EN-14-02-Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

WHEREAS Hydraulic fracturing has been conducted over a million times in the United States, is proven and is not a new technology.  Hydraulic fracturing has also been used to stimulate the flow of water from water wells, for geothermal energy and by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up Superfund sites, and it has allowed companies to safely produce natural gas, oil and other liquids from otherwise uneconomic  geologically tight unconventional reservoirs; and

WHEREAS over 90 percent of all wells in Colorado are hydraulically fractured; and

WHEREAS in support of Gov. Hickenlooper’s comment to fight any opportunities to ban hydraulic fracturing; and

WHEREAS the State of Colorado has been regulating drilling activity since 1951.  Every aspect is currently overseen (at a minimum) by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission which acts as the lead regulatory agency for oil and gas in the state of Colorado and regulates cradle to grave oil and gas activities from well siting, drilling, completion, and production to reclamation and final plugging and abandonment including, but not limited to:

  • Well design, location, spacing, operation, water management and disposal, waste management and disposal, wildlife impacts, surface disturbance, and health and safety.
  • Drilling operations including prevention of surface spills, ensuring adequate cementing through cement bond logs and mechanical integrity tests, and monitoring the surface casing and production casing annulus (Bradenhead) during fracturing operations for signs of any fluids migration.
  • Information related to the constituents of hydraulic fracturing fluids is disclosed to Fracfocus.org, an online registry managed by the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC) a nonprofit 501 (c) 6 organization whose members consist of state ground water regulatory agencies which come together within the GWPC organization to mutually work toward the protection of the nation’s ground water supplies. The purpose if the GWPC is to promote and insure the use of best management practices and fair but effective laws regarding comprehensive ground water protection.

WHEREAS federal laws that govern environmental aspects of natural gas and oil drilling include:

  • The Clean Water Act (CWA) – regulates discharges of pollutants to surface water and storm -water runoff.
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) – regulates specifically the injection of fluid wastes (produced water) under the ground.
  • The Clean Air Act (CAA) – sets rules for air emissions from engines, gas processing equipment, tanks and other sources associated with production and drilling activities.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) –requires environmental impact assessments for development of federal lands.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act – administered through OSHA, sets safety standards with which employers must comply to protect their employees. Also requires Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) to be maintained and readily available for chemicals used on locations for employee use.
  • Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) – requires storage of regulated chemicals above certain quantities be reported to local and state emergency responders on an annual basis.

WHEREAS by law, state regulations must be at least as protective as federal standards. The oil and gas industry and the agencies that regulate them are committed to protecting groundwater, and environmental health and safety are priorities for both the industry and the regulatory agencies; and

WHEREAS most counties represented by CLUB 20 have natural gas and oil production.  Due to the geology of the formations being developed in Western Colorado, hydraulic fracturing is required in order to make unconventional wells efficient and economically viable.  The design of each hydraulic fracturing process focuses on understanding the reservoir rock to design hydraulic fracturing fluids that can optimize production results; and

WHEREAS, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation concerning hydraulic fracturing available in the public domain and provided by the press.  There are counties/municipalities that have and continue to attempt to ban hydraulic fracturing at a local level by resolution or by the public voting process based on this information; and

WHEREAS, over the years hydraulic fracturing has been studied a multitude of times and on separate occasions the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy, and academia have determined that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a threat to groundwater and studies have found no significant environmental risks as a result of proper hydraulic fracturing; and

WHEREAS, at the request of Congress, EPA is conducting yet another study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing. The progress report was released in December 2012 and a draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review in 2014.  The EPA is reportedly using existing data, literature, computer models, laboratory studies and conducting the study using best available science, independent sources, of information, and a transparent, peer-reviewed process that will hopefully ensure the validity and accuracy of the results.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 opposes any attempt to politicize energy regulations, enact wholesale energy bans or create regulatory chaos by repealing Colorado’s traditional statewide approach to energy regulation.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 opposes any ballot initiative amendment proposal that has not been fully-vetted in transparent forums that involve all potentially affected stakeholders (including local governments) and has not considered relevant analyses of the social, economic and environmental impacts of such proposals, particularly as they concern the locally affected communities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20:

  • Supports the use of hydraulic fracturing. Supports State-level oversight and enforcement in order to provide a level of consistency in the regulation of hydraulic-fracturing Supports and believe State-level scrutiny ensures that agency officials understand the operations in each basin, regardless of county lines;
  • Does not support regulations that would be duplicative and unnecessary;
  • Believes banning hydraulic fracturing as a result of voter emotional reactions which lack scientific evidence would further harm the economy of Western Colorado and hinder progress toward American energy independence.

 

Adopted 3/28/2014