Behind closed doors

Recording from oil-and-gas gathering sheds light on industry efforts to defeat ballot measures, take over city councils and stop the anti-fracking movement

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Mark Goodman

A recording made during a 2015 meeting of oil and gas industry representatives and state regulators has surfaced. We believe the information from this recording is important to Colorado voters because its contents illustrate just how far the oil and gas industry is going to protect its ability to pursue the unbridled production of fossil fuels in our state.

If you’ve been paying attention, you knew the battle over oil and gas extraction, including fracking, was going to get ugly this year. After what happened in 2014, it was inevitable.

For those of you new to Colorado or the ongoing fight over fracking, here’s a very brief history lesson.

In 2014, Colorado voters signed their names more than a quarter of a million times to petitions in an effort to put two initiatives on that year’s November ballot. One initiative would have given communities more control over oil and gas operations within their city limits, and the other would have established a 2,000-foot setback or buffer zone between oil and gas operations and occupied dwellings, schools and hospitals.

It is an understatement to say that the oil and gas industry opposed these two initiatives.

In the end, the industry used its political influence and money, and even enlisted the help of a few “Big Green” environmental groups with ties to funders supporting the use of natural gas as part of a “clean energy” strategy to make sure the signatures never made it to the Secretary of State’s Office to be counted or authenticated.

Instead, the voters’ signatures were traded away at the last second to Governor John Hickenlooper, whose enthusiastic support for the oil and gas industry is legendary in this state.

In the end, the signatures of the voters — and many would argue the entire democratic process — were traded away in exchange for a meaningless blue-ribbon task force Hickenlooper established supposedly to study fracking and make recommendations to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The COGCC is the state agency bizarrely charged with the duel tasks of both regulating and promoting the oil and gas industry. Critics argue that it does half of that job description very well.

The impotency of the Governor’s task force was a given from its inception, as he appointed oil and gas industry insiders to at least half the seats on the task force while simultaneously declaring that any recommendations must carry a two-thirds vote to be considered. Couple this with the fact the COGCC is even more stacked with Hickenlooper appointed pro-industry insiders than his task force, and you can imagine the fate of even the most watered-down task-force recommendations that managed to cross the commission’s desk.

By most accounts, the task force accomplished nothing. But as you will see shortly, when it thinks no one is listening, the industry calls it a substantial victory (see slide from CRED presentation ).

For the many who had worked tirelessly for the right to vote on fracking, the last-minute killing of the 2014 initiative signatures was the political equivalent of a mob hit on Colorado voters.

Cut to 2016
Proposed ballot Initiatives #75 and #78, which are currently gathering signatures, would, if enough voters sign up, put community control over oil and gas operations within a town’s city limits and the creation of a 2,500-foot setback or buffer zone between oil and gas operations and homes, schools and hospitals on the upcoming November ballot.

It would be more than an understatement to say that the oil and gas industry and the politicians it controls are opposed to this latest attempt to give voters a say over oil and gas operations in close proximity to their homes and neighborhoods.

As a result of this ongoing struggle over the oil and gas industry’s impact on health, property values, quality of life and the environment, a political war has erupted in Colorado this election cycle.

As anyone who lives here will tell you, this battle cannot be ignored. All of us have been inundated by tens of millions of dollars worth of TV ads, digital ads, newspaper ads, direct mailers, people at our door, people gathering signatures on petitions, newspaper editorials and letters to the editor.

By the industry’s own measure, nearly 90 percent of us are now familiar with the term fracking.

That being the case, the battle is no longer about raising awareness of fracking, but rather about shaping the public’s perception of that term and what it means for our state’s and planet’s future.

Boulder Weekly has written more extensively on the politics of this issue than any other news organization in the state. Two of our previous investigative reports now serve as primers to this issue: “Who killed the vote on fracking?” published Oct. 2, 2014 and “Behind the curtain,” published Sept. 17, 2015.

These two reports have won numerous regional and national journalism awards and represent months of investigative efforts to follow the money, organizations and political connections that have, and continue, to shape the oil and gas industry’s efforts to stop the people of Colorado from voting on ballot initiatives concerning setbacks and community control over oil and gas extraction.

I point this out only because the information found in these two BW investigations is critical to a more full understanding of the information found in several of the stories and columns published in this week’s edition, including this one.

Each of the reports mentioned is extremely long and quite complex and cannot be simply recapped here. For that reason, we hope that you will take the time to revisit these articles, as we believe they will offer valuable additional context to the information presented here.

The recording referenced above was obtained by Greenpeace at the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) conference held in September 2015.

The recording was made during a presentation by consultant Mark Truax of PAC/WEST Communications who is also Director of Operations and Coalitions for CRED, Pac/West’s largest Colorado client.

As a resource for our readers, we have published a large cache of excerpts from the recording as a sidebar to this story so voters can read them for themselves.

see sidebar at the end of this article

CRED is an oil and gas industry front group created, and primarily funded, by Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy Company, two of the largest oil and gas producers in Colorado. CRED claims it is purely an educational organization, but previous Boulder Weekly investigations have found that it has strong ties to other pro-oil groups including Colorado Concern, Vital for Colorado, Protect Colorado, Common Sense Policy Roundtable and EIS solutions.
In many instances, these organizations share board members and serve specific functions in support of each other’s organizations and agendas.

The IOGCC meeting at which the referenced recording was made is a little-known, multi-state governmental agency created in 1935 by Congress at a time when oil prices were slumping due to overproduction so the federal government decided to do something about it.

The idea behind the organization was to get all the state regulators together with the industry so they could communicate with one another and then make suggestions that would be helpful to all involved.

It may have been a good idea nearly a century ago, but critics claim the IOGCC of today is little more than an industry lobbying mechanism that allows state regulators to be wined, dined and inappropriately influenced by those in the oil and gas industry they are supposed to be overseeing.

According to an InsideClimate News investigation published in April 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice told a congressional subcommittee in 1978 that the IOGCC should be dissolved because it had become nothing more than an advocacy agency and as a result, it believed continued tax-payer support was inappropriate.

Not surprisingly, Congress didn’t listen.

This past May, the IOGCC held its meeting in Denver. As reported by Boulder Weekly at the time, the meeting was technically “open” to the public but BW was the only Colorado news organization in attendance. Individual citizens could have attended but they were never invited and those who did know about the meeting were informed they would have to pay nearly $400 to get in the door.

It is likely because of this lack of journalistic oversight and affordable public access to the gatherings over the decades, that the IOGCC has become a place where industry insiders tend to drop their guard and talk honestly, even bluntly about the state of the oil and gas industry, their cozy relationship with state regulators and politicians, and their shared goal with those regulators of promoting production and fighting all organized efforts to restrain that production or add profit-harming environmental regulations to the process.

Why do we think it is important for Colorado voters to know what was said during CRED’s 2015 IOGCC presentation? Because we believe what was disclosed is both shocking and a threat to the future of Colorado’s democratic process.

For instance, the CRED presentation readily admits that the organization is actively working to take over local city councils in order to prevent any future bans or moratoriums from making it into law. And according to the recording, they have been quite successful.

Truax told those in the room, they did, “even more of a preemptive strike in Fort Collins, looking at electing a pro [oil and gas] city council, and making sure that the right city council members got elected to the city council to stop a potential fracking ban. And finally in Denver, this was kind of a one-two punch. In February we had some op-eds and editorials go out. John Fielder, who does beautiful Colorado landscape photography I’m sure many of you have seen it, he did an anti-fracking rally on the steps of the city council. We countered that and took the wind out of their sails in about a total of seven days. Including two meetings with the editorial board at the Denver Post, and a subsequent editorial saying this is ludicrous. We then also elected a pro city council, a pro-energy city council 7-6 on the conservative count, my count is like 9-4 in our favor for Denver City Council. To try and push something through there, which the opposition was trying to do, is now very difficult. So we have been very, very (inaudible). And we’ve been able to keep municipal ballots and municipal ballot measures off in every city and county across Colorado… ”

So not only is CRED impacting the make up of our local city governments, according to the recording, it’s using the Denver Post as just another weapon in its arsenal to do so.
For more than two years Boulder Weekly has been commenting on the Denver Post’s overly cozy relationship to the oil and gas industry, from its pro-fracking “energy and environment” section that was paid for by CRED to the fact that the paper’s CEO and President Mac Tully is actually a member of Colorado Concern, arguably the state’s most powerful organization when it comes to supporting fracking and unbridled oil and gas extraction. As a result, the Denver Post has often shown itself to be a blind watchdog over the oil and gas industry.

This CRED recording certainly seems to confirm the newspaper’s involvement in helping to push the oil and gas industry’s agenda.

As a side note, subsequent to this recording being made, evidence has come to light that Thornton’s City Council has also fallen to the industry using the same formula described in the Denver takeover.
When community rights activists in Thornton became concerned with drilling and fracking operations being proposed in close proximity to their children’s schools they were frustrated by the lack of action from their city council. So they tried to gather enough signatures to recall councilwoman Jan Kulmann, whom they claimed had a conflict of interest because her husband is the deputy director of the COGCC and she is employed by Noble Energy.

The Thornton anti-fracking parents claim these facts were not disclosed during her run for council.

But just as the recall effort got rolling it ran head on into Colorado Concern, Vital for Colorado and the Denver Post.

As it turns out, Councilwoman Kulmann represents the swing vote in favor of the oil and gas industry on the Thornton council and her recall could have had serious implications for the industry’s plans for drilling in the city.

So once the recall effort was announced, Colorado Concern and Vital for Colorado, which Truax describes as basically a wing of CRED on the recording, began to buy TV commercials opposing the recall and even paid for anti-recall door hangers to be placed throughout Kulmann’s district. It’s hard to imagine investing in TV ads for a single seat on a city council.

And finally, as one would expect based on the comments captured on the recording, the Denver Post did its part and came out blasting the recall effort.

I should point out that while the Denver Post took the time to write in opposition to the recall, it didn’t make any effort to cover a massive all-day protest near the proposed well site by the school. The protest involved hundreds of citizens concerned about fracking setting up a makeshift eco-festival illegally on open space lands. Guest speakers at the rally included nationally recognized environmental leaders such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben, and culminated in the takeover of a nearby well by activists who were confronted by no less than 15 police officers threatening their arrest.

What should have been one of the state’s biggest stories of the day didn’t get a drop of ink from the state’s biggest newspaper.

How odd.

But as the CRED recording states, the council takeovers, coupled with the industry’s ability to get what it wants from the editorial board of the Denver Post, is a real “one-two punch.”

The recording also demonstrates other, even more troubling industry intervention into our political processes.

At one point, Truax shows the audience a slide which he refers to as his “NASCAR slide” and tells the audience that CRED “put together” Vital for Colorado and refers to Vital’s supporting organizations as belonging to CRED. He also describes how CRED uses these organizations to counter anti-fracking efforts at the municipal level on a moment’s notice.

Considering that CRED has long insisted it is a nonprofit organization exclusively committed to educating the public, it sure seems to be spending a lot of time boasting about its control over other oil and gas front groups, its having elected pro-oil city councils and its successes at overturning municipal decisions that might have hindered oil and gas extraction on this recording.

It is impressive, but it also raises questions about the organization’s claims of being focused entirely on education.

The tape also captures Truax illuminating CRED’s unprecedented propaganda machine to his industry peers and the state regulators in the room (See slide 1 here).

He describes in some detail how CRED uses the information it has gathered on 3.9 million Coloradans which it has placed into a database used to selectively target individuals with information designed specifically to influence them based on their previously expressed opinions about oil, gas and fracking and/or whether they are a Democrat, Republican, or independent voter, or even something as nuanced as a person still stuck in the Cold War fear of Russia.

It is an impressive machine to be sure, so long as people are unaware of its existence.

On the recording, Truax is heard telling his audience that it was CRED’s targeted information outreach that was directly responsible for the last minute reversing of what appeared to be impending victories for anti-fracking voters in Loveland, Windsor and other places.

Another disturbing aspect of this recording is the revelation that CRED is actually spending money to try and improve the public image and profile of the COGCC, (see slide 2 here). But why?

According to the recording, to persuade people the industry is properly regulated.

But the CRED/COGCC conflicts of interest don’t stop there.

The entire CRED presentation that was recorded —

including its candid descriptions of:

1) how it is taking over city councils
2) how it’s using the Denver Post to push its agenda
3) how it created and now uses Vital for Colorado to intervene and change the outcomes of local municipal decisions
4) how it is spending tens of millions of dollars to gather information on Colorado voters so it can manipulate election outcomes and keep setback and community rights initiatives off the ballot
5) how it is working to change the constitution so citizens will no longer be able to put forward ballot measures in the future
6) how it has created specific strategies to defeat grassroots environmental groups working to create stricter regulations on the industry in Colorado
7) how it is even spending money to prop up the flailing image of the state agency charged with regulating it so people will think that it is doing a good job

— occurred in the presence of, and with the full support of, Colorado regulators including Matt Lepore, Governor John Hickenlooper’s appointed director of the COGCC.

If there was ever any question as to whether the relationship between the COGCC and the oil and gas industry has become so inappropriate as to disqualify the Commission from its charge as industry regulator, this recording has answered that question.

Yes, the members of this COGCC and the governor who appointed them, and is responsible for their actions, have lost all credibility when it comes to oversight of the oil and gas industry.

State of Colorado oil and gas regulators, like the state’s governor and the corporate media who have been on the receiving end of the largest ad buy in state history for years now, have become no more than arrows in the oil and gas industry quiver aimed at unsuspecting voters.

This recording makes it abundantly clear that all of the persons and entities mentioned above are fully aware of what CRED and Vital for Colorado and Protect Colorado and the Common Sense Policy Roundtable and all the other industry front groups are doing to subvert local governments, manipulate voters and put forward questionable, industry-generated faux research (see DyerTimes), which is then passed on to voters by a compliant newsmedia.

They know and yet they do nothing to stop it, or at the very least, expose it.

And it gets even uglier than that. These oil and gas industry front groups are supported and run by boards comprised of some of the state’s wealthiest funders, or their surrogates, of both the establishment Democratic and Republican Parties (see “Behind the curtain”).

As Boulder Weekly investigations have previously confirmed, this is not a blue/red issue. It is a millionaire/billionaire/corporations verses the rest of us issue.

And the war is heating up as the time for gathering signatures for initiatives #75 and #78 is drawing to a close and the time for voting is nearly upon us.

At this year’s IOGCC meeting in Denver, an industry participant asked the panel on crisis communication training what could be done if there is a journalist who keeps writing negatively about the industry.

Karen Crummy, a former Denver Post reporter who was presenting at the Denver IOGCC panel as the Communications Director for CRED and who is also the Communications Director for Protect Colorado suggested, “If you’re having a problem with a certain reporter, go do some oppo [opposition] research on them. Are they contributing to campaigns? Are they the member of a business group or an environmental [group]?”

It was apparently the kind of answer the industry is more than willing to embrace.

On July 19, The Intercept published an article based on documents it obtained through an open records request showing that both the Bureau of Land Management and the Lakewood police had used undercover agents to infiltrate an anti-fracking protest in Lakewood. The protest took place at a BLM oil and gas lease auction being held at a Lakewood Holiday Inn on May 12. BW covered the protest in its May 19 issue.

Perhaps the most disturbing documents to come from the open records request were those showing that Anadarko Petroleum has established its own intelligence gathering operation in Colorado, which has apparently infiltrated various environmental groups opposed to fracking. And its information is making it into the hands of the federal government and local authorities.

In addition, as the signature gathering process for Initiatives #75 and #78 rolls into its final week, signature gatherers are reporting an increase in incidents of harassment and even threats of violence, some of which have been reported to police.

It would seem the political war of 2016 is escalating into something more ominous.

The oil and gas industry ads are getting more aggressive, more negative. It is clear that the industry front groups are afraid that the initiatives are going to make the ballot this time around, and then who knows. It is certainly an election year that has dispelled the myth that the big money always wins. The oil and gas industry knows it, and so do Colorado voters.

SIDEBAR

The following are transcribed excerpts of a recording

The transcription was given to Boulder Weekly after being obtained by Greenpeace at an IOGCC Conference in September 2015.
The conference was the annual meeting of the IOGCC, which took place in Oklahoma city, Oklahoma, September 27-30.
The recording came from a panel titled “Taking Back the Fracking Debate: Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development.”
The panel was presented by Mark Truax, director of operations and coalitions, Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED). Truax is a consultant for Pac/West Communications. CRED is Pac/West’s largest Colorado client. According to Pac/West’s website, Truax’ role at CRED is to manage “day-to-day operations of the statewide educational campaign focusing on hydraulic fracturing, fracking, on behalf of Noble Energy Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. This role requires Mark to oversee the day-to-day aspects including research, outreach, communications, digital, direct mail, and field operations.”
Excerpts:
(Mark Truax speaking unless otherwise noted)
A slide presentation accompanied his remarks

Tranascript of recording:

So in 2012, the industry was taking on water, the oil and gas industry was taking on water from all sides. Facing a frack ban in the city of Longmont and lost 60-40. The best way I can describe, that is, that was Colorado’s version of what happened in Denton last year. And that was the wake up call for the industry to go uh-huh we’re not isolated from these attacks and we’ve got some big problems that we have to correct. So Noble and Anadarko came together and thanks to their leadership and commitment, said, we’ve got to do something different. We’re facing four ballot initiatives in four municipalities. In November of 2013 Boulder, Broomfield, Lafayette and Fort Collins — for those of you not familiar with Colorado geography, those are all municipalities that are just on the edge of oil and gas development. So they were kind of in the back yard but they weren’t in the belly of the beast like Firestone and Greeley and some of those others …

CRED had started a few months before. We did not have, we didn’t work on those measures and that’s OK. We used them to do a little research. And what we found is in August of 2013, 88 percent of Coloradans knew about fracking.

I said guys, 88percent of Coloradans know this and they are receiving their information 2 to 1 from the opposition with that word [Fracking] … So we had to really come in, put on helmet and shoulder pads and develop an education effort and that’s what we’ve done. And it has been a remarkable ride the last 26 months. So CRED, again started by Noble and Anadarko, we are a 501c(6), very similar to a trade association.

A lot of these types of efforts, Wednesday after election day, go into the office, clean out your desk, turn off the lights, make sure the office is tidy and go home. We are a continual, multi-year education effort.

Looking at this [referring to a slide], everyone loves their oil and gas industry and everyone loves oil and gas production, in Colorado, to the tune of 70 percent. Most recently in September 2015 we are at 76 percent. Can anyone tell me what word is missing from this slide? Fracking. When you add the word fracking — you guys are a good bunch, the coffee must be kicking in — when you add the word fracking that number drops. You can see in September of 2013 that number had dropped down to 55 percent support for fracking. Very high numbers for the opposition.

A couple organizations that I want to pick on, and get through today, to highlight. Food and Water Watch — how many of you have heard of Food and Water Watch? How many of you are concerned about Food and Water Watch and the activities that they do? We are as well. However, 76 percent of Coloradans have never heard of them. So while we spend a lot of time working and focusing on this, we’re not going to chase their message down around them, because only 10-13 percent have focused and actually heard of Food and Water Watch. So we want to make sure we counter those types of concerns, but we don’t spend all of our time directly countering these types of organizations. Same with the Environmental Defense Fund, little bit better, Environmental Defense Fund? Yeah it sounds good, sounds like a really good organization, we absolutely need a fund to defend our environment, even still you have half of Coloradans never heard of them. Still a little bit concerning, but ones that we’re not going to spend a lot of time, chasing them around.

This slide is Commissioner [Matt] Lapore’s favorite slide that I give in my presentations. And it shows awareness of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the COGCC. And this is likely true in trend line with many of the other states around the country. People do not understand that there is a state regulator that actually regulates the oil and gas industry…

This is why we have to spend time, and Mr. Lapore and I have had this conversation multiple times. How do we change these numbers? And flip the number heard up into the favorables. So we have people that know and have a favorable opinion of the COGCC. How do we really drive this home? We have now spent, now that we’ve built the level of understanding with fracking, and our fracking techniques and tools and processes, now we need to talk about regulations. Everything we’ve done, since about February of this year, really drives home that regulations (inaudible).

We absolutely have to drive that point home. And I share this with you to make sure that you all as regulators in this room and folks that work with regulatory industries, and agencies, drive this point home man. Talk about this. Make sure we are able to combat this. Without this, this is where we are going to have the biggest issues.

Everything we do is built off of this statewide model. So we took and did a number of, did some research, both polling, we did mail testing and phone testing, we also did digital testing. All of that has now been verified by an (inaudible). To build a statewide model so that I know, if I go to Mr. Lepore’s door, what his opinion is going to be on fracking. No, I already know what his opinion will likely be, but if I go to him as a Colorado voter, versus if I go to Ashley with Anadarko as another Colorado voter, she might have a little bit of a different view. And they will have different scores.
We have scored 3.9 million Colorado voters in our databases, on their opinion of fracking. Everything we do then gets fed back in to this database. So that we can use it at a later time. We’ve knocked on 1.7 million doors, we’ve done nine statewide surveys, we have done extensive phone research, and mail research, all of that information if I ever have contact it’s fed back in to that file.
And we continue to market to make sure we know our scores. So if I have you marked as a somebody that I think we can move, and you tell me when we knock on your door that you hate fossil fuels and you hate fracking, you hate everything about the oil and gas industry, I’m never going to talk to you again. Have a nice day. Appreciate your opinion, we are going to mark you as opposed, never going to send you another piece of mail, no digital advertisement, we are going to focus the dollars and resources where we know they will make a difference.

So that really is our true backbone. So some of the tools that we’ve used — this was one of our early direct mail pieces, the nice lady on the right is Annabelle ldorado (sp). She is an energy employee in the land department for Noble Energy, and was kind of our first face of CRED. On the left, you’ll see former Interior Secretary Gail Norton. She is also a good Coloradan. I would send this to probably 80 percent of you in this room. Because it has Gail Norton and she is a Republican. I would probably not send this ad to many people in this room, or this mailing with President Obama. However, when we saw and did our testing, his statement on natural gas — that it’s able to help the environment — when sent and delivered to the right Democrats, we moved Democrats 9 points in our favor.
So the industry had this mentality, oh, we are just going to talk to Republicans. Big Picture, we are going to focus on Republicans, we’re going to stop them. But we looked at it and were like, guys, Colorado is like 1/3 Democrat, 1/3 Republican, and 1/3 Independent. I am not an engineer, I am a political hack, I can tell you that 100 percent of 33 percent does not equal 51 percent. The math just doesn’t work. So we had to go, alright, how do we talk to independents, how do we talk to Democrats, and how do we talk to Republicans? How do we talk to moms, how do we talk to hunters and anglers, there is a lot of movement that we have — so we are really making sure we have the right message for the right folks. Same with our digital ads, here are a couple of examples of our digital ads, talking about jobs, see that on the left, the one in the back there — nevermind Vladimir Putin we will talk about him in just a moment — really focuses on hunters and anglers. And there are hundreds of thousands of folks in Colorado that either have a hunting license or a fishing license and they turn out to vote. And they are also very good when it comes to our issues. So when you tell them in Colorado $82 million in severance tax went to Commissioner Lapore’s boss Mike King, and the Department of Natural Resources and go into wildlife restoration and habitat restoration, maybe the oil an gas industry isn’t so bad. We’ve got to walk them to that edge and explain to them why that actually matters, and why this matters to us.

I love this particular graphic with Vladimir Putin, a little over a year ago when Russia and Ukraine crisis was going on for lack of a better term, we transitioned our entire digital asset for about 3 weeks to an energy security message. The U.S. had recently surpassed Russia as the #1 natural gas producer (inaudible), and Vladdy looks pretty tiffed. But we were able to move very quickly, number one, and adjust with the times and the media, and number two, it was a hit and became our best producing message. So we could do real time testing and see how this actually responds and how folks are able to respond. So very very fascinating.

So really some very interesting tools, really the best way that I can describe it is to walk into Sears craftsman and tell the floor manager, alright, I want one of everything and put [it] in the truck out in the parking lot. We really truly do have been able to test a lot of things, that have only been done in concept, only been done paper wide, by political strategists around the country, but put it in play, put it in motion and demonstrate that it can be done.

This is what I like to call my NASCAR slide, all our different organizations. We have built a coalition of everyone outside of oil and gas that is second to none in my opinion anywhere in the country. Over 40,000 names, and you can see this is farm bureaus, the chambers of commerce, the county organizations, the cattlemen’s groups, other business entities, Pheasants Forever, sportsman’s groups. All of these groups come together and say Colorado and the oil and gas industry here in the state is absolutely vital for our existence. And we want to partner with them, and they want to partner with us, so we put this together. And this is where we are able to activate at least 40,000 folks at a moment’s notice if something’s going on in a municipality. We’ll talk about that here in just a moment. So we have this information now, that we continue to build on, and continue to do the maintenance on, even though we are in an off election year. As soon as we need to activate it, we are able to see it happen. We are also facing continuing increased opposition.

We saw 4 municipal actions in Colorado in the 1st quarter of 2015. So while 2015 is the year of the ram on the Chinese calendar, I’d have to say it’s the year of the whack a mole, if you are familiar with the game at Chucky Cheese. Because they just come back up and we have to keep bumping them back. It’s because we have this increased opposition and all these groups have popped up in the last 12 months, with the exception a couple of the big ones, Western Priorities and
350 Colorado. Don’t Frack Denver, Conservation Colorado, Protect our Colorado, (inaudible), all these have continued to pop up, very local grassroots. But if you track the money back, it all goes back to the same four or five, 6 entities.

So 2014 victories, I encourage you to also take a look at this, this is Protect Colorado, which is kinda the political arm we work with, the political entity, CRED stays strictly educational. This document that I have on the back counter really outlines, kinda timeline everything that happened. In Loveland, in June of 14, the industry saw our first victory. And we moved the needle 10 points in 2 months, from having the measure pass 60-40, to defeating it 52-48. This was the industry’s first victory to date. We were 0 and 5, going in to this and we really needed to change the tide. At this point, also staring two opposition ballot measures in the face, local control, 2,000-foot setback no exceptions, in Colorado. Which if you run the numbers in Weld County, low end 85 percent, high end 95 percent, would be shut down in Weld County with a 2,000-foot setback. Thanks to a lot of effort, 13 pieces of direct mail, 7 campus passes, and over 12.2 [million] digital impressions generated … we moved it 10 points in two months. This is what set off the wave with the opposition.

Whoops, the oil and gas industry got organized and they figured out how to defeat us. And so we saw at 6:00 on August 4 the withdrawal of the 2 opposition measures, the 2000 foot setback and a local control measure, which also we withdrew ours, which was a fiscal responsibility measure, fiscal impact, you cannot ban oil and gas in Colorado and receive the revenue for it in your municipality. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. All of those came down, the governor created the oil and gas task force, and then spent the next six or seven months in that, and recommendations came out in February, Commissioner Lapore is now implementing those recommendations, going through rule enhancements and things of that nature.

All of this really kind of changed the way that we work. Because the opposition figured CRED was going to stop. Measures came off the ballot, everything was going to go away, they’d go through this rule making process so that they could go back to continue the fight.

Noble and Anadarko, and our other funders with Protect Colorado, had a different idea. And we have continued to move forward. We’ve pulled down, we had 10 million dollars in media reserve for September and October, we pulled that down, but we kept going. We still did ads in September and October right in the heat of the Cory Gardner/Mark Udall senate race, right in the middle of other hot political races in 2014.

The second time they thought we were going to stand down was when oil prices began to plummet, and PR campaigns and these kinds of activities are often the ones that are easily cut and then saving the bottom line with the oil and gas industry. Wrong again. We’ve been fully funded for 2015, and continue to move forward, thanks to commitments from about 15 companies in Colorado and around the country. They really do see the value of this. We’ve been able to move forward. And the opposition has been on its heels.

We’ve had these four municipalities, as I mentioned, Erie, there was a local race, or a local initiative put forth before city council that ran and they were trying to put in an emergency moratorium. That 40,000 number I shared with you, we had 400 people in the town of Erie that we mobilized in 24 hours. Before I ever put one boot on the ground. We then put canvassing on the ground, did some door-to-door canvassing, flipped the vote and were able to defeat it 4 to 3. In Windsor, pro-active canvassing. There was rumor they were going to put a ballot measure on, a community bill of rights, so we did have the data in Windsor, knowing that that fights going to come back.

Even more of a preemptive strike in Fort Collins, looking at electing a pro [oil and gas] city council, and making sure that the right city council members got elected to the city council to stop a potential fracking ban. And finally in Denver, this was kind of a one-two punch. In February, we had some op-eds and editorials go out, John Fielder, who does beautiful Colorado landscape photography I’m sure many of you have seen it. He did an anti-fracking rally on the steps of the city council. We countered that and took the wind out of their sails in about a total of seven days. Including two meetings with the editorial board at the Denver Post, and a subsequent editorial saying this is ludicrous. We then also elected a pro city council, a pro-energy city council 7-6 on the conservative count. My count is like 9-4 in our favor for Denver City Council. To try and push something through there, which the opposition was trying to do, is now very difficult. So we have been very, very (inaudible). And We’ve been able to keep municipal ballots and municipal ballot measures off in every city and county across Colorado…

So steps moving forward — really continuing our standard activities. We want to rack up on broadcast, TV and radio in early September, continuing to do heavy outreach. We do about 150 events a year, we have a very aggressive events staff at booths and fairs and festivals … Also the door-to-door canvassing, we will knock on about 400,000 doors total this year, and then broad coalition building adding to that NASCAR network.

Looking at 2016, trying to determine and understand what is going to happen, what is the opposition going to do, now that they have been down for the count for 12 months, and (inaudible) trying to see if they are going to run any statewide ballots. Simultaneously, we have to be ready for that strike in the event they do play that card, so we are doing a fair amount of polling and research on our own ballot measures. And they’re not only on the oil and gas side, but also on fiscal impacts, on good government, on ballot reform. And I can tell you as far as this goes, it’s going to be a fairly crowded ballot in 2016 with a lot of these initiatives, and others that the business community is running. So this is where I spend a good portion of my time, but it has been a remarkable journey for lack of a better term running these programs, to really create this from the ground up, and be able to demonstrate its usefulness, and how we can fight back and make sure the oil and gas industry is able to thrive and able to thrive responsibly.

With that I’m happy to take questions.

[Audience question:]Just a quick question on the legal challenges on those four initial ones, could you comment on where that stands?

Sure – I will do my best as we are not intimately involved with that and Mr. Lepore, feel free to jump in there. No… Matt, take it away.

[Matt Lepore describes legal challenges]

[Audience question:] A very impressive multi-faceted approach, obviously that takes money and supporters, can you speak to your funding?

On the CRED side that’s a 50/50 joint venture between Noble and Anadarko. And I will tell you that their investment in the last 2 years has been north of 8 figures. They have invested considerable resources.

On the Protect Colorado side, there has also been considerable investment, not as much as the CRED side. Seeing as we didn’t have a ballot initiative and legally that is the sole purpose of that organization, to advocate for and against certain ballot measures. And we have supporters to 100 dollars to larger contributions from a quarter of a million dollars to a million dollars. And Protect Colorado – Whiting, PVC, Pioneer CalFrack, Phase Water Exploration, Black Hills, Bill Barrett, about 15 total operators have a seat at the table and have contributed.

[Audience question:] Have you had any discussion about changing the actual ballot process itself?

Yes, we are in the process of evaluating that right now, including working with the greater business community because there’s also a movement afoot in the greater business community, a number of long-time Colorado leaders who are increasing the number of signatures required. Right now we are 5 percent of the Secretary of State, it takes 94,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Colorado, and there is no requirement for it to be diverse according to geography, so I can go camp in downtown Denver and get 94,000 signatures and be done. There is no proportion requirement by Congressional district or by county. So looking and seeing how all those (inaudible)

[Audience question:] Is this being done in any other state other than Colorado? Your model or the model that has been developing?

We have been working a little bit in Texas with the company I am working for, Pac/West, we are a consulting firm, we have been working with the Texas Oil and Gas Association, but no it has not been replicated to this level. Unfortunately now that we have validation, that it works, oil has taken a dive so these types of efforts, given that they are funded by you all in this room and by the industry itself, it is very, very hard to do with commodity prices the way they are. Thank you all very much.

 

  • A recent peer-reviewed scientific study has found that the minimum safe distance to an oil & gas industry fuel fire is more than 2000 feet. At our 500-foot setback exposed skin would rapidly suffer 2nd and 3rd-degree burns while wooden structures, automobiles,
    trees, and shrubs would all rapidly catch fire.

    The same peer-reviewed scientific study found that the minimum safe setback from a fracking industry hazmat spill was as much as two miles depending on weather at the time due to airborne hazardous and toxic chemical exposure.

    Another recent peer-reviewed study found that 42 drinking water wells in northeast Colorado had been contaminated with fracking-source methane, the old flaming water issue that the industry has steadfastly denied, proving that fracking does indeed pollute groundwater.

    Other peer-reviewed studies have found many hundreds of groundwater wells in Colorado and other States have been polluted with other fracking chemicals, and other peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that fracking inflicts at least a dozen different serious human health impacts such as an increased incidence of asthma, an increased incidence of miscarriages, birth defects, endocrine disruption, infertility, and sterility among others.

    The Center for Western Priorities “Spill Mapper” is a GIS product that locates and provides access to the official State spill report for each of nearly 15,000 fracking industry hazmat spills between Colorado and New Mexico between 2000 and 2015.

    Here in Colorado the fracking industry is averaging one hazmat spill of up to 8 million gallons per-incidence for every 11 wells fracked. According to two different peer-reviewed studies the fracking industry also averages one incidence of underground cementing failure at high pressure for every 14 wells fracked, and also averages one huge explosion and fuel fire that sometimes takes weeks to extinguish for every 2200 wells fracked too.

    Now I will admit that a rate of 1 in 11, 1 in 14, or 1 in 2200 is not quite as bad as playing Russian roulette but who wants to be forced to take these kinds of odds with our health and safety, as well as with that of our children, as well as with the value of our property?

    CRED, Protect Colorado, and every oil & gas company in the US wants you to be forced to accept a grave level of risk, as well as up to a 25% loss in your property value, as well as the potential loss of future Federally-insured mortgage financing, just so that the industry can ram its fracking rigs right through urban neighborhoods.

    Make no mistake. Fully 60% of metro Denver has been built above old oil, natural gas, or coal gas drilling rights including virtually all of Metro Denver east of University Blvd/York St., plus lots of the city west of there, as far west as Sheridan in the immediate city, plus even Golden, western Arvada, and South Boulder have coal gas drilling rights too.

    I wonder how many drilling rigs will fit in City Park, Wash Park, Cheeseman Park, or in the parking lot of the Cherry Creek Mall? I have heard from local residents that they will never allow drilling in those places. I ask how are you going to prevent it without passing responsible drilling setbacks or local control of siting, and they never have
    any realistic answers.

    All too often lately the fracking industry and our State government manage to cover-up big fracking industry hazmat spills so that they don’t make the media.

    Case in-point #1: In June of 2015 after lots of rain Encana suffered disaster in Erie, CO when a giant underground fracking wastewater tank floated and then ruptured, spilling almost two 18-wheel truckloads of very hazardous chemicals into the local soil and
    downwind atmosphere. Did you know that people driving by on I-25 were exposed to airborne cancer-causing benzene at more than 1000 times the EPA safe level? No you didn’t, because the story never made the media.

    Case in-point #2: Did you hear about that big 504,000-gallon produced water spill into the Purgatorie River west of Trinidad that polluted Trinidad Lake, forcing closure of the State Park and its campground, that also polluted the water of farmers downstream? Nope, it didn’t make the media either, and today the only way to find out about it is to find the official State spill report. It happened about a week before the big mine
    wastewater spill up in Silverton that an EPA contractor caused. Pioneer Resources was the party guilty in this one.

    Do you know that the fracking industry routinely wildly overstates its economic impact to the State too? Right now there are only about 6,000 directly-employed jobs in the industry in Colorado plus the spinoff, which means that a total of 15,000 workers are
    employed either by the industry or as a result of either industry or employee spending, not 100,000 as the industry claims, which it hasn’t employed since the price of oil and natural gas were double what they are today.

    Yes, think very carefully about what kind of future that you want for yourself and for your family next time you see someone canvassing for Amendment 75 and 78, as you hold your life, safety, and the lives and safety of your children in your hands, trying to protect them from an industry that all too often has ruined lives in its search for short-term profit at often great expense to affected local residents who have been powerless to protect themselves, until now.

    So what are you waiting for, get out there sign those Amendment 75 and 78 petitions before we no longer have that chance ever again, and then drilling rigs invade our urban areas. Does this rate of fracking hazmat spills look compatible with urban living? Not in my opinion and I’m sure not in yours either.

    https://www.facebook.com/CREEP.org/photos/a.1424773917767892.1073741828.1421602221418395/1451947701717180/?type=3&theater

    • If you would like to sign the petitions for Amendment #75 (which would give local communities control over fracking rather than the State) and Amendment #78 (which would mandate a 2500-foot drilling setback from homes, schools, kid’s playground, and fresh water sources) the group Yes for Health & Safety over Fracking can be found here: We only have until August 8th.

      https://yesforhealthandsafety.org/

      If anyone needs a job the group Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development is hiring petition canvassers paying $13/hour too:

      https://www.facebook.com/ResistExtremeEnergy/

    • Roy

      Total garbage. The peer-reviewed 2000 ft setback or you’ll get burn on exposed skin. Yeah! Straight up lie. If that were true operators would be showing these injuries. If you have to lie like that.

      • Why not read the study instead of attacking the messenger. It is on a US government scientific website and was new in February. The people who wrote it were PHD fire science and airborne chemical dispersion experts. I will share the study as soon as I get back to my computer.

        You see what happened to that farmhouse in Pennsylvania that was 1500 feet from a high pressure natural gas pipeline rupture and explosion? Nothing left but the foundation, and the big 100 year old trees surrounding the house were just big black sticks after that fire. The owner got badly burned too. Perhaps you should do so reading before calling other people names?

        • Roy

          Seriously dude! Seriously! Read the fear based garbage you wrote about shrubs spontaneously combusting within a half mile of not a well site, but a fracking site. And exposed skin just rapidly burning out of the blue. No! Just no. There’s no arguing with you in a reasonable, sensible and fair manor. If what you said were true, the lawsuits would’ve been relentlessly endless over the course of the last century. Having rational concerns over industrial endeavors is fine, but you’re lying is just ridiculous.

          • If you like there are plenty of You Tube videos of drilling site explosions, giant fireballs, and huge fuel fires if you would prefer that everyone sees them.

            This gigantic fire is just a high-pressure natural gas main that ruptured and exploded in West Virginia burning I-77 down to dirt. How far back from this fire do you figure is safe Roy?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Sjl_x3fs0

          • Here is what the Denver Post had to say on July 18th, 2016 about the recent study that found a correlation between proximity to fracking and a much higher incidence of asthma inhaler use and asthma attacks:

            [Quote] Fracking may worsen asthma in children and adults who live near sites where the oil and gas drilling method is used, according to an 8-year study in Pennsylvania.

            The study found that asthma treatments were as much as four times more common in patients living closer to areas with more or bigger active wells than those living far away. [End Quote]

            http://www.denverpost.com/2016/07/18/fracking-asthma-residents/

            Association Between Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and Asthma Exacerbations, Sara G. Rasmussen, MHS1; Elizabeth L. Ogburn, PhD2; Meredith McCormack, MD3; Joan A. Casey, PhD4; Karen Bandeen-Roche, PhD2; Dione G. Mercer, BS5; Brian S. Schwartz, MD, MS1,3,5

            Author Associations

            1: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

            2: Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

            3: Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

            4: Robert Wood Johnson, Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Berkeley

            5: Center for Health Research, Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania

            Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine, Published online July 18, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2436

            http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2534153

            A study of 34,508 patients over 8 years.

            What do you know about Internal Medicine or the rigors of getting published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Roy?

          • Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering, Report

            Finds, April, 2016

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/14/3768993/environment-america-fracking-report/

            Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found In Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites, June, 2015

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/19/3671819/fracking-contaminants-in-texas-drinking-water/

            Fracking by the Numbers: The Damage to our Water, Land, and Climate from a Decade of Dirty Drilling, Environment America, Elizabeth Ridlington and Kim Norman, Frontier Group, Rachel Richardson, Environment America Research & Policy Center, April, 2016, pdf, 53 pages

            http://environmentamerica.org/sites/environment/files/reports/Fracking%20by%20the%20Numbers%20vUS.pdf

            Remember the San Bruno natural gas explosion Roy? This is exactly what will happen in a residential neighborhood with only 500-foot drilling setbacks. Lucky only 7 people died here Roy.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS4cxNFQT0I

          • Here is one of the best sources of information on the hazards of fracking. Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, October, 2015, 3rd edition, pdf, 151 pages:

            http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/fracking-compendium.pdf

          • Remember this fracking well explosion and fire Roy? How far away from it was safe? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tfx6ckcVFc

          • What happened here Roy, something sure went wrong? How far back are they toward the end of the video anyway?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ntsk1g-2oY

          • This was just a little explosion and fire here:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-z1p8cru20

          • How far away from this huge well explosion is safe Roy? There are flying over it in a light airplane:

            https://youtu.be/WSi2KI1TIOE?t=248

          • What happens if this happens in the middle of a subdivision of houses on 8000 square foot lots Roy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWIIrSkFJRw

          • What happened here Roy, another underground cementing failure? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPdKZHfAwbg

          • Remember this one Roy? Edison, NJ, 1994, Durham Woods, eight apartment buildings burned to the ground?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyMbaZ9FVjA

          • This one just happened in Pennsylvania three months ago. The first house is at least 2000 feet from the natural gas explosion and the fire melted the vinyl siding right off the house. The other house was about 500 feet from the fire. This is the one I talked about earlier. So how far from uncontrolled high pressure natural gas fire is safe Roy?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkEXfa2AMY0

          • So what happened here Roy and how much hazardous toxic chemicals were lost here? How far away is the well?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HiBeLRsJoM

          • Here is a nearly two-hour lecture on the hazards of fracking from Dr. Ingraffea of Cornell University, one of the people that the oil & gas hates the worst. Of course the guy is a PHD with many years of research into the issues surrounding fracking too.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSWmXpEkEPg

          • So what do you figure happens to the guy driving the truck Roy?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LD82y4ulds

          • Anadarko, the same company that says that fracking is safe!!!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utC1CNrAYUc

          • Say Roy, what is your time in the 500-yard dash anyway? The reason I ask is because if someone has COPD or asthma they aren’t going to make it before they burn and/or suffer serious if not fatal exposure to toxic chemicals. What happens to elderly homeowners when one of your wells goes off like a 1000-lb napalm bomb?

            For these reasons any many others, don’t you think that a minimum 2500 setback between homes, schools, and fracking wells would be much safer than a setback so close that homes, automobiles, trees, and shrubs all rapidly ignite, and exposed skin rapidly suffers 2nd and 3rd degree burns?

          • Roy

            I just noticed this. Haha! You know nothing. That is just Bentonite and water. A gel that commonly used in makeup. Any more scary fear.

          • One of two academic studies on well-cementing failure rates:

            Discussion of “Oil and gas wells and their integrity: Implications for shale and unconventional resource exploitation” by R.J. Davies, S. Almond, R.S., Ward, R.B. Jackson, C. Adams, F. Worrall, L.G. Herringshaw, J.G. Gluyas and M.A. Whitehead. (Marine and Petroleum Geology 2014), Volume 59, January 2015, Pages 671-673 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264817214000609

            Here is another such academic study

            Assessment and risk analysis of casing and cement impairment in oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, 2000–2012, Anthony R. Ingraffea,a,b,1 Martin T. Wells,c Renee L. Santoro,b and Seth B. C. Shonkoffd,e Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121786/

            And another such study also in PNAS

            The integrity of oil and gas wells, Robert B. Jackson, Department of Environmental Earth System Science, School of Earth Sciences, Woods Institute for the Environment, and Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121783/

            There are several other recent PNAS studies of problems involving the fracking industry on the right side of the page.

          • Here is another recent PNAS study on fracking health impacts

            Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Oil and Natural Gas Operations: Potential Environmental Contamination and
            Recommendations to Assess Complex Environmental Mixtures, March, 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

            Christopher D. Kassotis,1 Donald E. Tillitt,2 Chung-Ho Lin,3 Jane A. McElroy,4 and Susan C. Nagel5,†

            Author Affiliations:

            1Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA,

            2U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Columbia, Missouri, USA

            3Department of Forestry, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA

            4Department of Family and Community Medicine, and
            5Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786988/

          • You know what I am thinking Roy? I am thinking that you had better get yourself tested.

          • Abandoned Oil Wells Spouting Significant Levels of Methane:

            Study, Mary Kang, Doctoral Dissertation, 2014

            A Princeton University study has found that leaks from abandoned oil and gas wellbores pose not only a risk to groundwater, but represent a growing threat to the climate.

            Between 200,000 and 970,000 abandoned wells in the state of
            Pennsylvania likely account for four to seven per cent of estimated man-made methane emissions in that jurisdiction, a source previously not accounted for, the study says.

            http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-06-19/abandoned-oil-wells-spouting-significant-levels-of-methane-study

          • Seriously dude…. Time for you to put up or shut up

          • TLUF

            He must work for the O/G industry. What else?

          • Probably an Energy-in-Depth or Koch Brothers paid internet troll

          • Roy

            I figured you would go there. I’m not.

          • Marubi

            EXCEPT Roy, what’s infinitely more believable is that the industry is not regulated nearly enough. That lawsuits have happened and I’m sure NDAs were signed. That O&G has boundless funds to fight those lawsuits and distract and deceive the public (“Protect Colorado” alone has received $6 million from Andarko, Noble, PDC). Colorado has 28 inspectors for thousands of wells. Plus, there’s the cancer thing. How long after someone is exposed to formaldehyde in their drinking water do you suppose cancer takes to show up? This is why you quibbling over how Mark Richardson makes his point is completely and disastrously missing it.

          • Roy

            Where is the formaldehyde?

          • Formaldehyde and other toxic fracking chemicals get released into our water supply thanks to the 5-6% underground well cementing immediate failure rate confirmed by three different independent peer-reviewed studies of the subject which I will guess that you didn’t read.

            So what is your plan to clean-up aquifers polluted with fracking chemicals following cementing failures Roy?

          • Roy

            Some of the studies you cite are not independent. They come from fields of study not related to Chemistry or Geology. And cement failures are rare. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, 3 failures out of hundreds of thousands of wells is a pretty good success rate.

          • On the Davies study of well-cementing failure 2 of the 5 scientists were either geologists or energy scientists, while all of the other 3 were earth scientists. You don’t consider the work of the British Geological Survey to be valid perhaps?

          • Roy

            Your 5-6% figure is complete B.S. Stop quoting Gasland II.

          • Why argue with the messenger. Those studies were done by three different teams of PHD-level researchers from multiple different universities. Your argument is with them, not with me. The 5-6% figure on immediate underground cementing failure is the median of the three studies.

          • Roy

            No, you are arguing a talking point from that DR at Cornell who you and the anti-fracking folks put up on pedestal. I don’t have access to academic journals, but I remember reading studies from UT and LSU that had that rate far lower. I’m sorry that I’m not a paid activist like you on Tom Steyer’s payroll. (See how it feels.) I have work to do. Today was the first day of school and I’m a teacher. Good arguing with you. You are clearly an activists armed and trained with a few cherry-picked studies mostly from Medical Journals. Take care, sir 🙂

          • I am just a volunteer, a older homeowner faced with fracking in my Broomfield neighborhood. My wife has asthma and I have COPD. One reason we both moved to Colorado is the clean air here, which your industry wants to ruin. Not one of the studies that I presented required access to an academic journal pay site. Nice try Roy, I wish I could get paid to do this but the fact is the only pay I might get is measured in continuing access to clean air and preservation of my property value.

          • Roy

            I am a teacher, a mineral rights owner and 4 generations deep in Nebraska-Colorado. Your studies were mostly related to medical journals. You only quote studies from Gasland. I was being sarcastic when implying you were paid. But you people always implicate the Koch Bros. when someone says something contrary. And that’s B.S. You however are the New Age garbage taking over this State. Make sure you shut off your gas this winter too. Put your money where your COPD is.

          • My one grandfather owned a truckline based in Kansas City that had a terminal and warehouse here in Denver and employed people here from the 1940s through the 1980s. Anyone remember the Schock Warehouse off the Delgheny ramp off the 23rd Street bridge, or the truckline, Schock Transfer? He also owned a cattle ranch in Kansas and he also served as President of the Brangus Breeders Assn in the 1960s. He also owned a summer cabin in Kittridge too, where I spent a few weeks most every summer in the 1960s and early 1970s, and I have lived here since a month before the Great Christmas Blizzard of 1982, so you see, I have been around here quite a while myself. Would you believe that I have never seen the movie Gasland or Gasland II, and not only that, but the Davies study, the asthma study, the setbacks study, and the endocrine disorder study are all newer than either of the Gasland movies too.

            So why are you trying so hard to discredit me and everything I have shared here using false assumptions and false insinuation?

          • Roy

            Touche’

          • ernie_oertle

            Roy – am amazed by this guy MR the near-hysterical frackivist. He is rich. What? – you entered one response to him & he freaked-out!!! How many now, I lost count, one response brought 30+ spasmodic emotional outbursts from this guy!!! No extremism evident there.

          • Roy

            Calirado

          • Roy

            Good arguing with you. I’ve got lesson plans I’m behind with. Sorry if I sound aggressive at times, but you do as well. Leave Weld County alone.

          • I live in Broomfield County, how about your industry leaving it alone too? I was a trucker hauling beer and meat for 30 years until somebody decided that my declining eyesight was a hazard on the highway, and now I am just 9 grad hours away from a Master’s degree which would allow me to teach college or in charter schools too. Who says you can’t teach an old truck driver new tricks?

          • Jim Young

            I’m greatly impressed by many truckers I’ve met, or heard of (especially ones I met or rode with in part of the 60,000 or so miles I traveled through Vietnam and Thailand). OTR-Trucking on my CV. After 20yrs military ending in Space Command, I trained as a dispatcher for Associated Grocers at their Tower Road distribution facility (now Kroger) before a 12-1/2 year stint in the aerospace industry. When they downsized 385,000 jobs (I was a tech writer), I paid my way through the United States Truck Driving school and hit the road for Werner for 170,000 miles in 1-1/2 years as my version of an Australian “walkabout” (somewhere between Bill Moyers 1970 “Listening to America” bus tour, and Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charlie,” even calling one of my truck’s “Rocinante”). I then went on to get an Airframe and Powerplant Technician certificate and retire as an A&P teaching assistant at a local community college.

            I will always feel privileged to have met so many people at so many levels, and the other drivers I met in the dispatcher training (serving all of Colorado and parts of surrounding states). I learned from watching Tim Russert since he and his staff seemed the very best at asking so many lower tier workers that didn’t get the talking points memos. the disconnect between what they saw (formed into far more articulate questions to challenge those talking heads that appeared on the show), that set him head and shoulders above what passes for journalists now.

            No matter that I can’t do it nearly as well, I always appreciated doing my best to get a similar variety of views from the lower echelons and the local people closer to “ground truth” (harder than ever to find now).

          • Appreciate it. My last job trucking job was with Denney Transport in Commerce City where I was 4th on the board in 2009 when my career ended. I have been into your old warehouse a few times too, just north of Acme and south of the old Albertson’s DC. I think it might have been late in 2007 I hauled several loads from the Advantage Warehouse to several King and City Market stores. I had to blindslide the dock at City Market in Steamboat with my road Volvo condo as I recall. I drove for Coors back in the early 1990s as well as Ringsby in 1984-85 too, plus more than a dozen other trucklines both here and out where I grew-up too.

            I have been out of the industry for almost 7 years now but just the other day I helped some rookie driver blindside a dock. Watch me, don’t look in the mirror, you will just confuse yourself. He only had to pull up once with my help after spending 20 minutes getting nowhere before that.

            Just 9 more grad hours and then I get to write my thesis. My primary research interest is climate change impacts on water supply and food supply sustainability across the Southwestern US and Mexico, a subject with few good answers at this point. My first volunteer position after finishing my undergrad degree was as an anti-fracking researcher back in 2013 and even though I have moved onto better things the Amendment 75 and 78 issue brought me back to this issue again.

            I honestly believe that a setback of 2000-2500 feet would be far-safer than one of only 500 feet from homes and schools given all that I know about this subject.

            For a frightening map of fracking industry spills the Center for Western Priorities Spill Mapper is available online which will allow anyone interested to click on the colored dots and retrieve the official State spill report for each of the nearly 15,000 fracking industry hazmat spills between 2000 and 2015.

            http://spillmapper.westernpriorities.org/

            Does this record of fracking industry hazmat spills look compatible with urban living?

            https://www.facebook.com/CREEP.org/photos/a.1424773917767892.1073741828.1421602221418395/1451947701717180/?type=3&theater

            I am also the owner of the Coloradans for Responsible Energy and Environmental Policy page on Facebook, a page which is focused on sharing daily climate change, sustainability, and energy policy scientific news.

            “Creeping away from fossil fuels one day at a time”

            https://www.facebook.com/CREEP.org/

          • Jim Young

            Have you met, or worked with Shane Davis? The maps remind me of the “Cautionary Tales from Fracked Communities” meeting with Coloradans (Fractivist) Shane Davis, and Rod Bruneski, at the St Andrews Lutheran Church in L.A., March 21st, 2014. Others included Deborah Cipolla Dennis from New York, as well as more local activists Gary Gless, Paul Ferrazzi, and Patricia McPherson (who was instrumental in the NBC4/Paul Moyers news series (starting with “Burning Question NBC 4 part 1 – Playa Vista Safe? Part 1”). See the first of the series at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4O6jI2y_m4.

            The series, to me, shows how corrupt the development approval process is. Though only one person I know of was directly killed, Gary (a hot rodder like me, but better) got involved co-founding the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community (https://sites.google.com/site/ccfascorg/) because, he told me, because of all the funerals in his community he’d attended, where the most obvious suspects were industry activities far beyond what they self reported. Patricia’s research showed some of the fraud that went on in testing and post dated approvals that could not possibly have been done by professional engineers.

          • Jim Young

            The better setbacks for safety would be welcome, but there are other issues as well. Colorado has some unique laws on water rights (can’t always collect rainwater on your own property), and, like many others, I think, often lets the people with the biggest pump/best lawyers take water, oil, etc, from under their neighbors’ property, and, as far as I can tell, little to nothing enforced for airborne toxins and surface contamination.

            As a former trucker, you might be interested in the Class 8 equivalent to a Tesla, the 3,700 Ft Lb/2,000 HP Nikola One, see https://nikolamotor.com/one

            The regenerative braking alone would make me a huge fan, better yet if all wheel traction and braking on the tractor is matched to a trailer with the ability to use regenerative braking and assist on climbing.

            (I bought a used Prius for $600 and have finally replaced the first set of brake pads at 278,000 miles.)

          • My wife and I did have 4000 Kwh of solar panels installed on our house and now all we need is a. Powerwall battery and an EV to greatly further reduce our carbon footprint. Do you know what science that I am studying? Climate change impacts to regional Southwestern and Mexican US food supply and water supply sustainability, and frankly, the human race must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 70% below 1990 emissions levels by 2030 minimum in order to have any chance of preserving planetary livability, I don’t care what the immediate economic impact is. So why do you so badly want to kill our own children Roy?

          • Jim Young

            I’ve met Dr. Ingraffea in the company of experts I trust, since I wanted a better feel for who to trust. I did this because the Cornell Public Affairs office appeared to have cancelled a presentation by Dr. Cathles rather than allow Dr. Ingraffea to join him on the stage to represent the health impact side instead of just the happy talk pro-fracking supposed academia.

            From my experiences talking to a wide range of people within the field seemed to show that Cathles was trying to say methane leakage was down around 1 to 4%, while a higher echelon industry insider was telling me they were pleased to get it down to “only” 29%. The new satellite pictures show it is very much higher than Cathles implies, possibly why the industry seemed so panicked by the EPA efforts to reduce the leakage 40% (I think). That could be totally impossible if the starting point was the ridiculously low figures people like Cathles tried to sell, compared to the figures actually being measured now (the more realistic concerns of people like Dr. Ingraffea.

            Dr. Ingraffea wins hands down by comparison, if I have any sense at all of who seems trust worthy, and is so often backed up by lower echelon people within the industry (the ones who don’t get the talking points memos), and matches well with the local “civilian” witnesses.

            The one satellite image that convinced me was the methane hot spot in the four corners area I have driven through, to try to get a better idea of how much methane came from Oil and Gas extraction, compared to animal agriculture, and even natural leakage we had been able to see from decades earlier with multi-spectral reconnaissance satellites (classified for very many years, but which let our people know where many fossil fuel areas were that had not been previously found by ground based exploration). Previous satellites had been planned to detect CO2 (OCO-1 which failed, and finally succeeded with OCO2), and are now being followed by, believe it or not, the Oil Industry itself, see https://insideclimatenews.org/news/17062016/oil-industry-tar-sands-satellite-climate-change-carbon-methane-emissions-pollution-ghgsat

            Given the huge disconnect between industry self reported information (apparently taken as gospel by Dr. Cathles), and everyone else including Dr. Ingraffea, lower echelon industry personnel, and local witnesses), how are we supposed to trust such industry gathered data?

            P.S. If you are happy to partake of the monetary profits from your mineral right leases, are you willing to pay the enormous external costs to everyone else?

          • Roy

            You parade 1 expert around. Him. And that’s it.

          • Jim Young

            Just one that I met after seeing massive efforts to discredit him from the industry and the profiteers sucked into selling their souls for imagined mineral rights riches. There are every many more, I believe are having similar corrupt campaigns attempting to discredit them, but a funny thing happens when I check with as many lower echelon personnel in the industry, and as many local witnesses as possible for me to meet. I find the Dr. Ingraffea types are the most believable and unbiased researchers. The ones that try so hard to discredit people like him seem so very often to be sponsored by the O/G industry, work at institutions dependent on heavy industry funding, and seem to rely on industry self reported data that I can’t see coming close to what the lower echelons let slip, and local witnesses observe.

            Ask me about some other experts like Colorado Fractivist Shane Davis and Penn State’sDr.Sue Brantley. Both use “official records” but Shane finds huge amounts of revealing industry self reported information that should skewer many of them. Dr. Sue Brantley did a presentation on the Pennsylvania experience that seemed to show the industry was much safer and cleaner, but did admit she had access to only about 1.5% of the information (industry self reported) that she felt was needed for a comprehensive evaluation. She also humorously said one reason the industry data showed less toxic waste in the state was because they shipped so much of it next door to Ohio. She was not dishonest, but more like an academic given only part of the evidence, something that such heavily sponsored schools seem to be able to lend more assumed credibility to an unsuspecting public than say providing a legal team with such limited and industry cherry picked data.

            If I’m to trust the academic experts, I want to know where they got their data, and why they think it is accurate.

            What percentage of deniers and skeptics do you pay attention to as you seem to ignore 32 times as many experts that disagree with the ones you parade around?

          • Roy

            Funny. You’re doing the same thing as you claim the climate deniers are doing.

          • Jim Young

            How do you figure that?

            It seems 3% you follow to 97% I follow, plus everyone I talk to, that are actual eyes on target observers (within the industry and without), including college texts related to the field and remediation describe the problems the industry seems to have snowed so much of the general public on, say something different from what you would try to have us believe. Have you gone out into the communities, met the people there, in various public hearings, or other events?

            I value critical thinking, and always encouraged my students to learn how to figure things out for themselves to verify, modify, or update the information in our presentations, discussions, and texts. I may not have the most expertise in any field but I do my best to find the best, and still leave room in case their information is too outdated, or does not include all critical information (whether deliberate, or from the more common inability to access much beyond the industry self reported data). The ones I trust the most, are those students, teachers, and researchers that always leave room better evidence to modify or change their conclusions, and rigorously seek it out when they suspect the easily available information is not representative of the “big picture.”.

          • Roy

            I encourage my students to engage in critical thinking too. As for your value of critical thinking, well anything study that goes against the conclusion you’ve made on the subject is reduced to just being industry funded. But you have no problem with studies that have activistic intent. That is all. It is Friday and I’m having a drink.

          • Jim Young

            Too many of those with pro fracking “activistic intent” have been mineral rights owners imagining huge personal profits, and no liability for the damages that others suffer.

            Are you a member of NARO?

          • Roy

            No. I had to Google NARO much less be a member. But thanks for letting me know about it. As for imagining “huge profits.” No. But it was enough for my in-laws ranch to survive the downturns in the 80’s and late 90’s. And get serious about the no liability nonsense. Of course there is.

          • Jim Young

            I’d be interested in the liability risk to NARO members or similar groups. No one I’ve ever contacted would admit to any liability considerations (except the surprise reduction in Royalties when the payments were changed to subtract the pipeline shipping costs, if that is the sort of “liability” you are thinking of). See https://www.propublica.org/article/unfair-share-how-oil-and-gas-drillers-avoid-paying-royalties

            It seems Chesapeake Energy reduced the royalty payments to a farmer with 370 acres from $8,506 a month to $1,690, to cover unspecified “gathering” expenses (I believe I recall that came from them selling off their pipeline operation to another front(?) company which then charged over 10 times as much to do the “gathering” to the new point of sale). Seems moving the profit portion saved Aubrey McClendon’s main company $6,816, transferred to another company owned by the usual suspects.

            I don’t know how much land your in-laws have leased, but the ones I knew were only getting about $160 per month, and the worst case I heard of was a woman in Louisiana being duped by a landsman into selling her rights for a one time payment of $25.

            A friend in Colorado sold his rights (for a pipeline through his neighborhood) for a one time payment of around $1,800 because his neighbors had already done so. Your neighbors might want to look up “Involuntary (or forced) Pooling.” See http://www.dgslaw.com/images/materials/DALTA-Pooling-Hartford-Nibert.pdf

            I had the pleasure of talking with Deborah Cipolla-Dennis in person, and finding out about the similar forced taking that could have occurred in Dryden if she had sold the rights which would have put the area leased above the 60% threshold (I think), that would have allowed her neighbors to suffer the forced pooling. For the less complete story (without the forced pooling information), see http://earthjustice.org/features/photos-dryden

          • A Harvard study in the fall of 2014 found methane leakage from wellhead to the end user as high as 5-15% of all shipped natural gas versus a leakage rate of only 2.75% maximum for natural gas to cause less climate change impact than continuing to burn coal would.

            Separate studies of the Greater NYC and Boston metro-areas have found local natural gas distribution system leakage rates just in those cities of 5% for NYC and 6% for Boston. The one study said that more than half of the NYC underground gas distribution infrastructure was pre-1940 with some more than a century old.

            The University of Colorado/CIRES research staff has also found wellhead leakage rates as high as 7% in Uintah County, Utah. If we add the leakage rate from the enroute distribution system plus compressor station leakage it is quite obvious that total natural gas system leakage is several times 2.75% of all shipped gas, making natural gas far worse for trapping heat in our lower atmosphere as continuing to burn coal would.

            Now coal of course has other inflicted health issues between mining, trucking or shipping by train, and burning coal which raise its human cost, but coal-burning emissions also put aerosols in our atmosphere that tend to block a percentage of sunlight that burning natural gas does not.

            Given all the science and the long term cost of both human health impact as well as climate change impact, the use of coal, oil, or natural gas all need to be discontinued as rapidly as-possible. EV cars, trucks, and electric-powered trains are one solution, and I am kind of fond of turbine-hybrid power for heavy trucks and buses, which should triple their fuel mileage and cut GHG emissions by close to 70% too.

            This US company is a pioneer in turbine-hybrid heavy truck and bus drivetrain technology:

            http://www.wrightspeed.com/

            Localization of as much of our food supply, raw materials, and consumer goods supply is another way to cut back on GHG emissions, and the type of higher-density urban living that Urban Sustainability Planners are pursuing today also greatly cuts down of GHG emissions too. Now we just need to legalize street-legal electric golf carts for short trips and I will be all set.

        • Marubi

          All I can say, Mark Richardson, is thank God for you! I just scrolled through all your responses along with some of the videos. Thank you. Don’t give up.

        • Angela Rizner

          Hi Mark,

          Wondering if you might be willing to share more info on the farmhouse in Penn? Thank you for your perspective!

          • The news chopper that provided the video was from a Pittsburgh, PA TV station. There is enough information in the video report to use Google to find lots of other news reports on the incident. From my phone I am somewhat handicapped trying to do research but I will see what else I can find on it when I get home. The incident is fairly recent but I don’t remember the exact date.

          • Gas Explosion Causes Huge Fireball in Westmoreland County,
            Pennsylvania

            “Way above our scope on something that big”, said Chief Bob
            Rosatti

            I parked a quarter mile away and I couldn’t get out of my
            truck because of the heat:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpzNIt-e2es

            Raw video: News conference on Salem Township gas explosion

            Full news conference with Fire Chief Bob Rosatti (9:17)

            A 30-inch gas main exploded, one resident seriously burned
            as home was destroyed

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tm2_JVHBUE

            PA Department of Environmental Protection on Friday’s gas
            pipeline fire

            Texas Eastern was the owner of the pipeline

            Video includes some live ground-level fire video from
            junction of US 22 and PA Rt. 819

            Fire is approximately 1 mile from the point where the video
            was filmed

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSXNC1F7I2M

            Man injured after pipeline explodes near his home in western
            PA, State Impact, April 29th, 2016:

            Quite a bit of good information here:

            https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/04/29/1-injured-after-gas-pipeline-explosion-in-western-pa/

            [Quote] The energy company that owns the Pennsylvania natural gas pipeline where a huge fire erupted says the pipe had been inspected in 2012 and “no areas of concern” were found.

            An explosion Friday morning at the Texas Eastern pipeline east of Pittsburgh created a huge fireball that officials say destroyed one
            home, damaged at least three others and injured one fleeing homeowner.

            Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. says the section of pipe where the accident occurred is 30 inches in diameter and was built in 1981. Pennsylvania officials had said it was a 36-inch pipe.

            The cause is under investigation. [End quote]

            https://www.yahoo.com/news/latest-man-hurt-pipeline-gas-explosion-home-160838048.html

            Evacuation order lifted
            after Salem Twp. gas line explosion, WPXI News 11, Pittsburgh, PA

            Updated: May 2, 2016

            [Quote] The explosion in the 36-inch
            pipeline was reported shortly before 8:30 a.m. along Route 22, near Route 819, in Salem Township.

            A man who was inside a home that was about 500 feet away from the blast was burned and taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital. The home was destroyed.

            “He told us he heard a loud noise and compared it to a tornado. All he seen was fire and started running up the road,” (Fire Chief) Rosatti said.

            The fire was blowing across Route 819 and the man suffered severe burns as he escaped the home and ran down the street.

            Friends of the man, James Baker, told Channel 11 News that he is a
            26-year-old newlywed who recently underwent ankle surgery.

            Baker began the first of many surgeries he will need Monday at UPMC Mercy’s burn unit.

            On the day of the explosion, Baker was life-flighted and put into a
            medically induced coma.

            “The heat was so intense, it was burning him as he was running,”
            Rosatti said.

            Jenna Daniels said her father rushed toward the fire and found the victim on the street.

            Daniels’ father told Channel 11 News that he saw the explosion and took off in his truck to make sure everyone was OK. He said as he made his way around the curve, he saw the victim running and said it was clear he was running to live.

            Jeremiah Baker, James Baker’s brother, told Channel 11 News that his family wanted to thank Daniels’ father.

            “We don’t know his name or anything, but we wanted to thank him,” Jeremiah Baker said.

            Jeremiah Baker also said his family members are still looking for three
            pets: a Rottweiler, a Chihuahua and a cat.

            Two other nearby homes were damaged, including Richard and Linda Johnston’s.The siding and railings at their home melted.
            [End quote]

            http://www.wpxi.com/news/man-severely-burned-by-gas-line-blast-that-destroyed-salem-twp-home/248673618#

            GALLERY: Scene photos of gas line explosion in Salem Township, WPXI News 11, Pittsburgh, PA

            Photo #8 is a nice up-close photo of melted vinyl siding on one of the
            damaged homes

            http://www.wpxi.com/news/national/photos/gallery-scene-photos-of-gas-well-explosion-in-salem-township/248835682

            Spectra Energy, Delmont Line 27 Incident (Salem Township, Pennsylvania), July 20th, 2016:

            [Quote] Spectra Energy has received an amended corrective action order (CAO) from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
            Safety Administration (PHMSA) regarding the April 29 incident at Salem Township, Pa.

            According to the amended CAO, dated July 19, 2016, “The cause of the failure is unknown at this time, and the investigation is ongoing. The failed pipe section has been transported to an independent metallurgist for examination and
            failure analysis.

            The preliminary investigation has identified evidence of external corrosion at circumferential welds at the Failure Site. The pattern of
            corrosion indicates disbondment of the coating material applied to the girth weld joints.” [End quote].

            There is a 24-hour media line on this source if you need more information.

            Also contained in this news item are a number of previous updates going back to the date of the incident.

            There is still no final report on the disaster from PA-DEP that I can find:

            http://www.spectraenergy.com/announcements/

          • This is a Google Earth Streetview shot of the house that burned taken in 2013: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.3971026,-79.5220783,3a,90y,243.45h,76.46t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4vnoBQGpu5eYLNJJC3WfvQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            This is a Google Earth Streetview shot of the house that had the vinyl siding melted right off also from 2013:

            https://www.google.com/maps/@40.3971026,-79.5220783,3a,45y,96.64h,83.82t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4vnoBQGpu5eYLNJJC3WfvQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

            This is a vertical satellite view of the location from Google Earth, which is about a half-mile south of the junction of US 22 and PA Hwy 819: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4002099,-79.5247696,1320m/data=!3m1!1e3

            This vertical satellite view is as close as I can get and keep both houses in the frame: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.3968811,-79.5215809,161m/data=!3m1!1e3

      • Since you whined and cried needlessly Roy, here is the study on safe fracking setbacks that I discussed in my earlier piece. I have quoted several paragraphs from it so that you don’t have to read the whole study.

        Adequacy of Current State Setbacks for Directional High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobrara Shale Plays: Marsha Haley, Michael McCawley, Anne C. Epstein, Bob
        Arrington, and Elizabeth Ferrell Bjerke: Environmental Health Perspectives, Advance Publication: 19 February 2016: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510547

        Author Affiliations

        1: Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

        2: School of Public Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA;

        3: Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock, Texas, USA;

        4: Parachute, Colorado, USA;

        5: Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

        [Quote] Residents living within one half mile of an unconventional gas well were found to have an increased risk of neurological and respiratory health effects than residents living greater than ½ mile away. The risk of cancer was increased in these residents as well, with benzene and ethylbenzene as the primary hydrocarbon contributors (McKenzie et al. 2012). [End quote, page 20]

        [Quote] The majority of setback distances in the areas we studied are not derived from peer-reviewed data, data driven analysis, or historical events (Fry 2013) – they are a compromise between governments, the regulated community, environmental and citizen interest groups, and landowners (COGCC 2013).

        In part to address the issue of setbacks, the University of Maryland
        School of Public Health performed an in-depth analysis of the current data, and prepared a report for the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Health and Mental Hygiene. The authors recommended a minimum setback distance of 2000 feet from well pads (University of Maryland School of Public Health 2014)

        In the geographic areas we studied, the most common setback distances from buildings were 300 and 500 feet, with a range of range of 150 to 1500 feet. Based on historical catastrophic events, thermal modeling, vapor cloud modeling, and air pollution data, these distances
        do not appear sufficient to protect public health and safety. We address each of these subsections below. [End quote, pages 21-22]

        [Quote] Current natural gas well setbacks in the Barnett Shale of Texas, the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, and the Niobrara Shale of Colorado cannot be considered sufficient in all cases to protect public health and safety. Based on historical evacuations and thermal modeling, people within these setback distances are potentially
        vulnerable to thermal injury during a well blowout.

        According to air measurements and vapor dispersion modeling, the same populations are susceptible to benzene and hydrogen sulfide exposure above health-based risk levels.

        Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado should consider adopting more generous setback distances, particularly in reference to vulnerable populations; however, distance is not an absolute measure of protection. Unfortunately, there is no defined setback distance that
        assures safety. [End quote, pages 29-30]

        http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10547/

        So Roy, does your Geology degree give you any experience in thermal or vapor cloud modeling? By the way, my undergrad degree was from an atmospheric and environmental science program here in Colorado.

        • Roy

          The author of the University of Maryland study has been criticized by other peers. The person who conducted that study sits on anti-fracking groups and had a conclusion going into the study and cherry picked. And you’re exposed to Benzene fumes in your garage. You can’t “Nerf” the world. You want to base everything off of a castrophatic senairios.

          • Yes, it is well-known that Energy in Depth tries hard to poke holes in every new peer-reviewed study critical of the fracking industry using bought hack scientists, just as tobacco interests used to, and pro-Monsanto interests still do today too.

            How about finding some non- ethically-challenged research that says markedly otherwise?

          • Roy

            I’m so glad you just connected your fear-mongering methods to the anti-gmo movement. I had a feeling there was a crossover between the same people. It is prudent to challenge studies. I don’t see Geologists writing in Academic journals about the field of Medicine. Yet, you’ve cited studies from people with backgrounds in Medicine to discuss matters of Engineering and Chemistry. Much like Dr Oz does in his phony, anti-science Organic crusade. So why don’t you find some non ethically challenged research? Because anything that goes against your little world view isn’t ethical, I guess.

          • Actually the by far most-damaging study of Roundup-ready GMO safety is a finding by one of our planet’s preeminent cancer research institutes that exposure to glyphosate causes cancer in both exposed livestock and in exposed humans, that Monsanto has already millions of dollars on hack ethically-challenged science to try to discredit, unsuccessfully I might add.

            So you don’t have much respect for medical research that has found numerous human health impacts of fracking, eh?

    • Roy

      And those spills are not 8M gallons you exaggeratating fear mongering liar.

      • Actually, the biggest fracking industry hazmat spill in Colorado occurred when the entire side of a hill gave way west of Rifle and all that fracking juice came squirting out from another cementing failire. All of it went right into the Colorado River too. Would producing the spill report help convince you?

        • Roy

          Fracking juice!? Very academic.

          • At least everyone knew what I was talking about including you.

        • Roy

          And you’re Silverton example….also bullshit. No drilling goes on at ALL in that area. It’s not economically feasible to drill through granite. But you with your degree background in Urban studies and Substainibility would know more than someone with an education in Geology such as myself.

          • My example wasn’t from Silverton it was from near Primero, CO, west of Trinidad, where Pioneer suffered a 504,000-gallon produced water leak into a tributary of the Purgatorie River there, the river that flows from there into Trinidad Lake, and then through Trinidad, heading downriver until it joins the Arkansas River.

            Did you know that a week before the big 504,000-gallon spill that Pioneer suffered another 35,000-gallon produced water spill from a nearby well too.

            My mention of the Silverton disaster was just for reference, as I stated that the Silverton disaster occurred one week after the 504,000-gallon Pioneer produced water spill near Primero.

  • I AM

    Pierce their CORPORATE VEIL and hold them personally liable for Conspiracy to overthrow the essential engine, Aiding and Abetting the foreign alien enemies of We The People! Great job of documenting it!

    • Roy

      Psycho!

    • ernie_oertle

      Wow `yam’. I SEE, the watermelons have adopted this tactic of scuttling the fungible-nature of our civilization’s EnergyEconomy by drilling-&-fracking great quantities of words. Doesn’t have to be rational words or doesn’t have to be reasoned words, just frack a source & gush bazillions of words & in the snowstorm of alinskyite accusations & misconstrues, the common citizen will get bowled-over & just go along w/ marxist-enviros whatevers. Just frack the well-head of words, & overwhelm w/ the grease of platitudes & volatile imaginings.

      • heinlein

        You have a pal, ern!

  • I AM

    They are Enemies of The State… We The People are the Several States and as evidenced as a matter of public Record, We The People are also the Superior Creditor and Principal Sovereigns (hence the only STATE SOVEREIGNTY… and furthermore, as long as they want to keep pretending we have Constitutions, we need to Charge Them With Surrendering US, our Sovereignty and our Constitutions over to Foreign Alien Enemies, holding the patents on such Fracking Chemicals, as Phenol!!!! That was and is used as a form of rapid execution folks…

    They are poisoning US… We ARE AT WAR and these OIL COMPANIES have been briefed by TRAITORS within, our own TAX PAYER FUNDED MILITARY TRAINING, to turn around and declared to high level oil and gas corporations, organizations, associations, et al;, stating: “anyone apposing fracking to be “ENEMY COMBATANTS and Domestic ENEMIES”?????

    So this is evidence that TAXES are funding attacks upon the civilian population and our civilian ways and means, our Constitutions, et al; are overthrown by INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMINALS whom are destroying both the Earth, and its inhabitants; and have DECLARED WE The People as: Enemies and in violation of Army Field Manual (1969 Ed.) FM 41-10 specifically prohibits Military Control over Civilian Affairs, which includes, but is not limited to any Government Backed Loans for these Companies to frack US to ‘FRACK ATTACK’ US, i.e. We The People!

    • heinlein

      Now, for some much-needed comic relief.

  • heinlein

    It has always been the practice of American industry to assure the public their products and processes are perfectly safe, even when they know it is not true. They even fund big-money disinformation campaigns with guys in white lab coats. It was the case with cigarettes, global warming, lead, pesticides and ag chemicals and so on. In light of this track record, nothing said by industry and commerce should be taken at face value without independent verification. The traditional modus operandi of big business is to plunge heedlessly ahead, make as much money for private investors as possible, then use their financial clout to try and stiff the victims when the inevitable happens by wearing them out with prolonged litigation.

  • christine_nyholm

    Once again, THANK YOU for your in-depth investigative reporting and thoroughness on such a vital issue. There is no denying that oil and gas development near populated areas negatively impacts the health, safety, property value, and environment of thousands of citizens. Spending millions to persuade people otherwise, in my opinion, is to deny us our basic American human rights.

    My husband and I can relate to the harassment other initiative canvassers have received and it truly saddens us. Yet our hats are off to those who are willing to stop, listen, and think about what Initiatives 75 and 78 can accomplish – greater rights for those who desire a voice in how big industry touches our homes and schools and all those places we live out our daily lives – whether they sign, or not. At this point, our economy and industrial progress benefits from some oil and gas development, but CRED and Protect Colorado’s dark monies simply muddy the waters.

    • ernie_oertle

      I remember all of the hullabaloo in the fall of ’09 when theEastAnglia University (in Britain) emails got hacked. Yanno – the smeggy scam where leftwinger enviros got caught out-right fabricating global-warming lies & coordinating among themselves the telling of those lies. Oh holy-smoke!!, the sky caved-in on that fraud & global-warming/climate-change has had trouble getting traction ever-since. But they howled & howled & howled, … about what an awful unfair disservice it was to them, that their >>private<< communication between themselves was stolen & criminally thrown open to the public. It was horrid & outrageous!!!, & did I say it was unfair?!!
      Nevermind that the anti-frackers have classlessly flipped the act here, taken private business conversations & spread them open for political gain & broad exaggeration. More pigrezzivist double-standard.

      • Jim Young

        I used to help repair a truck used by a contractor that hauled well instrumentation trailers out to well sites back in the 80’s. I doubt he made up the stories about how who was telling the biggest lies.

        The BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) project (to which Koch added funding when it seemed they were well qualified skeptics at the time) had reason to be skeptical and they studied something like 5 times the data any previous, less rigorous, competent, or even a few fakers used to reach the levels that disagreed with the 3% of combined real skeptics and too many outright deniers (those who knew the truth but deny it).

        Your East Anglia comparison is, at best, a grasp at a very small percentage of fakers among the thousands of the 97%, while you ignore the massive percentage imbalance of deniers that seem to far out balance the tiny percentage true of skeptics, which are also possibly a tiny percentage within the 3% counted as skeptics. I’m guessing true skeptics are probably less than 1% and deniers more than 2%.

        • ernie_oertle

          You once-upon-a-time, repaired a work-truck.

          And somebody, it might have been the regular-driver of that truck but it is difficult to tell, 25-30yrs ago, apparently working as an aside-employee in the oil-drilling industry, said something to you.

          Who knows, perhaps as friends swap tales about practical-jokes or the size of fish, somebody – the driver or someone-else, 25-30yrs ago, reported stories, that may or may not have been truthful.

          Then there is substantial trouble in the 2nd-paragraph. “The .. Earth surface-temperature project .. had reason to be skeptical & they studied something like 5X the data any previous, less rigorous, competent, ..|

          [end of the sense the sentence was making, as the rest of the sentence goes in a different direction]

          |..a few fakers used to reach the levels that disagreed w/ the 3% of combined real skeptics & too many outright deniers(.)” ?? …. First you’re speaking something about a surface-temp project that apparently explored some other data-sources, … then, there is something about fakers (?, of what?, surface-temp reports?) who disagree w/ the 3%. ? The global-warmers swear they are the 97%ers who are `fer-sure’ about the need to be ghastly alarmed about warmin’. Supposedly, the 3%ers are the gruesomely, luridly doubtful that MotherNature is overwhelmed such that warrants a politicalization-of-our-weather by the 97% agenda-scaredykats
          & busybodies. ::: So, it is not clear who your fakers or your 3% or who the combined real skeptics are connected w/, or something about those awful awful deniers. But we do give you credit for getting in the fashionable but honorless skewer of theKoch-brothers!

          Your ending to the 2nd-paragraph seems to capsulize your 3rd-paragraph = “..those who know the truth but deny it ..”, has a bizarre metaphysical ring to it. It seems to blend well w/ Democrat-voters of the modern-era who subconsciously know they are fueling the end of small-d democracy & small-r republican-form of government, they are bending the end of Freedom&Liberty, they by this time KNOW the education they’ve received in schools & the news they are fed by the media is `TheNarrative’, meaning they KNOW it is rank lies & untruths intent on heinous political manipulation of them – just like theRussian people endured for 3-generations – they know the truth about Amerika’s leftwinger overlords, but to set things right – they’d have to work & fight the leftwingers. And the leftwingers have got them compromised. The leftwingers swear they will give them free sh!t .. & ya won’t have to work. “Know the Truth, but Deny It” That’s theDeomcrats.

          We can tell from this post of yours however Jim, you’ll make a fine anti-frackivist & warmer/alarmist.

          • More incoherent than usual, ern. That’s an accomplishment.

          • ernie_oertle

            More incoherence. Precisely. Your boy JimY wrote nonsensically. But as is your politically-subversive wont to subvert sensibility, you flip. You flip the value of my urgings to JimY to clarity to his readers, into another suppression of understanding between peoples towards your end of political obfuscation. File under: `fundamental-transformation’ of the dictionary.

          • One thing you rarely are is clear.

          • ernie_oertle

            You were clear enough when you wrote: Dear white men: Thanks for the advances in technology, now please die.

          • As if white men have been the only ones to have ever done anything positive.

          • ernie_oertle

            Tonight, thinking I was going to go read about some other subject – I by-accident found the website `autostraddle’. … What name do you post under on there?

          • ernie_oertle

            This is an extraordinary rarity! – where I get the last word in over ceeFoo. Hasn’t happened but a time or two. She must be off obfuscating Nebraskans or w/ her lib-girls watching `SausageParty’.

          • Jim Young

            Seems every point I checked starting 35 years ago keeps finding people in the industry (back when they would talk without fear of losing their jobs), and I’d say thousands of others I’ve met through the years that find endless mismatches between what the industry tries to portray and what people see on site.

            What the driver told me was anecdotal evidence (something that was just the start of looking for other evidence). Follow up showed that Native American tribes won law suites over the type of under reporting he described. They actually video taped the tanker trucks collecting the oil and followed them to the refineries, showing that they were delivering 6 times the oil they reported (for royalty payments).

            Perhaps you should come with me and meet the people face to face and see if you can persuade them that what they report and we follow up on is wrong. Would you like to start at the local witnesses, the industry people that don’t get the talking points memos, the scientists and engineers, or the industry captured regulators that resigned when caught corrupting the system?

  • TLUF

    A Masterpiece, Joel! Thank you.

  • Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) — the controversial horizontal drilling technique used to extract oil and gas in shale basins around the U.S. and the world — has sat at the center of the debate over the Democratic Party’s draft platform set for a vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) convention in Philadelphia July 25-28.

    That platform was drafted and debated by a 15-member committee, with four members chosen by DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, five by Bernie Sanders and six by presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. After a fracking moratorium clause failed in a 7-6 vote at the DNC Platform Committee meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri from June 24-25, an amendment calling for President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan not to incentivize fracked gas power plants also did not pass at the July 8-9 DNC Platform Committee meeting held in Orlando, Florida.

    A DeSmog investigation has revealed that two members of the committee chosen by Hillary Clinton work for a consulting, lobbying and investment firm with a financial stake in fracking. Those members — Carol Browner and Wendy Sherman — work for Albright Stonebridge Group. Clinton campaign energy policy adviser Trevor Houser, who introduced a regulate fracking amendment (introduced as a counter to the one calling for a ban) also has industry ties via his now-defunct fellowship* at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    http://admin.desmogblog.com/2016/07/23/democratic-party-platform-committee-fracking

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