martes, 28 de febrero de 2017

El Defensor del Pueblo pide al gobierno transparencia sobre el `fracking’







Publicado en Ecodiario.es
28 de febrero de 2017


MADRID, 28 (SERVIMEDIA)

La oficina del Defensor del Pueblo exige al Ministerio de Energía, Turismo y Agenda Digital que ofrezca "información transparente" sobre la autorización de proyectos de fractura hidráulica o 'fracking', que consiste en inyectar a alta presión fluidos compuestos por agua, arena y aditivos químicos con el fin de romper las rocas y agradandar las fracturas para que los hidrocarburos que están atrapados acaben en el interior de un pozo y permitir así su extracción.

Así lo recoge en su Informe Anual correspondiente a 2016, presentado esta mañana en el Congreso de los Diputados por la defensora del Pueblo, Soledad Becerril, quien hará ese mismo trámite esta tarde en el Senado.

El informe indica que el departamento dirigido por Álvaro Nadal "trabaja en ofrecer una información más detallada en su página web sobre la fracturación hidráulica", a raíz de la recomendación de la Comisión Europea formulada en enero de 2014 de que los países de la UE deben planificar y evaluar "cuidadosamente" los impactos en la utilización del 'fracking', con el fin de "controlar los riesgos sanitarios y ambientales" y "aumentar la transparencia para los ciudadanos".

A este respecto, el Defensor del Pueblo recalca que el Gobierno debe facilitar "información transparente acerca del conocimiento actual en esta materia (por ejemplo, las sustancias que se inyectan) y sobre la manera en que se pondera la decisión que se adopte" en cualquier proyecto relacionado con la fractura hidráulica, especialmente en lo relativo a que la tramitación de los permisos esté acompañada del cumplimiento de la normativa ambiental "como garante de la protección de los espacios afectados".

Por otro lado, el Defensor del Pueblo indica que el año pasado actuó porque la Dirección General de Política Energética y Minas, que forma parte del departamento ministerial encabezado por Nadal, denegó a una asociación ambiental información relativa a unos permisos de investigación de hidrocarburos en Albacete.

(SERVIMEDIA)

MGR/caa



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Fracking Canadá: Las compañías de servicios de fracking dicen que sus precios siguen siendo demasiado bajos para obtener beneficios






Publicado en Canadian Bussiness
Por The Canadian Press
23 de febrero de 2017


Las dos mayores compañías de fractura hidráulica para los yacimientos petrolíferos canadienses que cotizan en bolsa dicen que los precios de sus servicios siguen siendo insosteniblemente bajos a pesar del aumento de actividad motivada por el aumento de los precios del petróleo y del gas.

Calfrac Well Services (TSX: CFW) y Trican Well Service (TSX: TCW), ambas con sede en Calgary, dicen que no esperan un retorno a los niveles normales de precios hasta la segunda mitad de este año.

Las empresas que trabajan para los productores de petróleo y gas donde proporcionar servicios de terminación, así como el servicio de fracking, donde se inyectan líquidos y productos químicos a alta presión para romper formaciones subterráneas apretadas y permitir que el petróleo y gas se produzcan en el pozo.

Calfrac y Trican han despedido a miles de trabajadores en los últimos dos años y ahora informan que están teniendo problemas para encontrar personal para el equipo, ya que hay demanda de personal.

Calfrac dice que experimentó una caída de 33 por ciento en los ingresos de $ 193 millones en el cuarto trimestre en comparación con el mismo periodo de 2015, mientras que Trican dice que sus ingresos cayeron un 27 por ciento a $ 115 millones.

Ambas compañías dicen que los ingresos para todo 2016 se redujeron en un 50 por ciento en comparación con el año 2015.

Calfrac reportó una pérdida operacional de $ 18 millones en el cuarto trimestre de 2016 en comparación con una ganancia operativa de $ 5,7 millones en el cuarto trimestre de 2015. Trican tuvo una pérdida operativa de $ 7.4 millones en comparación con la ganancia de $ 15 millones del año anterior.

Trican dijo que tuvo una ganancia neta de $ 57 millones en el cuarto trimestre y una pérdida de $ 16,5 millones en el mismo período del año anterior.

Calfrac registró una pérdida neta en el cuarto trimestre de $ 61 millones en comparación con una pérdida de $ 141 millones en el mismo período del año 2015.



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Fracking Is Dangerous To Your Health -- Here's Why


Judy Eckert holding water contaminated with arsenic drawn from her private well. In 2007 Guardian Exploration drilled and fracked a Marcellus well 450ft from her home, which she believes is part of the cause of her contaminated her water supply. In 2010 DEP found a waste pit buried illegally into her season high water table. To learn more about her case you can donate to receive a copy of Triple Divide — a Public Herald documentary on fracking. - courtesy J.B.Pribanic



Forbes
By Judy Stone ,  CONTRIBUTOR
FEB. 23, 2017


Fracking, or drilling for gas by hydraulic fracturing, has been associated with a growing number of health risks. Last week, I began this series looking at some of the hazardous chemicals injected into the wells to make drilling easier and cheaper, and the growing risks to our health by the GOP rushing through the approval of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This post looks in greater depth at the health problems linked to fracking. These are not hypothetical concerns—there are now more than 700 studies looking at risks—and more than 80% of the health studies document risks or actual harms.

It’s also important to note that these risks are likely to be seriously underestimated, because the environmental agencies have been downplaying the risks to the public. A new in-depth exposé from investigative journalists at Public Herald looks in-depth at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) misconduct and negligence, as the DEP studiously ignored citizens’ complaints, sometimes not even testing water samples. Earlier studies from ProPublica and others showed similar EPA failures in the western U.S.

A variety of health problems are associated with fracking

Respiratory problems:

Cough, shortness of breath and wheezing are the most common complaints of residents living near fracked wells. Toxic gases like benzene are released from the rock by fracking. Similarly, a toxic waste brew of water and chemicals is often stored in open pits, releasing volatile organic compounds into the air. These noxious chemicals and particulates are also released by the diesel powered pumps used to inject the water. An epidemiological study of more than 400,000 patients of Pennsylvania’s Geisinger clinic, done with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, found a significant association between fracking and increases in mild, moderate and severe cases of asthma (odds ratios 4.4 to 1.5). Hopkins’ Dr. Brian Schwartz cautions that residents should be aware of this hazard as “some ‘pristine’ rural areas are converted to heavily trafficked industrial areas.”

Problems during pregnancy:

Fracking chemicals are harmful to pregnant women and their developing babies. West Virginia researchers found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in surface waters near wastewater disposal sites; these types of chemicals can hurt the developing fetus even when present at very low concentrations.

Another Hopkins/Geisinger study looked at records of almost 11,000 women with newborns who lived near fracking sites and found a 40% increased chance of having a premature baby and a 30% risk of having the pregnancy be classified as “high-risk,” though they controlled for socioeconomic status and other risk factors. Contributing factors likely include air and water pollution, stress from the noise and traffic (1,000 tankers/well on average)….



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lunes, 27 de febrero de 2017

Statoil demanda a investigador por robar presuntamente el secreto Frack Tech






Publicado en Oil Price
Por TSVETANA PARASKOVA
23 de febrero de 2017


No todo vale a medida que se intensifica la carrera para hacer avanzar la tecnología de la fractura hidráulica, la noruega Statoil se encuentra en primera línea, ya que ha demandado a su ex investigador por el presunto robo de secretos comerciales en los EE.UU.

Statoil - que está desarrollando su propia tecnología de fracturación hidráulica en los EE.UU. - está demandando a un ex director de tecnología de una de sus unidades por supuestamente una fuga de secretos comerciales y luego tratar de patentar la tecnología ya patentada por Statoil.

Statoil afirma el inventor violó un acuerdo de confidencialidad, robó la propiedad intelectual, y estableció un negocio con la competencia tratando de captar clientes de la compañía estatal.

El mayor productor de petróleo y gas noruego fue uno de los primeros compradores extranjeros en adquirir yacimientos de esquisto de Estados Unidos, golpeando una estratégica alianza con Chesapeake en 2008. Desde entonces, el principal productor de petróleo y gas de Noruega ha estado trabajando en el desarrollo de sus propias tecnologías de fracturación hidráulica en los EE.UU.

El año pasado, la unidad estadounidense de Statoil Statoil,  Gulf Services LLC creó una filial, Reveal Energy Services Inc, para vender tecnologías de fracturación hidráulica inventadas por sus científicos e ingenieros.

Statoil había designado a Matthew Dawson, un investigador que había desarrollado muchas de las invenciones, como director de tecnología de la nueva unidad, pero ahora las unidades estadounidenses de Statoil están demandando a Dawson - que había renunciado al puesto en enero – a y su esposa, Jin Dawson, por supuestamente tratar de patentar la tecnología patentada por Statoil, violando los acuerdos de confidencialidad y secretos comerciales, y la creación de una empresa de la competencia.

Reveal Energy Services Inc y Statoil Gulf Services LLC presentaron una demanda ante la Corte del Distrito Sur de Texas el 13 de febrero contra Matthew Dawson, Jim Dawson y Axion Génesis Inc, la compañía que Matthew Dawson había fundado.

Durante su tiempo de trabajo para Statoil, Dawson inventó métodos de fractura hidráulica co-inventados y patentados por Statoil, incluyendo la tecnología de The Image Frac que se trata en la demanda, de acuerdo con la Law360 , que cita la queja. La marca The Image Frac es propiedad de Statoil Golfo Services LLC.

De acuerdo con la afirmación de Statoil, mientras que en las unidades estadounidenses de la compañía, Dawson también ha desarrollado una tecnología de mapeo de agente de sostén, que utiliza indicadores de presión de superficie para decidir dónde inyectar partículas en la roca para elevar la eficiencia de la producción. Statoil también afirma que Dawson había potenciado la tecnología para su mujer, que ha presentado una patente a nombre de ella. La demanda de Statoil también afirma que Dawson trató de usar la solicitud de patente pendiente como palanca para obtener una participación en Reveal Energy Services de Statoil, y se comprometió a asignar la solicitud de patente de Statoil, si la empresa accedía a darle un participación en Reveal. Pero se negó Statoil, y Dawson supuestamente copió los secretos comerciales en un disco duro externo, violando así los acuerdos de propiedad intelectual, según dice la compañía en su demanda….



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Fracking Week in Parliament:20-24 February 2017






DRILL OR DROP?
BY RUTH HAYHURS
FEBRUARY 24, 2017


Fracking Week in Parliament returns after a two-week break in references to fracking or shale gas in the UK’s parliaments.



In this week’s post:

Consultation on the shale gas wealth fund
Incentives to fracking communities
Labour amendment to prevent imposition of fracking on unwilling areas
Scottish Conservative call for lifting fracking moratorium



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viernes, 24 de febrero de 2017

Rescatar el Túnel de la Engaña en los Valles Pasiegos







El Túnel de la Engaña es un amplio túnel ferroviario de doble vía que nunca llegó a ser utilizado, presentando una longitud total de 6.976 metros


El proyecto del Túnel de la Engaña superaría al Túnel de Uitzi, que con 2.680 metros de longitud es el más largo en vías verdes de toda Europa y comunica con el Valle de Leizarán creando el Consorcio Yurístico Plazaola



Hoy, Pleno extraordinario sobre el fracking y Garoña en Ayuntamiento Villarcayo, Burgos.






New EPA head Scott Pruitt's emails reveal close ties with fossil fuel interests




Scott Pruitt’s emails also show a cosy relationship with Alec and lobby groups sponsored by the Koch brothers. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP



The Guardian
By  Oliver Milman and Dominic Rushe
Wednesday 22 February 2017


Documents suggest former Oklahoma AG followed lobby group’s guidance on challenging environmental regulations, and put letterhead to oil firm complaints more than once


The close relationship between Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and fossil fuel interests including the billionaire Koch brothers has been highlighted in more than 7,500 emails and other records released by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office on Wednesday.

The documents show that Pruitt, while Oklahoma attorney general, acted in close concert with oil and gas companies to challenge environmental regulations, even putting his letterhead to a complaint filed by one firm, Devon Energy. This practice was first revealed in 2014, but it now appears that it occurred more than once.

The emails also show that American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, an oil and gas lobby group, provided Pruitt’s office with template language to oppose ozone limits and the renewable fuel standard program in 2013. AFPM encouraged Oklahoma to challenge the rules, noting: “This argument is more credible coming from a state.” Later that year, Pruitt did file opposition to both of these regulations.

The letters also show the cosy relationship between Pruitt and the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), the influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses, and other lobby groups sponsored by the Koch brothers, the billionaire energy investors who have spent decades fighting against environmental regulation.

Alec has consistently challenged the science on climate change and fought against tougher environmental regulation. Companies including Google, Ford and Enterprise Rent-a-Car have quit Alec in protest of its climate change activities.

The emails contain correspondence between Pruitt’s executive assistant and Amy Anderson, Alec director and Oklahoma membership contact, about Pruitt’s appearance at a May 2013 Alec board meeting in Oklahoma City.

That meeting attracted more protesters than attendees, with 600 firefighters, teachers, environmentalists and church leaders carrying signs reading “ALEC is Not OK” and chanting: “Backroom deals are Alec’s game / Sweetheart deals for corporate gain.”

Pruitt addressed a workshop entitled “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines”.

The emails state that Pruitt spoke “on state primacy in oil and gas regulation and the EPA’s sue & settle modus operandi”. The lunch meeting was sponsored by Koch Industries, a major Alec sponsor.

Pruitt was congratulated for his work on pushing back against the EPA by another Koch-backed pressure group.

“Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states,” said one email sent to Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman in August 2013 by Matt Ball, an executive at Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group also funded in part by the Kochs. “You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!” the note said.

Last week, an Oklahoma judge ordered that emails from a January 2015 open records request be released by Tuesday. A further batch of emails is due to be turned over next week. The Center for Media and Democracy, which has made nine separate open records requests for Pruitt’s emails, said it will attempt to obtain all of the sought-after communications without exceptions.

Pruitt was confirmed as EPA administrator on Friday. Democrats had sought to delay the Senate vote until the emails were released but were unsuccessful.

“The emails show a very cosy relationship between Pruitt’s office and particularly Devon Energy, as well as other coal, oil and gas companies,” said Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy.

“Pruitt is the world’s top environmental regulator now and these emails raise serious conflict of interest concerns. He has very close ties to fossil fuel firms and has shown himself to be generally opposed to the rules the EPA has to protect the environment.”….



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Clima




El Roto\ El País 




jueves, 23 de febrero de 2017

Miles de emails revelan la connivencia del responsable de medioambiente de Trump con la industria contaminante



El director de la EPA, Scott Pruitt, al jurar el cargo. / REUTERS



Publicado en El País
Por Jan Martínez Ahrens
23 de febrero de 2017


Las compañías escribían a Scott Pruitt las cartas oficiales y diseñaban con él la estrategia contra las leyes verdes de Obama


Scott Pruitt es lo más parecido a un caballo de Troya. Nunca ha creído que el hombre sea el causante del cambio climático, siempre ha defendido las industrias más contaminantes y, como fiscal general en Oklahoma, demandó 14 veces a la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA). Todo ello le hizo, a los ojos de Donald Trump, el candidato perfecto para dirigir la misma EPA. Un cargo que ocupó hace solo una semana y donde ya le ha estallado un escándalo: miles de emails que revelan su connivencia e incluso subordinación con la industria petrolera y eléctrica

La carga es de profundidad. Son 6.000 páginas de emails. Una enciclopedia del amiguismo y la incorrección política. Los correos, hechos públicos por orden de un juez ante una demanda de transparencia, muestran la alianza entre Pruitt, en su etapa de fiscal general de Oklahoma, y las empresas más beligerantes con las regulaciones ambientales.

No es algo nuevo. Odiado por los ecologistas estadounidenses, se conocía desde 2014 su alineamiento con la industria e incluso ya se habían hecho públicas ciertas misivas. Pero esta vez, la exhibición es de tal crudeza que difícilmente saldrá indemne.

“¿Alguna sugerencia? ¡¡¡Eres tan increíblemente servicial!!! ¡¡¡Muchísimas gracias!!!”. Son algunas de las expresiones que trufan las comunicaciones mantenidas por la fiscalía con ejecutivos de las grandes eléctricas y petroleras. A esta intimidad se añade la gravedad de los asuntos tratados.

Con el objeto de enfrentarse a las normas de Obama, el fiscal general Pruitt y su equipo se reunían con los directivos de las compañías afectadas y permitían que les escribiesen y reescribiesen las cartas oficiales que luego enviaban a la Administración federal. Juntos construyeron una estrategia común que pasaba por convertir el Estado de Oklahoma en un bastión de estos intereses y un freno a los “excesos reguladores” de Washington.

Pruitt fue un agente clave de esta operación. Al controlar el ministerio público, tenía acceso a una inmensa base de información y un altísimo nivel de interlocución.

Estas potencialidades fueron bien explotadas por las compañías. Algunas como Devon Energy le llegaron a escribir los borradores que debía enviar a la cúpula de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental. “Te adjunto un borrador de carta que un grupo de fiscales generales podrían enviar al director de la EPA y a otros en la Administración en respuesta a los intentos de ampliar la regulación de emisiones”, indica el vicepresidente de Devon, Bill Whitsitt, quien no tiene recato en trazar la estrategia de comunicación que debe seguir el fiscal: “Si se envía, sugiero que se haga pública, al menos en el Capitolio y en publicaciones políticas”, añade. La respuesta fue clara: “Gracias Bill, empezamos a trabajar con el borrador”.

La publicación de los correos, lograda por la organización no gubernamental Centro para los Medios y la Democracia, ha sido recibida con frialdad en la Casa Blanca. Pruitt es un viejo enemigo de los ecologistas y demócratas. Duro, directo y acostumbrado a las críticas, no considera sus nexos con la industria una merma en su independencia, sino un aval de su patriotismo. “Como agencia y como nación podemos ser pro-energía y empleo, y también pro-ambientales. No hay que elegir entre los dos”, dijo Pruitt al reunirse por primera vez con los empleados de la EPA….


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Informan de más de 6.600 derrames del fracking en cuatro estados de Estados Unidos







Publicado en Sputnik
22 de febrero de 2017



Se registraron un total de 6.648 derrames de los pozos de fractura hidráulica para petróleo y gas en cuatro estados de Estados Unidos a lo largo de casi una década, según reveló  un estudio de The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP).


PORTLAND (Sputnik) – El estudio presentado el martes destaca que entre el 2 y el 16 por ciento de los pozos que se han frackeado en Colorado, Nuevo México, Dakota del Norte y Pensilvania, han sufrido derrames de hidrocarburos, productos químicos y fluidos de fracturación hidráulica entre otras sustancias, entre los años 2005 y 2014.

Durante ese periodo Dakota del Norte alcanzó un número de derrames de 4.453 con las operaciones de fracking, seguido de Pennsylvania con 1293. Colorado y Nuevo México reportaron respectivamente  476 y 426 derrames, para el mismo período de tiempo.

Un estudio de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA) dijo anteriormente que había habido 457 derrames en ocho estados entre 2006 y 2012, pero la EPA sólo se interesó por los derrames durante la etapa de fracturamiento hidráulico, cuando están recuperando petróleo y gas con la controvertida práctica  y no con el ciclo de vida completo de los pozos.

De acuerdo con el estudio de SNAPP, poco más del 42 por ciento de todos los derrames registrados se produjo en los tanques de almacenamiento o en las tuberías tuberías, otro 20 por ciento de derrames serían de origen desconocido.



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miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2017

Texas oil fields rebound from price lull, but jobs are left behind



The oil-producing landscape of Midland, Tex., is rife with pumps and rigs. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times



The New York Times
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
FEB. 19, 2017



The industry is embracing technology, and finding new ways to pare the labor force. But as jobs go away, what of presidential promises to bring them back?.


MIDLAND, Tex. — In the land where oil jobs were once a guaranteed road to security for blue-collar workers, Eustasio Velazquez’s career has been upended by technology.

For 10 years, he laid cables for service companies doing seismic testing in the search for the next big gusher. Then, powerful computer hardware and software replaced cables with wireless data collection, and he lost his job. He found new work connecting pipes on rigs, but lost that job, too, when plunging oil prices in 2015 forced the driller he worked for to replace rig hands with cheaper, more reliable automated tools.

“I don’t see a future,” Mr. Velazquez, 44, said on a recent afternoon as he stooped over his shopping cart at a local grocery store. “Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

Oil and gas workers have traditionally had some of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs — just the type that President Trump has vowed to preserve and bring back. But the West Texas oil fields, where activity is gearing back up as prices rebound, illustrate how difficult it will be to meet that goal. As in other industries, automation is creating a new demand for high-tech workers — sometimes hundreds of miles away in a control center — but their numbers don’t offset the ranks of field hands no longer required to sling chains and lift iron.

So while there is a general sense of relief in the oil patch that a recovery is gaining momentum, discussions at company meetings and family kitchen tables are rife with aching worries, especially among those who are middle-aged with no more than a high school education.

Roughly 163,000 oil jobs were lost nationally from the 2014 peak, or about 30 percent of the total, while oil prices plummeted, at one point by as much as 70 percent. The job losses just in Texas, the most productive oil-producing state, totaled 98,000.

Several thousand workers have come back to work in recent months as the price of oil has begun to rise again, but energy experts say that between a third and a half of the workers who lost their jobs are not returning. Many have migrated to construction or even jobs in renewable energy, like wind power.

Eustasio Velazquez at his home in Andrews, Tex. He has lost oil jobs as the technology in the industry advances. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

“People have left the industry, and they are not coming back,” said Michael Dynan, vice president for portfolio and strategic development at Schramm, a Pennsylvania manufacturer of drilling rigs. “If it’s a repetitive task, it can be automated, and I don’t need someone to do that. I can get a computer to do that.”

Indeed, computers now direct drill bits that were once directed manually. The wireless technology taking hold across the oil patch allows a handful of geoscientists and engineers to monitor the drilling and completion of multiple wells at a time — onshore or miles out to sea — and supervise immediate fixes when something goes wrong, all without leaving their desks. It is a world where rigs walk on their own legs and sensors on wells alert headquarters to a leak or loss of pressure, reducing the need for a technician to check…..


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Los niños muestran su amor por el de Bosque de Sherwood ante la llegada del fracking






Publicado en CHAD
Por NICK CHARITY
20 de febrero de 2017



Los amantes del bosque de Sherwood se reunieron ante el Roble Mayor durante el fin de semana para mostrar su apoyo a al icónico arbolado de Nottinghamshire en medio de la exploración de gas de esquito










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martes, 21 de febrero de 2017

Colorado fracking suit pits State vs. community






Newsweek
By David Sirota
2/19/17


Colorado's attorney general—who has received fossil fuel industry donations—is suing to block local restrictions on fracking.


This article originally appeared on the International Business Times.


In the latest salvo in an intensifying national battle over climate change policy and fossil fuel extraction, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing local communities from restricting hydraulic fracturing. The Republican’s lawsuit on behalf of the powerful oil and gas industry comes only a few years after fossil fuel industry campaign cash boosted her campaign for public office.

Republicans have traditionally portrayed themselves as supporters of local control; during a presidential campaign visit to Colorado, Donald Trump said he supported local officials’ right to restrict fracking. But Coffman’s lawsuit aims to overturn moratoriums on fracking passed by Boulder County officials who said they wanted to develop detailed plans for orderly fossil fuel development.

“It is not the job of industry to enforce Colorado law; that is the role of the Attorney General on behalf of the People of Colorado,” Coffman said in a statement that asserted the lawsuit was designed to uphold state law. “Boulder County’s open defiance of state law has made legal action the final recourse available to the state.”

Coffman's lawsuit to block local fracking regulations was filed just as a new Colorado School of Public Health study found that children in the state with "leukemia were 4.3 times more likely to live in the densest area of active oil and gas wells than those with other cancers."

The legal fights over fossil fuel development in Colorado carry national significance, because the political swing state has one of the country’s largest reserves of natural gas.

As environmental and public health concerns about fracking have mounted in recent years, a number of states are grappling with conflicts between state and local officials over who gets to oversee fossil fuel regulation. State lawmakers and courts in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina and West Virginia have tried to curtail local government's ability to regulate natural gas extraction—and national conservative groups and legislators have pushed initiatives to preempt local fracking regulations.

The preemption initiatives and rulings have come amid a flood of campaign cash from fossil fuel interests. Since 2010 election cycle, the industry has poured nearly a quarter-billion dollars into state elections. A recent report by the left-leaning Center for American Progress found that “in a growing number of states, the courts settling these state-local disputes are seeing more campaign cash from oil and gas companies, lawyers, or other special interests.”

Colorado Cash

In Colorado, Coffman’s move to overturn the moratoriums follows a successful 2016 lawsuit by the oil and gas industry that supported Colorado state regulators’ right to prevent local communities from heavily regulating fracking.

Environmentalists say scientific studies of Colorado show fracking poses a threat to drinking water, public health and clean air. In recent years, voters in cities along the Rocky Mountains’ gas-rich Front Range (such as Longmont and Ft. Collins ) have passed ordinances designed to restrict fracking over the opposition—and political spending—of the powerful oil and gas industry.

Facing the prospect of more such moratoriums, the industry has pressed state officials to assert preemption power to crush the local regulations—and it has stepped up its political spending in Colorado, according to data compiled by the National Institute on Money In State Politics. The oil and gas donors spent $1.2 million in the state’s 2010 and 2012 election cycles, and $22 million in the state’s 2014 and 2016 cycles.

Much of that increase in campaign cash flooded into Colorado’s election in 2014—the year Coffman was running for attorney general. A report from the watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch found that 28 fossil fuel corporations and trade associations pumped nearly $12 million into groups that were active in that election. Much of that money flowed into a group working to stop a ballot measure proposing to restrict fracking; Ethics Watch noted that the group “spent millions on canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts” while Coffman was running.

Coffman’s campaign directly received nearly $20,000 from oil and gas interests—including maximum donations from fossil fuel companies’ political action committees. She also was boosted in the 2014 election by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which launched a $1.4 million political action committee that supported her candidacy. RAGA that year listed fossil fuel corporations and trade associations among its largest donors.

An International Business Times review of federal campaign finance data found that while RAGA was bankrolling an ad campaign to promote Coffman’s candidacy, the group received big cash infusions from Koch Industries ($130,315), Devon Energy ($125,000), American Natural Gas Alliance ($103,395), the American Petroleum Institute ($50,000), the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ($60,000), NextEra Energy ($50,000) the American Gas Association ($15,000), Centerpoint Energy ($25,000) and DTE Energy ($25,000). The group also received:

A combined $300,000 from donors at Ariel Corporation, which makes components for natural gas extraction equipment.

$185,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee, which that year was funded by Koch Industries, Encana, ExxonMobil, and the America’s Natural Gas Alliance. RAGA and the RSLC also that year raked in a combined $5.8 million.

$2.7 million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has received financial support from fossil fuel corporations.

The cash came into RAGA—and then to support Coffman’s campaign—as government documents surfaced showing how GOP attorneys general were banding together to help the fossil fuel industry push back against proposed environmental regulations.

Coffman is now reportedly considering a run for governor in 2018. If she becomes the GOP nominee, she would presumably rely on financial support from the Republican Governors Association, which in the last election cycle listed donors from fossil fuel industry players Koch Industries, Ariel Corporation and NextEra Energy among its top contributors.

'Unheard of' to sue on behalf of industry

Coffman originally threatened to sue Boulder County in late January, after local officials declined to end their fracking moratorium. The trade industry representing Colorado’s oil and gas industry issued a statement hailing her lawsuit this week….



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