Oil & Gas Business

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.  

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.

Fracking: Is There a Fix to the Fight?

Domestic shale gas has transformed the US energy equation, but its development can have unacceptable impacts on air and water quality, while methane emissions from oil and gas development can undo the climate benefit of burning natural gas instead of other fossil fuels. Colorado has led the way with the nation's strongest air pollution standards for oil and gas development, including the first direct regulation of methane. Governor John Hickenlooper and Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, who worked closely on the breakthrough rules in Colorado, lead a discussion of the way forward for shale gas.

Fred Krupp, John Hickenlooper, Gillian Tett

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.

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.

The Thompson Divide prompted conflicting statements by environmental groups and Garfield County this week. Avalanche danger has been sketchy lately because of certain unusual factors.  And if a snow slide happens inside a ski area, turns out the resort isn’t to blame. A Basalt advisor wins an award for her work with female investors. We say goodbye to a member of the Aspen Public Radio family, lost too soon.  And, we’ll wrap up our coverage of Aspen area athletes going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Elise Thatcher

There’s a small army of citizen scientists just over the mountains from Carbondale. Residents in the Paonia area are donning special backpacks for twenty-four hours at a time, to collect real time data for scientific study of air pollution.  The aim is to measure what might be getting into the air from nearby oil and gas wells.

Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story. 

Alison Gannett: “Bluebell!”

Portfolio Hardcover

At least one former resident of the Roaring Fork Valley has played a part in the dramatic fracking boom in the last decade. He’s one of several characters examined in a book exploring how fracking started… and there’s an odd connection to restaurants and even the OJ Simpson trial.

 

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