Oil & Gas Business

Your Evening News - December 9th, 2014

Dec 9, 2014

Environmentalists Praise White River National Forest Drilling Plan

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it protects much of the contested Thompson Divide. The long-awaited plan maps out where future oil and gas leasing can happen on the 2.2 million acre White River National Forest. It calls for closing more than 1.2 million acres to oil and gas leasing including much of the contested Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. The Thompson Divide Coalition is working to protect that area. Executive Director Zane Kessler calls the plan “a good step.”

“We’re excited that the Forest Service has taken a very strong, conservation minded lead on this.”

More work needs to be done, he says, because 100,000 acres already leased on the Divide won’t be affected by the Forest Service plan. The plan only applies to future leasing.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Aspen City Council decides to take up lodging incentives again-- but much more cautiously.

Garfield County Commissioners suggest alternate routes for energy companies to reach leases on the contested Thompson Divide.

And the Glenwood Springs Police Department aims to crack down on people who don’t lock up their trash from bears.

The USA Pro Challenge announces Aspen will be included again in its route for 2015, only this time it won’t be the start.

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.

peggytibbetts.net

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.

Ben Knight

  Film has played a major role in the fracking debate in Colorado and around the country. Tonight, there’s a new fracking movie showing at the Wheeler Opera House. “Dear Governor Hickenlooper” is a collection of short films about oil and gas drilling. Most are critical of the industry. Stash Wislocki is the Director of Dear Governor Hickenlooper film. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher.

The American Renewable Energy Day, or AREday, continues in Aspen. Participants are exploring all manner of angles about clean energy… and also what tactics to take against oil, coal, and other fossil fuel development. 

In a news conference Monday Governor John Hickenlooper, alongside Democratic Congressman Jared Polis and other supporters, announced a deal on local control for oil and gas, heading off a showdown on the November ballot.

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.

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