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A series of Bureau of Land Management meetings kicked off Tuesday, with the agency getting public comments on an Environmental Impact Statement--or EIS--analyzing existing oil and gas leases in the White River National Forest. And that includes controversial leases in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. The BLM is engaging the public on this scoping process to help identify the issues the local communities want to see addressed in the EIS.
KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to the BLM's David Boyd about the meetings, and how the agency is responding to local requests to void oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide.
Water's necessity in energy development is a hot-button topic, and this month's Energy Advisory Board meeting addressed the issue... the results were predictably volatile. KDNK's Marilyn Gleason was there, and brings this report.
Garfield County Commissioners recently closed the door on a nine-year study of the potential impacts of natural gas drilling on groundwater in areas south of Silt. Wyoming-based hydrologist Dr. Geoffrey Thyne, who weighed in on the results of Phase III of the study, had previously voiced concerns about a possible link between natural gas exploration and groundwater contamination. Now, he says there is none. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has more.
The Thompson Divide Coalition released a geologic and economic analysis Wdnesday calling the Thompson Divide region "extremely unattractive to drill and operate wells". KDNK's Eric Skalac has more.
Late last year, the Department of the Interior made permanent a two percent administrative fee, charged to states that receive Federal oil and gas royalties. In Colorado, that could mean up to a three million dollar loss in annual funds.
Congressman Scott Tipton introduced a bill to counter that fee last May and hopes to see it through to a Presidential signature this year. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh recently spoke with the congressman about the Federal OIl and Gas Leasing program and his take on energy production in the West.
The Government Accountability Office released a report in late last year, criticizing the way the Department of Interior has been handling its oil and gas leasing program both on and off-shore.
The report is a follow-up to earlier GAO investigations,which found that the US government has one of the lowest rates of return on oil and gas leases, and that DOI has not evaluated the oil and gas revenue system for more than 25 years.
DOI has taken steps to improve the program. But, it's still on a list of programs that are at high risk of fraud, abuse, waste, or mismanagement.
KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with Frank Rusco, GAO's director of natural resources and environment, about the list and why DOI is on it.
At last week's Energy Advisory Board meeting, Garfield County again brought out its study of the Mamm Creek area that concludes methane in water wells probably is not related to gas drilling. However the study's authors were peppered with questions from residents unhappy with the study's limitations. KDNK's Marilyn Gleason has this report.
More than 400 people gathered at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Saturday to celebrate the Thompson Divide with speakers, music, food, and plenty of petition-signing. A coalition called United for Thompson Divide organized the event to draw attention to why they believe the area just south of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale should be left off the list of places to drill for natural gas. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh was there and has this report.
Related: Fracktivists Push for Statewide Moratorium
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that two companies involved in the cleanup of the recent Parachute Creek hydrocarbon spill have been fined more than $18,000 for health and safety violations during the cleanup process. KDNK has since learned that one other company involved in the cleanup was also fined nearly $10,000 for similar violations. KDNK's Nelson Harvey reports.
Workers continue their remediation work at a Williams Midstream natural gas plant that has been leaking toxins into nearby water sources for at least three months. State authorities say cleanup efforts have been successful in reducing water contamination at the site. But as KDNK's Ed Williams reports, EPA documents show the facility has a history of air pollution violations.