fracking

News
4:08 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Colorado Ground Zero For Political Wars Over Fracking

A screenshot of an ad by the industry-funded group Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development.
Credit Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development

Political spending both for and against potential anti-fracking ballot measures is already washing over Colorado.

Colorado is quickly becoming ground zero for a political war over the future of hydraulic fracturing. Drill operations are pushing deeper into populated areas these days and some local governments and activists are supporting ballot measures that would give communities greater control over the industry.

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Open Spaces
4:42 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Inside Energy Production And Politics

Credit Jordan Wirfs-Brock

A continuing energy boom in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Great Plains is reshaping the future of what’s powering America, and we’re launching a new reporting project to keep track of that.

Through Inside Energy, we’re teaming up with public radio and television stations in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota to explore the complex energy issues affecting our lives.

The three states are feeling this new energy economy differently, and it’s changing political realities in different ways.

WYOMING

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News
6:20 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Baker Hughes Announcement Could Be Good News

Last week, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of fracking chemicals said it would fully disclose the ingredients of its products. But Wyoming’s top oil and gas regulator says until he sees more information from Baker Hughes about the format of its disclosure, it’s hard to say whether it goes far enough to comply with Wyoming’s disclosure laws.

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News
4:51 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Baker Hughes Pledges To Fully Disclose Fracking Chemicals

One of the country’s largest suppliers of hydraulic fracturing chemicals says going forward, it will fully disclose the ingredients that make up those chemicals and their maximum concentrations in the frac fluid.

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Open Spaces
4:04 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Frac Sand Poses Potential Health Problem For Workers

Credit Andrew Link | Winona (Minn.) Daily News

It’s been called miner's phthisis, grinder's asthma, potter's rot. Silicosis is a disease of the lungs that’s caused by inhaling tiny particles of crystalline silica dust, basically sand. Those particles cut the lung tissue, causing inflammation and scarring that make it difficult to breathe.

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News
3:49 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Exemptions to Fracking Chemical Disclosure Law To Receive Renewed Scrutiny

Environmental and landowner groups are celebrating after the Wyoming Supreme Court found a lower court had ruled in error regarding disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

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News
8:01 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Radioactive Waste Lands Wyoming Company In Hot Water

Credit Rick Schreiber

A Wyoming company is in trouble with North Dakota officials for improperly disposing of filter socks used in oil and gas drilling. Filter socks capture sediment in flowback water, and can concentrate naturally-occurring radioactivity. The North Dakota Department of Health says inspectors detected radioactivity at above-background levels on two flatbed trailers piled high with filter socks that are owned by Riverton-based R.P Services.

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FrackingDisclosure
10:02 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Court hears challenge to fracking chemical trade secret exemption

The Wyoming Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday challenging the state’s process for exempting fracking chemicals from public disclosure. Wyoming was the first state in the nation to adopt a disclosure law, but it included what some say is a massive loophole: companies can petition for what’s called a trade secret exemption. They’ve done that more than a hundred times since the law went into effect in 2010.

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News
4:46 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Federal fracking rule criticized by states, industry

The federal rule on hydraulic fracturing proposed by the Bureau of Land Management came under fire today from state and industry representatives at an energy law conference. The regulations establish nationwide standards for cementing wells and disclosure of chemicals used in fracking fluids.

Wyoming already has regulations in place for fracking and industry representatives say a federal rule would kowtow to environmental groups, infringe on states’ ability to control their water supply, and wear away states’ rights.

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News
6:32 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Hydraulic fracturing case to be heard by the Wyoming Supreme Court

The Wyoming Supreme Court will hear arguments next month over whether the public has the right to obtain lists of chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing.
 
     Environmental groups are suing to see the lists that companies have submitted to state regulators. The groups say they have a right to see the information under Wyoming's public records law.
 
     Attorneys for Wyoming and Halliburton Energy Services say the chemicals are shielded from public disclosure because they're protected trade secrets.
 

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Baseline Testing
6:11 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Baseline water testing rule draws criticism from all sides

Opinion is sharply divided on a proposed rule that would require water testing at oil and gas wells before and after drilling.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been taking public comment on the rule since August. Two dozen groups and individuals submitted written comments, and a handful spoke at a public hearing in Casper on Tuesday.

Bob LeResche is vice-chair of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a group that represents landowners. He says as they stand, the rules have no teeth.
 

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Baseline testing
6:56 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Legislative committee interrogates baseline testing rule

Credit Bob Jenkins / Wikipedia

Legislators had a lot of questions about a proposed water-testing rule for oil and gas wells during a meeting of the Minerals Committee last week.

Governor Matt Mead proposed the rule, which would require water testing before and after drilling. Industry estimates it would cost $9,000 to $18,000 per well. The governor’s natural resources policy advisor, Jerimiah Rieman, told legislators it’s worth the cost.

“From my perspective, it’s pretty cheap insurance for the companies,” Rieman said. “It’s pretty cheap for the state to have a rider on that policy.”

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News
6:37 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Wyoming's fracking rules could be enhanced

This week the federal government will close testimony on proposed fracking rules. 

Opponents of fracking say the proposed federal regulations are too weak and those in Wyoming say they prefer the state’s rules. 

Deb Thomas of Clark has expressed concerns about fracking in Wyoming for a number of years.  She says Wyoming’s rules are strong, but she thinks they could also be improved.  

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News
7:25 am
Mon August 12, 2013

A national sportsman group condemns new fracking bill

A bill in Congress that would give states the exclusive right to regulate hydraulic fracturing has raised the ire of a national sportsmen’s advocacy group.  Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development has released a statement supporting federal regulation.  U-S Representative for Wyoming, Cynthia Lummis is a member of the Natural Resources Committee, which sponsored House Bill 2728 against federal regulation. 

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water quality
5:12 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Wyo. Oil and Gas Commission takes up baseline water testing rule

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted Tuesday to start the formal rulemaking process to establish baseline water testing in the state. The rule would require oil and gas operators to collect water samples before beginning development.  

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News
3:39 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

EPA won't confirm Pavillion frack-pollution tie

The Environmental Protection Agency is abandoning its plan to confirm hydraulic fracturing is linked to groundwater pollution in central Wyoming.

A draft news release obtained today by The Associated Press says the EPA won't have independent scientists review its finding that fracking may have caused the pollution.

EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds in Washington, D.C., confirms the information.

The EPA says it won't finalize its report on the issue. Instead, it will let state officials investigate.

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Open Spaces
4:27 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Supervisor discusses issues from flaring to fracking

Natural gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, is flared at a well pad near Douglas
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck spoke with the new supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Grant Black.  Since he started the job a few weeks ago, Black has been dealing with issues ranging from the flaring of natural gas to water contamination.  He says the flaring issue is interesting.

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News
6:13 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Proposed federal fracking rules released

The U-S Department of Interior released an updated draft proposal of fracking rules for federal and tribal lands on Thursday. The rule-making process started in 2010, and the latest draft incorporates feedback from more than 177-thousand public comments submitted.

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News
9:59 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Wyoming Congressional delegation opposes legislation that would reveal fracking chemicals

Congress is looking legislation that would require the oil and gas industry to disclose what chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” 

The bill, called the FRAC Act, is opposed by Wyoming lawmakers who say such regulations should be left up to the states.  Companies say fracking chemicals need to remain under-wraps because the mixtures they use are trade secrets. 

Brad Powell with Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development says the legislation would set minimum baseline standards for impacts on water.

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Water waste
6:16 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Energy group says fracking water report is sensational

An energy group says a recently released report overstated issues of water use by the oil and gas industry. The Western Organization of Resource Councils released the report last month and said regulators need to consider the quantity of water the energy industry uses, in addition to the quality.

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Fracking near parks
9:10 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Group says fracking could harm parks

An advocacy group is warning that fracking could cause air pollution and other problems in national parks.

Sharon Mader with the National Parks Conservation Association says they’re concerned that ozone from gas development in Sublette County could spread to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. She says that hasn’t happened yet, but they’re worried about the future.

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News
4:38 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Report says states need to better monitor water usage by the oil and gas industry

A report by the Western Organization of Resource Councils says the oil and gas industry is using at least seven billion gallons of water per year in just four states: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. The report says after industry is done with that water, it turns into a hazardous material, and in some cases cannot be reused for other purposes.

Powder River Basin Resource Council member Robert LeResche says he’s also worried about states’ lack of regulations regarding the quantity of water used.

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News
5:40 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

'Gasland 2,' a documentary about fracking issues, premiers this weekend

‘Gasland 2’, a sequel to the 2010 documentary ‘Gasland,’ premiers this weekend in New York City. The original film focused on land owners alleging that oil and gas development on their land contaminated their water sources. The movie is thought to have brought the terms ‘fracking’ into the mainstream. The films’ director, Josh Fox, says the sequel investigates how government and regulatory agencies have dealt with what affected land owners say is contamination by industry.

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News
5:32 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Fracking chemical disclosure decision appealed to WY Supreme Court

Public interest groups that lost a suit about disclosing fracking chemicals are appealing that decision to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Groups like Earthjustice and the Powder River Basin Resource Council argue that the separate chemicals used in the fracking process should be public information under the Wyoming Public Records Act.  A Wyoming District court Judge sided in March with the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as well as industry when it ruled that not disclosing chemical identities when they are deemed a trade secret is permissible.

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News
4:17 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

UW’s School of Energy Resources working to forge research relationship with Saudi Arabia

The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources is working to forge a relationship with Saudi Arabia’s national oil and gas company, Saudi Aramco, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Saudi Aramco is the biggest oil and gas company in the world and invests heavily in research and development. SER Director, Mark Northam, just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia. He says Wyoming and Saudi Arabia face similar challenges when it comes to unconventional reservoirs and water shortages, and he says they would both benefit by sharing their resources.

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News
9:07 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Study shows more are in favor of Fracking than opposed

A survey by the Pew Research Center shows that more Americans are in favor of fracking than are opposed to it. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they’d like to see an increased use of fracking, while 38 percent said they wouldn’t.

The Pew Center’s Leah Christian says opinions varied by region, but that could be because of prevailing political views in different parts of the country.

“The two regions where we saw the most support – the Midwest and the South – for fracking, those are also more Republican regions of the country,” Christian said.

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News
12:16 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Judge rules against making fracking ingredients public

A judge in Casper has sided with the state of Wyoming and ruled against environmentalists who sought to make public the lists of ingredients that go into hydraulic fracturing fluids.
 
     Environmental groups had requested the ingredient lists from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, arguing that the public needs to know what chemicals companies are putting underground.
 
     Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking has ruled that Wyoming's state oil and gas supervisor was correct to withhold the ingredient lists as protected trade secrets.

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News
5:34 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Energy industry develops nontoxic fracking fluids

The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for hydraulic fracturing.
 
But it's not clear whether the fluids will be widely embraced by drilling companies.
 

Fracking has made it possible to tap into energy reserves across the nation but also has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water along with sand and hazardous chemicals are injected underground to free the oil and gas from rock.
 

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News
5:21 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Court hears case on disclosure of secret fracking chemicals

Several environmental groups went to district court today in Casper to argue that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission must disclose information about chemicals being used in hydraulic fracturing around the state. Wyoming was the first state to require companies to disclose such information, yet since that law went into effect, the Oil and Gas Commission has granted almost all secrecy requests from companies claiming that some of the chemicals are proprietary information.

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News
7:57 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Environmental group calls for groundwater protection measures

The Powder River Basin Resource Council has drawn up a list of recommendations to protect groundwater resources during energy production.

The group’s Jill Morrison says they want the state to document how much water is available in aquifers, and to limit how much water can be used for oil and gas production in certain areas where water resources are scarce.

“Because we know, for example, in the Powder River Basin, we’ve really drawn down our main aquifer that supplies domestic use … through the coalbed methane development,” Morrison said.

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