decide whether to vote for Hickenlooper, or accept a more drilling friendly Republican administration.

Marci Krivonen

CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business released a study last week tracking how much money the oil and gas industry has contributed to the Colorado economy. Researchers found billions of dollars were generated over a four-year period.

The study was commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute and looks at energy development in each county from 2008 to 2012. During that time, the energy industry generated more than $126 billion statewide, the analysis finds.

Marci Krivonen

As the fight to keep natural gas drilling out of an area known as the Thompson Divide continues, two Roaring Fork Valley residents who operate lodging near the Divide flew over the contested area last week with Ecoflight. They say energy development would hurt their business. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen went on the flyover and filed this report.

The clouds are clearing as our Cessna 210 leaves the ground. It’s a smooth takeoff and right away, snowcapped peaks come into view.

Bureau of Land Management

The Colorado branch of the federal Bureau of Land Management is welcoming a new district manager. Joe Meyer will be in charge of the Northwest corner of the state, including the field office closest to the Roaring Fork Valley, in Silt. The long-time Wyoming Field Manager will begin his new job in Colorado next week. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with him from his office in Casper.

Joe Meyer is the BLM’s new Northwest Colorado District Manager. His home base will be in Grand Junction.

Huffington Post/Associated Press

Supporters of oil and gas production will hold a discussion tonight in Aspen. The Pitkin County Republicans are hosting filmmakers who have challenged the premise and facts behind the anti-fracking film “Gasland.” One of the goals is to figure out whether or not fracking is a good idea.  

Valley Roundup - July 11th, 2014

Jul 11, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories of the week in the Roaring Fork Valley.

This week - Fracking. 

Aspen Public Radio and the Aspen Times toured a drilling and hydraulic fracturing rig in Parachute recently and this week our stories ran.  Joining us are Scott Condon reporter for the Aspen Times and our own Elise Thatcher.

On the November ballot this year voters will have a number of fracking issues to decide, among them whether local communities should have control over oil and gas exploration.

Our reporting looked at one fracking operation run by WPX Energy.  It is one of the big players in the industry.  We got an up close look at what is going on at drilling rig H & P 318.

Mountain Edition - July 10th, 2014

Jul 10, 2014

Today we have a tour of a drilling and fracking site near the Roaring Fork Valley

We’ll hear exactly what goes on there and what it sounds like.

That site and many others in Colorado use infrastructure called injection wells and they’re causing earthquakes in Oklahoma.

Legal marijuana plants and edibles must be tested before they’re sold and just three labs are doing all the testing.

A new brewery in Glenwood Springs debuts a new kind of beer in the Valley – be prepared to pucker up.

And a local favorite tells all about his new book, about hosting the long running Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Shemin Ge

Drilling for oil and gas brings up a lot of water. If operators don’t reuse it for something else, they often pump it back down into the ground. The water goes down in what are called  injection wells-- and new research shows they can definitely cause earthquakes, at least in Oklahoma. Geology Professor Shemin Ge is with the University of Colorado at Boulder. She worked on the study, and spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher. Ge says it took different kinds of scientists working together to figure out what’s going on.

Roger Adams

The word “fracking” has come to mean drilling in general for oil and gas-- and a major concern for communities and environmentalists in Colorado and elsewhere.In reality the process of hydraulic fracturing is a specialized procedure used to create cracks in shale deposits thousands of feet underground which in turn releases trapped natural gas.  There are hundreds of fracked wells in Garfield County. Often you can see them from the highway.  Recently Aspen Public Radio got a tour of a fracking operation run by WPX Energy near Parachute.  Hear the story by APR's Elise Thatcher below.  See a slideshow of photographs of the rig by APR's Roger Adams HERE.

Screenshot from aspeninstitute.org

Colorado residents can vote this fall on whether communities can limit oil and gas drilling. The state supreme court approved four ballot measures Monday, June 30th, that allows such questions. The decision comes as Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper is in Aspen, speaking at the Ideas Festival about existing rules for the industry. He was joined yesterday by the head of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp.

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.

Pitkin County To BLM: Cancel Thompson Divide Leases

May 14, 2014
Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is reiterating its opposition to drilling in the Thompson Divide area through a letter to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking comments on its review of 65 oil and gas leases that stretch over the White River National Forest. Twenty-five of those leases are in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale.

Mountain Edition – May 8th, 2014

May 8, 2014

Residents vote for change on the boards that represent Carbondale’s emergency services and a mid-valley park district.

New test results show third graders in the Roaring Fork Valley are better at reading than the statewide average.

A state senator wraps up her time under the gold dome in Denver.

And oil and gas proponents voice strong support for continuing to drill in Garfield County.

We’ll let you know what to expect for the upcoming Aspen Music Festival and School summer season.

And we get a taste of what Aspen middle and high school band students learned this year from a long-time jazz musician. 

Oil, Gas Advocates: Leases Should Not Be Cancelled

May 6, 2014
Bureau of Land Management

A set of meetings on how to manage dozens of oil and gas leases in Western Colorado wrapped up last week, and opinions vary wildly. The Bureau of Land Management held the meetings in April and May to solicit public feedback.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the week’s top news stories in Aspen and beyond.  

Joining us today are Carolyn Sackariason, Editor of the Aspen Daily News and Andy Stone, former editor of and now columnist for the Aspen Times.

This month special taxing districts are holding elections for their boards.  Two are getting a lot of attention because of what happened in their last elections.  Critics are running for seats this time. 

One of those is the Crown Mountain Recreation District. Also facing a shuffle is the Carbondale Fire District.

This week legal wrangling continued over opening files in the Nancy Pfister murder case.

Today we talk with Aspen Times reporter Scott Condon about a squabble in the valley’s environmental activist community.

And, there was more evidence this week that marijuana is getting respectable….The Colorado Symphony Orchestra wants pot smokers to shed the tie-dye and clip on a cumber bun. 


Garfield County recently released a report showing air pollution is on a decreasing trend. County officials attribute the decline in part, to improvements in how oil and gas companies operate in the region. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, some county residents don’t think the numbers tell the whole story.

Mountain Edition - April 24th, 2014

Apr 24, 2014

A judge schedules the first major court hearings in the Nancy Pfister murder case. Three people are charged with conspiring to kill the Aspen native.

A new study shows there may be a link between natural gas development and defects that develop in a child before birth.

Has Aspen become too expensive for the middle class? We talk to local residents and young business owners to find out how they’re making it work.

Finally, a local theatrical group - the Hudson Reed Ensemble is already preparing for summer. It’ll bring back a favorite event - Shakespeare in the Park.