Oil and Gas

Oil and gas
Matt Bloom / KUNC

Colorado’s oil and gas regulators say they will start putting some drilling applications through a more rigorous review process after a study found people face short term health risks, such as headaches and dizziness, if they are within 2,000 feet of the wells.

The study released Thursday specifically found the health risks occur when a well is being constructed, with the highest risk coming at a time when a process called “flowback” occurs.

A group opposed to hydraulic fracturing announced a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to halt new oil and gas drilling permits until updated regulations are in place.

Colorado Rising attorney Joe Salazar said the Denver District Court complaint alleges the state is issuing drilling permits under rules made obsolete by a new law.

Call it a sign of the times.

Renewable energy has gotten so cheap that even oil giant Exxon Mobil, which reported $20.8 billion in earnings in 2018, is getting in on the savings.

The recent court ruling that held the pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson, accountable for its role in Oklahoma’s opioid crisis could influence some of the pending lawsuits seeking to hold energy companies accountable for their role in the climate crisis. That includes one case in the Mountain West.

KUNC file photo

Colorado has just begun rewriting its oil and gas rules under a new law that flips the state's priorities from producing energy to protecting the public, but industry defenders and critics are already testing the legislation's limits.

Officials in energy-friendly Weld County say the new law gives the county complete control over the location of new wells in unincorporated areas. That could challenge the state's attempts to tighten regulations.

KUNC File

A Boulder District Court judge has reopened a case to ban fracking in a Colorado city without hearing objections.

The Longmont Times-Call reported Friday that the ruling reopens a case examining the legality of Longmont's voter-approved fracking ban without hearing the plaintiff's objections.

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.

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