To: The Colorado State House, The Colorado State Senate, and Governor Jared Polis
Immediately shut down all oil and gas wells in all cities in Colorado
DEAR GOVERNOR JOHN W. HICKENLOOPER
An abandoned gas line that had never been disconnected from a nearby well was at the root of a deadly home explosion in Firestone, CO on April 17. Two people died in the gas explosion and another in critical condition.
This tragedy could have been prevented. The lives of Colorado citizens and the environment are still in imminent and grave danger due to you allowing the development and operation of oil and gas wells in occupied neighborhoods, elementary schools, playgrounds, public spaces, rivers, hospitals all across Colorado.
Why is this important?
GOVERNOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER
1. SHUTTING DOWN ALL OIL AND GAS WELLS IN ALL RESIDENTIAL AREAS AND OUTLINING AREAS IN THE STATE OF COLORADO. AN IMMEDIATE INJUNCTION SHOULD BE PLACED ON ALL OIL AND GAS ACTIVITY.
2. MECHANICAL INTEGRITY TESTS BE CONDUCTED IMMEDIATELY ON ALL ACTIVE AND ABANDONED OIL AND GAS WELLS IN COLORADO.
3. CLOSURE OF THE 'SETBACK LOOPHOLE.' In 2012 I discovered a Setback Loophole and introduced a bill to close it – but unfortunately, the bill died. COGCC Rule 602(d) states: “Existing wells are exempt from the provisions of these regulations as they relate to the location of the well.” This Setback Loophole allows any ‘completed’ well to be re-entered and re-drilled regardless of proximity to a structure. And home developers are exempt from any state setbacks from oil and gas operations. This appears to be reckless endangerment and must cease and desist immediately.
4. IMPLEMENTING A ‘REVERSE SETBACK’ for commercial developers that is based on good science health studies and current failure data to ascertain a distance from oil and gas wells that provides public health, safety and welfare and environment.
5. CLOSURE OF THE 'WAIVER LOOPHOLE'
The ‘Waiver Loophole’ allows any operator to not abide by any rule or regulation regarding oil and gas development and operations that causes them ‘undue financial burden.’With a single sentence from the oil and gas industry that states “abiding by this rule will cause XYZ operator and its operations undue financial burden” the industry then does not have to abide by the rule or pay its expense to do so, and is then waived by a simple signature of COGCC Director Matt Lepore.
6. THE COGCC PLACE AN IMMEDIATE HALT ON THE ISSUANCE OF PERMITS not yet approved or applied for as of the March 23 Martinez verdict, and to begin a balanced process that provides public healthy, safety and environment.
7. WE DEMAND OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO SAFETY
8. LOCATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF ABANDONED WELLS AND FLOW-LINES UNDER OR NEAR COLORADO CITIZEN'S HOMES
9. ALL 60,000+ MILES OF FLOW-LINES IN COLORADO BE INSPECTED IMMEDIATELY.
o 17.5% of all fracking industry spills had already caused ground water contamination in a 2012 statewide study.
o 40% of spills contaminated groundwater in Weld County, where Firestone is located. My studies, were confirmed accurate two years later in 2014 by Matt Lepore, Director of the COGCC. If any company had contaminated groundwater at a 40% rate they would no doubt, be shut down.
On June 12, 2012 I attended a fracking study session in Loveland, Co where I told the Mayor, planning and zoning commission they could create their own setbacks from fracking industry oil and gas wells. I told the Mayor and council they should locate every active and abandoned well in their city and outlying county and develop new homes away from existing wells in order to protect public health, safety and welfare. I recently contacted the city of Loveland to acquire the recording of said presentation, they said that they 'purged it from their system.' It no longer exists.
In 2011 the COGCC requested emergency funding in Florence, CO for explosive levels of methane seeping into more than a dozen homes from an abandoned well more than 1,000’ away. The homes had to be
immediately evacuated. For perspective, the home in Firestone was 170’ away from an abandoned well.
There are COGCC documents that illustrate numerous homes in Colorado are built on top of abandoned oil and gas wells and in a few cases, the home exploded due to methane seepage into the basements. One person was taken to the burn center.
These are some of the imposed dangers you have placed upon us Governor John Hickenlooper, and it is time you cease and desist what appears to be reckless endangerment of Colorado citizens.In addition, commercial developers can develop closer to oil and gas wells than the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissions’ (COGCC) setbacks allow.
I warned Hickenlooper and the COGCC that an incident like Firestone would happen. He ignored me. He ignored the COGCC's own failures and in doing so, he failed to prevent the Firestone catastrophe from happening. There is no doubt a catastrophic tragedy like Firestone or worse, will happen again if the State of Colorado does not act immediately to pass statewide laws that protect the “civil rights to safety” of Colorado citizens and that of the environment and not favor the oil and gas industry.
LINK TO FURTHER DATA: https://fractivist.blogspot.com/2017/05/dear-boulder-county-commissioners.html
SETBACK LOOPHOLE AND COGCC FAILURES: http://cogcc.state.co.us/documents/reg/Rules/2012/setback/StakeholderGroup/Presentations/setback%20loophole%20HIDDEN%20IMPACTS%20OF%20HYDRAULIC%20FRACKING%20%20%20S.%20Davis%20-%20Aug%202012%20-%20Copy.pdf
LINK TO DEAR GOVERNOR HICKENLOOPER FILM: https://vimeo.com/95059617