Our latest petition (October 2011), calls for a moratoruim on fracking in Arapahoe County. We will be giving it to Arapahoe County governing bodies, at the municipal and county level. It is also intended for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and our state legislators.
PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM HARM, FROM UNLAWFUL DENIAL OF RIGHTS, AND FROM UNCOMPENSATED LOSS, RELATED TO OIL AND GAS DRILLING IN ARAPAHOE COUNTY
Whereas residents of Arapahoe County are facing an unprecedented number of applications for industrial operations for oil and gas drilling in Arapahoe County, and in many cases in highly populated residential areas, and
Whereas these operations for oil and gas extraction, commonly including the 7-10 year old technique of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, are known to result in the following documented harms:
24/7 large scale industrial operations (with extremely heavy volume tanker truck traffic, lights, loud noise, tremors, smells, emissions of toxic chemicals and gases), which greatly diminish quality of life and in some areas have led to dramatic decrease in property values and difficulty obtaining mortgages /new mortgages and/or homeowners insurance,
Frequent spills and accidents, with an estimated average 30% rate of contamination of ground or surface water with highly toxic and not fully disclosed chemicals in Colorado, including contamination of underground springs and aquifers and hazards to public health that are intensified by lack of advance disclosure of chemicals used (thus precluding appropriate advance emergency preparations)
Coincident methane migration, resulting in toxified wells, groundwater, and or surface water, with incidents of “flammable water” in homes and explosive conditions in homes, and ozone release higher than that associated with coal burning
Operating protocols including: common usage of open pits to store toxic fracking wastewater, resulting in emissions of highly toxic VOC chemicals and thermogenic materials (radioactive nucleotides) and produced gases (hydrogen sulfide) directly into the air and over surface water (and into land and ground water when there is pit leakage); acknowledged dumping of toxified water in rivers or spraying on roadsides ; failure to treat toxic materials per regulations pertaining to hazardous waste
Risk of serious harm to public health, associated with open pits, flaring and leaky condensate tanks, as well as with coincident methane release, including: increased rates of permanent neurological debilitation (chronic pain, muscle weakness, memory and other cognitive impairments), endocrine disruption associated with reproductive impairments and genetic defects, severe respiratory syndromes, dermatological rashes and pustules) , especially in pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with existing medical conditions
Use of an extraordinary volume of water (2-5 million gallons or more per frack and each well fracked up to 20 or more times) “to extinction”, meaning that water cannot be sufficiently cleaned and reused for other applications, (since it contains a mixture of highly toxic chemicals as well as thermogenic toxins) and is essentially removed from our hydrologic cycle ; moreover, the results of usage of such extraordinary amounts of water to extinction, in our semi arid state that is predicted to face several decades of increasing water scarcity, has not been publicly calculated by any agency of the state of Colorado, in terms of the cost/benefit ratio and risk status of such use to our state’s water security
Since the 1980’s, the oil and gas industry has had a unique exemption from key federal statutes protective of public health and safety (including Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, CERCLA Superfund Act, the Community Right to Know Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and others), which to date has left toxic air emissions unmonitored, toxic chemicals use undisclosed, highly toxified water not disposed of with the care due to hazardous waste, toxic chemical spills less regulated and not subject to full remediation of contamination by the offending company, and denial of full EPA access to spill and accident and contamination data that would inform improved practices and decrease threats to public health and safety
Many of the above threats to public health and safety could be prevented and cured by use of available “green completion technology”, closed loop systems, less toxic frack fluid chemicals, methane capture, computerized modeling of the shalebeds, computerized continuous air and water sampling for the chemical signature of the frack fluid that was used with each frack of each well, but industry chooses not to use these techniques and our state agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and our legislature does not require them to do so, and
Whereas, neither our representatives in the Colorado state legislature, nor Arapahoe County, nor Tri-County Health, nor Arapahoe County’s city governments, nor its property owners have been fully advised of the above listed known harms, neither by oil and gas companies or by their trade organization (COGA) or by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), even though the companies, COGA and COGCC are well aware of these harms, these entities have thus denied our elected representatives, Arapahoe County, Arapahoe cities, and Arapahoe property /home owners of due advisement of known hazards and meaningful opportunity for informed consent or protest, and
Whereas COGCC asserts that it not only has full regulatory authority in the state of Colorado over oil and gas drilling applications, oversight, etc., it also purports that state oil and gas statutes and regulations preclude the following rights:
-The rights of counties and towns to enact ordinances regarding the place and manner of oil and gas extraction, which may be more restrictive than those imposed by the state, in order to assert their governmental right and fundamental responsibility to protect resident health and safety and quality of life and property values in their towns and counties , and to fully exercise their rights and responsibilities under the Colorado Constitution (especially sections 1031, 1043)
-The rights of individual property owners (either individually or as HOAs) to informed consent, meaningful protest, the right to refuse oil and gas leases, and to be free from coercive policies such as “forced pooling” (which further vacate right of refusal); without the ability to exercise these rights, individual property owners and homeowners have been denied their Constitutional rights to life liberty and happiness, by virtue of denial of their right of peaceful enjoyment of their property and full value of their property, and
Whereas the above mentioned rights (to full advisement of harms, right to be free from harm and especially the right to be free from preventable harm of toxic insult to health, right to meaningful informed consent and right of refusal, and right to enact local ordinances in protection of the health and safety and quality of life and property values of its residents, etc.) are currently unjustly denied by COGCC and by industry, both localities and individuals stand to suffer additional financial harm and loss by currently coerced acquiescence to oil and gas drilling, related to: cost of excessive road use repairs, cost of full remediation of damaged land and water, loss in individual property value, possible inability to secure a new mortgage or homeowners insurance, loss in aggregate current and future value of the neighborhood (to the individual, the HOA, and the developer and secondarily to the city and county, in mill levy taxation collected), cost of legal fees to establish harm and file for damages, cost to diagnose and treat health problems associated with oil and gas drilling (health costs both to individuals and to the county, as documented in the Health Assessment prepared by the the Colorado School of Public Health for Garfield County), and
Whereas such coerced contracts, contracts devoid of critically important information and due notice of public hazards, denial of rights, and uncompensated harms are contrary to our U.S. Constitution, our state constitution, and common law, as well as our human rights (including but not limited to the internationally recognized human right to clean water), and our inalienable rights as human beings that precede and determine all constitutions, laws, and government structures,
Therefore, we petition for relief by asking for a moratorium on oil and gas development in Arapahoe County, until such time as the above harms and insults are cured or the oil and gas industry proves, by independently verified scientific study, that the lifespan oil and gas drilling and extraction techniques that it intends to use do not cause harm to human health and safety, quality of life, property values and mortgage and home insurance guarantees of coverage, water security, nor denial of rights otherwise assured by law to individuals, townships and counties.
Printed name Signature Date Address (including city,zip code) Telephone
Here are two petitions currently being circulated for citizens in Aurora and the Denver Metro Area to sign. These will be given to the Colorado State Land Board, the Arapahoe County Commissioners, and the City of Aurora, to show that citizens are concerned about the possibility of hydraulic fracturing happening at the Lowry Bombing Range.
REGARDING THE STATE LAND BOARD’S CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSALS TO LEASE LOWRY BOMBING RANGE LAND FOR HYDRAULIC FRACTURING FOR OIL PRODUCTION
The State Land Board owns 26,000 acres of contiguous land at the former Lowry Bombing Range (approximately 40 square miles), land that sits above 4 aquifers and that it has called “the jewel of the Front Range”. In 2007, the State Land Board held numerous public meetings and forums with nearby towns, cities, school districts, health departments, water and sewer utilities, open space agencies, property owners, and the general public, to determine development principles for 2,800 acres north of Quincy Avenue (Mixed Development) and south of Quincy Avenue (Conservation/Water Resource).
It was determined through this joint stakeholder process that even the Mixed Development portion of the land should be subject to a “sustainable development model”, with “resource sensitive growth” that does not significantly impact the existent and adjucated water reservoirs on the land, that does not overly burden existent water resources, that protects the integrity of significant natural areas, protecting the Coal Creek floodplain and riparian area, and “sensitive to adjacent land uses”, in order to “accomplish sustainable development…in a manner that will provide a model for future development of the Denver metro area’s exurban regions, with particular emphasis on sound use of water
resources and efficient use of energy”, with the following specific goals:
Conserve, reuse, and recycle water, energy, and resources
Protect natural areas and open space, drainages and ridgelines
Protect water quality
Provide for safe and convenient traveling…
Provide a mix of housing, jobs, and services
Promote healthy, active lifestyles
The State Land Board is currently considering leasing 1,600 to 2,600 acres to oil and gas companies for hydraulic fracturing for oil production, commonly known as “fracking” for oil, and is considering allowing lease for 19 to 98 wells for this purpose. Wells would use the fracking technique to produce oil from the Niobrara oil shale beds, some 4,000 feet down.
Using current fracking procedure, each well is fracked 5-20 times and each frack is estimated to require at least 1000 tanker truck trips, to bring in approximately 2 million gallons of clean water per frack and some 5000 gallons of toxic chemicals (known carcinogens, nerve toxins, endocrine disruptors, etc) that make up the drilling mud, fracking fluid and gel agents. Therefore, estimated requirements for:
10 wells: 200,000 tanker truck trips, 4 billion gallons of clean water contaminated, 1million gallons of toxic chemicals injected
20 wells: 400,000 tanker truck trips, 8 billion gallons of clean water contaminated, 2 million gallons of toxic chemicals injected.
98 wells: 1,960,000 tanker truck trips, 39.2 billion gallons of clean water contaminated, 9.8 million gallons of toxic chemicals injected
By petition request of residents of Grand Junction, the Colorado Oil and Gas Commissioners requested the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and the Colorado School of Public Health to conduct an impact assessment. The resultant report concluded that the health of surrounding residents would “most likely be affected by chemical exposures, accidents, emergencies and stress-related community changes” and that 8 areas may be impacted by fracking development in their area: air pollution, water and soil contamination, community wellness, economic impacts, traffic noise and light pollution, accidents and malfunctions, and impacts to the health care system.”
Therefore drilling operations currently being considered pose a considerable and material threat to public health, public resources, and quality of life in the surrounding area and for all parties for whom the 4 aquifers beneath the Bombing Range land comprise future water security (Arapahoe, Denver, Elbert counties).
We therefore request that the State Land Board reject considerations for such operations until such time as oil production from shale can be accomplished with improved technology that poses less environmental and public health risk.
If the State Land Board wishes to further consider oil production from shale at Lowry Bombing Range at some point in the future, it should open a process of public forums to discuss this radical departure from intended use, including all stakeholders contacted in 2007, but with particular emphasis on the Colorado State Department of Public Health, and Tri County Health, as well as state water and air quality and water security experts, and the surrounding residents.
Thank you for your consideration of my request as undersigned below:
date printed name signature full address tele. Number
PETITION REGARDING PROPOSED HYDRAULIC FRACTURING FOR OIL AT THE FORMER LOWRY BOMBING RANGE LANDS IN ARAPAHOE COUNTY, ON LAND OWNED BY THE COLORADO STATE LAND BOARD
Whereas the Colorado State Land Board is currently considering leasing half or all of its 26000 acres of land at the Former Lowry Bombing Range lands in Arapahoe County to the oil and gas industries for the purpose of horizontal hydraulic fracturing of the Niobrara shale beneath it for oil production,
And whereas the Colorado State Land Board intends to act as a responsible trustee for the education of the children of Colorado by procuring royalties therefrom, and as a wise, long-term steward of the land which it holds,
And whereas the use of current hydraulic fracturing technology to produce oil in deep shale beds is known to pose numerous serious risks to public health, water and air quality, and water security, we, as residents of Arapahoe and Elbert Counties and Denver, Colorado, residing in areas surrounding the former Lowry Bombing Range land, or potentially impacted by aquifer impact, reasonably insist that the Colorado State Land Board ensure the responsible mitigation of those risks by ensuring that the following stipulations are included in any such lease:
1. Requirement of using green completion technology to the maximum extent currently available, and improved as improvements become developed, namely:
a. Prohibiting the storage of fracking wastewater (so-called “produced water” in any lined or unlined open air pits (thus reducing airborne exposure to toxic volatile fracking chemicals and associated threats to air quality and the purity of open water such as the Aurora reservoir)
b) Prohibiting the venting of any condensate heating tanks (for the same reason)
c) Requiring capture of any secondarily released (or not previously released) biogenic or thermogenic methane gas (since it is known to seriously contaminate groundwater, kill plants and animals, pose serious human health risks, and to be many times more impactful to global warming than burning coal), in addition to applying available technology to prevent such release
d) Centralizing well pads so as to decrease frack fluid spill risk
e) Any fracking wastewater not left in a well and capped to be removed to a facility certified capable of safely removing hazardous chemicals and radionuclides prior to using the water for any purpose
f) Ensuring that all wells are securely encased in concrete and steel, with certified secure bonding, the length of the well
g) Application of current and evolving technology for imaging, assessment and modeling of existent natural fissures near aquifers, reservoirs or creeks, to avoid inadvertent exacerbation of such fissures and possible release of thermogenic gases into the aquifers, current or planned water reservoirs, or other groundwater.
2. Requirement of full disclosure of all hazardous chemicals used and nature of usage on site to the Tri County Health Service and the Colorado Department of Public Health, 6 months in advance of operations initiation, to allow these public health entities adequate time to organize emergency preparation procedures to address spills, fires, explosions, fracking fluid or methane or radionuclide release into groundwater or reservoir or aquifer. Full cooperation with these entities in developing adequate emergency protocols and full financial coverage of the cost of emergency response plan development and materials cost, cost of emergency response, and the cost of any treatment plans and treatment for affected individuals, as well as full cost of remediation of land, air or water contamination therefrom.
Similarly, provision of any additional information (acquired in other drilling operations in Colorado or other states) regarding common health complaints noted by workers or residents in the area of such drilling operations, to TriCounty Health and Colorado Department of Public Health, such that this information can be disseminated to physicians in the area, in order to develop medical awareness for appropriate treatment, report to State of Colorado, and state collection and assessment of associated epidemiological data.
3. Payment for state of Colorado geologist and water specialist pre-drill sampling of the 4 underlying water aquifers and the Aurora Reservoir, and any creeks or groundwater within 5 miles of each fracking arm, to test for
methane and radionuclides known to be released in the fracking process, chemicals contained in the fracking fluid or mudding or other underground procedures involved in fracking and extraction of oil, as well as continuous monitoring of same, to allow for immediate detection of contamination and location and mitigation of contaminant source, as well as improved protocols to prevent such releases in future operations.
4. Payment for state of Colorado installation of air quality sensors on and near well sites, (testing for similar chemicals and gases as listed in #3), in order to continuously assess air quality prior to and during all phases of drilling operations, such that any contaminant can be timely noted, remediated, and avoided in the future by improved performance protocols
5. Full disclosure to state of Colorado regarding the estimated volume of water used per frack at each well site, prior to lease agreement and stipulated in lease agreement terms, and the actual volume of water used per frack upon completion of each frack to be recorded and yearly reported, to permit the state to act as responsible steward of Colorado’s increasingly scarce water supply
6. Full disclosure to state of Colorado regarding the number of tanker trucks and other heavy machinery trips per frack, in order that the state can act as responsible steward of Colorado transportation and roads and levy cost of needed improvements or repair associated with such logarithmically increased heavy traffic to the oil and gas companies, on a pro rata basis
7. In the event of a serious spill or methane contamination of aquifer, fire, explosion, or other such serious threat to public health and welfare, all drilling operations shall cease until the cause is determined by both industry and state specialists, and a plan of remediation and future prevention can be agreed upon by same parties and initiated by responsible parties in industry, paid for by responsible parties in industry, and overseen by the state of Colorado.
8. No individual residing in Arapahoe or Elbert County or the City of Denver shall forfeit or have abridged any legal rights, including right of civil suit for lawful damages, related to State Land Board approved oil drilling on the former Lowry Bombing Range lands.
9. Initial leases on offer only to those companies that have a record of average to above average performance in the state and in other states regarding accidents or any kind; and each additional well development contingent upon successful achievement of green completion and absence of any serious incident; all lease production rights to cease in the event of major incident/accident, until such time as incident/accident is fully investigated, remediation efforts proceed to state satisfaction, and performance protocols are improved to prevent the likelihood of future such incidents.
10. Initial lease batches be limited to under 10 in toto for the first year of such operations, to allow for state water, air and health specialists to present performance assessments to the State Land Board at the end of the year, such that the State Land Board decision regarding any additional leases can be based upon review of performance of the above stipulations. Subsequent additional lease batches, if any, to be in multiples of 10 per year, to permit the State Land Board to fulfill its long range land stewardship obligations to the fullest capacity. Lease terms should contain stipulations that continuing lease be subject to performance review outcome.
Copies of this petition are also being submitted to our local city/town government, county government, and the Tri County Health service, as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health. We request that these entities submit formal written statements to the State Land Board, in support of our stipulation requests as listed above, for the preservation of public health and safety.
We, the undersigned, thank you for your consideration of our requests.
date printed name signature full address tele. number
Our Online Petitions Can Be Found At: