Governor vows to prevent fracking ban

Competing sides should cooperate, he says in GJ stop

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Did COGCC and Maralex solve the leaking frank hit well yet?  If so, I would say perhaps it is not just ‘environmentalists’ that ‘misunderstand’ what is happening…

if not, rather…

I know, I know. How about we mandate that all fracking fluid used in Colorado be non-toxic, that abandoned wells be permanently capped, that tracer chemicals be used in fracking fluids so that blame and liability can be assigned when warranted, that bonding be sufficient to cover clean up—and permanently stay with the well?

Two stories in Saturday’s Sentinel – Charles Ashby’s (“Governor vows to prevent fracking ban” and the AP’s “Frays in fracking debate”)—afford timely insight into the on-going controversy over adequate regulation of “hydraulic fracturing” in Colorado generally, and on the Western Slope particularly.

Environmentalists will likely accuse Governor Hickenlooper of pandering to oil and gas interests by proclaiming that he “will do everything he can to prevent any kind of ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state”.  However, if he was referring to “any” statewide “ban” or moratorium (as in New York and proposed in California), he is on firmer ground than if his pledge includes much narrower restrictions legitimately aimed at protecting a local community’s public health and safety.

Environmentalists will also likely insist that the Governor (despite his credentials as a “former oil and gas geologist”) – not “the environmental community” – still clings to “a misunderstanding of what [fracking] really is”.

On the other hand, fracking’s critics should enthusiastically agree with the Governor “that the problem some people have with fracking is a matter of bad public relations on the part of the natural gas industry” – which persistently decimates its own credibility.

So, in seeking his more cooperative “middle ground”, Hickenlooper should consider the AP’s report that, at least in California, the industry “has shown a willingness to accept requirements for groundwater monitoring and local control to ease public concerns”.

Consequently, the most effective step the industry can take to improve “public relations” is to support repeal of the “Halliburton Exceptions” in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – which exempt “fracking” from the EPA’s otherwise applicable authority to investigate and/or regulate “hydraulic fracturing” under the Safe Drinking Water (which mandates groundwater monitoring), Clean Water, and Clean Air Acts.

Meanwhile, the Governor should stop suing municipalities trying to protect themselves.

In paragraph 5, the Guv proposes a process he knows is slanted and won’t work. All you have to do is go to page 5a of the paper and see how it unfolds. This is the same guv that is proposing action contrary to the State Constitution that gives Home Rule the rank of state law in protecting their people. He is vowing to allow the industrialization of areas (about 2% of the whole state)that have by constitution, the right to protect themselves from such invasion. This is the same guy that was coerced into drinking frac fluid by the same pressure he wants to apply to people trying to protect their health, safety, and well being. He came to GJ to pander for votes, saying what he thinks will buy campaign money and curry favor in an economy dependent on O&G. Yet he dances the sidestep around critical water issues because he needs a bone for the front range. I wonder if he will incude the DeBeque seep or the Parachute Creek spill on his tour for Sally Jewell?

And now we know why the Governor is in trouble in the polls.  He has irritated his base.

Good luck with that, Gov.  Some of us might not vote for your opponent, no matter how crazy.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t undervote in your race.

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