In case you missed it | Colorado´s new well setbacks are a joke

Oil and gas drilling in Weld County
Photo by Jefferson Dodge

Anybody else tired of hearing the state of Colorado continuously lie to us about how it has the toughest restrictions on oil and gas drilling in the nation?

In fact, lately, every time the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission makes such a statement, it’s just a signal that it’s getting ready to pass some lame half-measure designed to appease the industry at the public’s expense.

This time the hollow claim preceded the announcement that well setbacks would be pushed back to 500 feet from homes instead of the currently allowed insane distance of 350. Wow, whatever will the oil companies do under such difficult regulations? The answer is laugh all the way to the bank.

As a matter of perspective, Midland, Texas, where oil companies run the show, has had 500-foot setbacks for years. Holy crap, 500 feet in Midland, the place you’d stick the hose if you wanted to give the Lone Star State an enema, and Colorado regulators only have the balls to ask for the same measly 500 feet? It would be comic if the public’s health weren’t the punch line.

Finally, the state capped its impotent, incompetent attempt at regulation by making it illegal to drill within 1,000 feet of a nursing home or school, presumably because that would be dangerous. But if that’s true, then why is it supposedly safe to put a well 500 feet from a house that might be full of children and old people 24 hours a day? The state of Colorado is worse than incompetent when it comes to oil and gas regulation. In truth, it is simply in partnership with the industry.

But you can be sure of this: The only reason the state is doing anything, no matter how meaningless, with regard to protecting our health and property values, is because of the pressure being exerted by fractivists and communities like Longmont and counties like Boulder.

Keep up the fight and refuse to compromise, and the state might just find the guts to stand up to the industry someday. But don’t hold your breath.

Tribune sees its shadow

Like a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Tribune Co., the once-powerful media corporation that owns such brands as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Orlando Sentinel has, after four years, finally poked its head out from one of the longest bankruptcies in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Tribune has seen its shadow. According to reports, the company plans to sell its newspapers and become a multimedia company more geared towards the new digital world. Sound familiar?

Translation: The Tribune will soon be heading back into its hole having apparently learned nothing from its dark world of the past four years or the many bankruptcies of other chain-owned daily papers all trying to become hip and cool so they can appeal to all those young scallywags out there with fancy phones and other electronic contraptions with moving pictures.

Sorry guys, but calling your chain of daily newspapers along with a few TV stations a multimedia company is just putting lipstick on a dinosaur. It doesn’t make you anything but a silly looking dinosaur, and it diminishes your only actual value, which was gathering and reporting the news.

It’s hard to watch such important journalistic institutions fade away for no other reason than the fact that real estate moguls, investment bankers, website bubbleaires, hedge-fund managers and entertainment industry executives are running the show at the newspaper chains these days.

That’s why their buildings are worth more than their papers.