Fracking Colorado, Part III: Impact on environment and people

first_imgPart 1: Impact on environment and peoplePart 2: Impact on environment and peopleDenver — The scientific evidence is mounting about the deleterious effects of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on people’s health. Popular resistance is increasing to the expansion of fracking across Colorado,In several localities, people testified at Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meetings in May to express their fears and concerns. Many of them asked why regulations don’t protect the people who feel ignored.  A retired couple living far from an urban center said they could not sleep as 80 trucks a day rumble up and down the road nearby, carrying water, sand and chemicals, while drilling vibrates throughout their house all night. During the day, dust and noise are so bad they cannot sit on their porch.Shortly after buying a house, a family and their neighbors learned that fracking activity would begin in their neighborhood. Most people had seen old wells that existed individually on their property.However, under current methods, each well location (“pad”) may have between 15 to 45 wells. These sites are massive industrial developments with constant truck activity.These are only some of the recent problems, which are increasing because there are not adequate regulations and inspections as companies rush in to set up drilling operations and make money.Colorado lawmakers created the COGCC in 1951 to regulate oil and gas development in the state and give communities a voice. State officials ordered the agency to foster the “responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources.” (cogcc.state.co.us/#/home)However, the COGCC said in 2014 that this statement contradicted the purpose of oil and gas development and was beyond their authority.Towns fight backBoulder, Broomfield and Fort Collins passed five-year fracking suspensions in 2013. Lafayette and Longmont enacted indefinite bans. Longmont passed a charter amendment to ban fracking.The oil companies then sued the towns that tried to ban fracking. After multiple lawsuits were filed by the energy industry, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the bans in 2016, claiming that towns’ interests can no longer supersede the state’s interest in promoting oil and gas drilling and its support of the industry.The capitalist state is protecting corporate interests over the will of residents who object to the serious, deleterious impacts of drilling on their lives. These rulings in which the state, with huge industry support, can overrule the opposition of local protesters, are a new type of legal maneuver.  It is occurring in other states, too, and is clearly meant to suppress opposition — and to provide a legal basis for preventing protesters from slowing down oil and gas operations and curtailing industry profits.Youth lead the wayXiuhtezcatl Martinez, a young hip-hop artist, and other youth asked the COGCC in 2013 to deny any new permits for oil and gas drilling “unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, and land resources, does not adversely impact human health and does not contribute to climate change.” (Denver Post, March 23)When the COGCC repeatedly denied their request, the young people, supported by other advocacy groups, appealed. The Colorado Court of Appeals sided with them in March, ruling that protection of public health and the environment is a “condition that must be fulfilled” by the state before oil and gas drilling can occur.The COGCC has ignored and tried to overturn the Martinez decision, granting up to 500 drilling permits in one day in May.  But the people of Colorado keep fighting back. A vast petition and call-in campaign since April forced Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper to publicly ask the COGCC not to try to overturn the decision and to support the health and safety of the people of the state.A gas explosion killed two people in Firestone on April 17 due to a severed gas line a few feet from their basement. The well was 172 feet from the house, violating the 200-foot setback rule.In response to this tragedy, community and environmental groups called for a shutdown of all wells until independent investigators assessed they were safe and complied with regulations.  Anadarko, the company involved, shut 3,000 wells and, responding to community demands, said it would check all flowlines within 1,000 feet of all structures.The COGGC gave all oil and gas operators until the end of June to comply. The July 1 Denver Post said that by that date, companies reported they had capped over 6,000 lines from active and inactive wells. But there are hundreds of thousands of flowlines underneath Colorado’s land.Angry residents are demanding to know the locations of all flowlines. They say mandatory regulations and inspections are needed, not just voluntary responses by the industry after a tragedy occurs.Fight far from overThe people of Colorado are challenging a wealthy, powerful industry with enormous influence on state laws.  Energy companies have repeatedly opposed local efforts to place anti-fracking measures on the ballot.With their limitless funds, the industry’s advertising is based on lies, and it confuses people. Energy officials placed a measure on the ballot in 2016 that made it financially impossible for environmental groups to get the signatures needed on petitions to place anti-fracking measures on the ballot. In addition to the process being very expensive, a minimum of 2 percent of registered voters must be collected in each of 35 state senatorial districts. To win, the measure must get at least 55 percent of total votes.The industry vigorously opposed two resident-led ballot measures in 2014. These measures would have increased the minimum setback (distance) between active drilling operations and houses, schools and other structures. It would have also made the setback distance mandatory, providing greater safety for resident.Horizontal drilling for miles means that although residents can’t see the wells, the gas lines can be dangerously close to schools and homes. There are some minimum setback rules in Colorado, but the companies get waivers all the time from the COGCC.The numerous gas lines to and from active and inactive wells present dangers to existing structures and people. Development east of the Rocky Mountains is growing rapidly. Without effective regulations, builders and homeowners do not know what is underneath the ground on which  structures are built. People want to know this before they build homes.Residents are demanding a voice in the planning of projects and the right to object to them. Increasingly, they are challenging the COGCC as nothing but a front for the oil and gas corporations.The energy industry portrays townspeople who complain, protest or call for regulations near schools and homes as “paid, out-of-state agitators.”  But that tactic is backfiring.  It is inspiring people who have never been activists to organize, form committees and demand regulations and inspections.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Interannual variability in effective diffusivity in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere from reanalysis data

first_imgThe effective diffusivity based on passive tracer advection is used to evaluate the long-term mixing properties for the period 1980–2012 in the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere (UTLS) using data from the ERA-Interim reanalysis. The regions of strongest interannual variability in effective diffusivity coincide with the regions of strong climatological mixing, such as the winter and spring midlatitude stratosphere, the polar lowermost stratosphere and around the edge of the subtropical jets (especially in summer). The annular modes dominate the variability in the winter polar vortices, and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation in the tropical stratosphere. El Niño/Southern Oscillation modulates the strength of mixing across the subtropical jets, and has a significant impact on mixing in the summer subtropical lower stratosphere. Long-term trends show a vertical shift in the mixing consistent with the effect of ozone depletion on the zonal wind in the austral summer polar stratosphere. Other significant trends include increased mixing in the austral surf zone and a dipolar pattern in the boreal summer and autumn, with mixing increased on the equatorward part of the subtropical jet and reduced just above. The results are highly consistent with those from the JRA-55 reanalysis when the same horizontal resolution is used. The calculations are also qualitatively consistent with effective diffusivity obtained directly from the potential vorticity field and, in the UTLS, they are broadly consistent with those obtained from the ozone field.last_img read more

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Lawyers line up for state attorney, PD races

first_imgOnly 11 of 38 state attorney and public defender races will be contested this fall, following filing for state offices that closed July 16.According to state records, six state attorney races and five public defender races are contested. In some cases, offices where the incumbent retired drew only one candidate. (The state attorney and public defender candidates for the 20th Circuit will not be on the ballot for two years.)Contested races for state attorneys are:• The Second Circuit where incumbent Democrat Willie Meggs faces Republican Harry Hooper.• The Eighth Circuit, where incumbent Republican Bill Cervone faces Democrat Stan Griffis.• The 11th Circuit, where incumbent Democrat Katherine Fernandez Rundle faces the winner of the Republican primary between Al Milian and Leslie Rothenberg. Gary Rosenberg has also filed as an independent in that race.• The 13th Circuit where incumbent Republican Mark Ober faces a primary challenge from Robin Fernandez Fuson.• The 14th Circuit where Democrat Steve Meadows faces Republican Martha “Sister” Blackmon Milligan.• The 16th Circuit where incumbent Republican Mark E. Kohl faces a primary challenge from Jonathan Ellsworth.Contested races for public defenders are:• The Seventh Circuit, where Republicans Bennett R. Ford, Jr., and James S. Purdy are in the primary, with the winner facing Democrat Thomas R. Mott in November.• The Eighth Circuit, where incumbent Democrat Rick Parker faces a primary challenge from Dean Galigani.• The Ninth Circuit, where Republican John Gillespie faces Democrat Bob Wesley.• The 11th Circuit, where incumbent Democrat Bennett H. Brummer faces Republican Gabriel Martin.• The 13th Circuit, where incumbent Democrat Julianne Holt faces Republican Will Knight. Public defenders elected without opposition were: incumbent Jack Behr in the First Circuit, incumbent Nancy Daniels in the Second Circuit, incumbent Dennis Roberts in the Third Circuit, Bill White in the Fourth Circuit, incumbent Howard “Skip” Babb in the Fifth Circuit, incumbent Bob Dillinger in the Sixth Circuit, incumbent Marion J. Moorman in the 10th Circuit, incumbent Elliott Metcalf in the 12th Circuit, incumbent Herman D. Laramore in the 14th Circuit, incumbent Carey Haughwout in the 15th Circuit, incumbent Rosemary E. Enright in the 16th Circuit, Howard Finkelstein in the 17th Circuit, incumbent J.R. Russo in the 18th Circuit, and incumbent Diamond R. Litty in the 19th Circuit.State attorneys elected without opposition were: William “Bill” Eddins in the First Circuit, incumbent Jerry M. Blair in the Third Circuit, incumbent Harry Shorstein in the Fourth Circuit, incumbent Brad King in the Fifth Circuit, incumbent Bernie McCabe in the Sixth Circuit, incumbent John Tanner in the Seventh Circuit, incumbent Lawson Lamar in the Ninth Circuit, incumbent Jerry Hill in the 10th Circuit, incumbent Earl Moreland in the 12th Circuit, incumbent Barry E. Krischer in the 15th Circuit, incumbent Mike Satz in the 17th Circuit, incumbent Norm Wolfinger in the 18th Circuit, and incumbent Bruce Colton in the 19th Circuit.The primary elections will be held August 31, and the general election is November 2. Lawyers line up for state attorney, PD races Lawyers line up for state attorney, PD racescenter_img August 15, 2004 Regular Newslast_img read more

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This week: NAFCU-backed mortgage bill reviewed; tax reform moves through Congress

first_img continue reading » The House Financial Services Committee begins a 23-bill mark-up tomorrow. Among the legislation under consideration is NAFCU-backed H.R. 1153, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2017, which would amend the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to provide consumers with more choices in credit providers and settlement service options.The bill has been awaiting action by the committee since it was introduced in February by Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., Ed Royce, R-Calif., David Scott, D-Ga., Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., Mike Doyle, D-Pa., and David Joyce, R-Ohio. It would adjust the TILA mortgage rules by exempting from the qualified mortgage cap on points and fees any affiliated title charges and escrow charges for taxes and insurance.During a congressional hearing two weeks ago on housing finance reform, NAFCU witness Rick Stafford, president and CEO of Tower Federal Credit Union (Laurel, Md.), testified on the need to pass H.R. 1153 because of the competitiveness it will bring to the mortgage market, benefitting consumers. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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