Oil and Gas

Mike Hickey
Matt Bloom / KUNC

Half a dozen men in hard hats watched as their drill rig rose more than 100 feet high. On top, an American flag fluttered in the sun. At the work site just east of Interstate 25 in Adams County, the crew was preparing for the start of an unusual job.

Instead of drilling a mile beneath the surface to extract oil, they were about to rip a well out of the ground. In its place, they'd leave cement plugs strong enough to seal the hole for thousands of years.

Barbara Kirkmeyer
Matt Bloom / KUNC

At a drill rig east of Greeley, dozens of workers are focused on moving equipment around a massive tower. But site manager Colby Edgington says there's another thing on everyone's mind.

"We may have to take our trucks and go to Wyoming or Texas or Oklahoma or something, which means I'm going to lose my guys," he said.

For now, rig work in Colorado is steady. Edgington is worried that will change in the next six to 12 months.

Much of the public lands leased for oil and gas in our region are acquired through a noncompetitive process with the Bureau of Land Management. A new report says that's not good for taxpayers.

Mothers living near more intense oil and gas development may have a higher risk of having children with congenital heart defects. That's according to a new study from researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado says a Greeley oil and gas firm has agreed to pay a fine over claims it didn't seek a federal lease or permit before drilling on U.S.-owned land.

The office said Wednesday that Mineral Resources Inc. will pay more than $210,000 to settle the claims.

It’s well-established that injecting wastewater from oil and gas operations deep into the ground can cause earthquakes. New research shows that in some cases those earthquakes can keep happening long after an injection. 

Oil well
Matt Bloom / KUNC

Tensions between oil and gas companies and communities along the Front Range are heating up again. So far this year, at least eight cities and counties have temporarily stopped processing new drilling permits in the wake of a new state law. The latest is Boulder County, where commissioners will hear public testimony on Tuesday on a new nine-month moratorium.

The U.S. Interior Department may have complied with requests from an oil industry trade association to remove some environmental species act protections for a beetle, according to agency records. 

The last time the royalty rate for oil and gas production on federal land changed was in 1920. Proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives would address that, but the industry stands opposed.

U.S. Geological Survey

More than 50 U.S. lawmakers are supporting a legal challenge against the Trump administration's effort to roll back a rule that forced oil and gas companies to capture methane.

The Durango Herald reported Thursday that lawmakers signed on to an amicus brief that claims the U.S. Interior Department violated federal law by lifting the Obama-era waste prevention rule.

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