Colorado Court rules against fossil fuel fear mongers

But the truth does not matter to those who wish to sabotage U.S. energy development

Large group of anti fracking protesters with many signs.

Large group of anti fracking protesters with many signs.

On Monday, May 2 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on what the New York Times (NYT) called: “a lengthy battle for energy production.” The court’s unanimous decision to strike down two cities’ limits on fracking is a victory for oil-and-gas companies and a “disappointment” to anti-fossil-fuel activists. Several states, including Colorado’s neighbors, New Mexico and Texas, have faced similar anti-oil-and-gas initiatives that have also been shot down.

The Colorado Supreme Court reached the same conclusion as the lower court: The fracking bans put in place by Fort Collins and Longmont are “invalid and unenforceable” because state law trumps the local ordinances. A report from Colorado Public Radio states: “The ruling will have an impact on other Front Range communities—including Broomfield, Lafayette, and Boulder—that have approved restrictions on fracking. The court clearly said that these efforts are illegal.”

The consequences of the decision are “comparatively small,” according to the NYT, as the land now opened up for exploration ccrepresents only a fraction of Colorado’s oil-and-gas development. “More significant, said experts on both sides of the conflict, is that the rulings shut down future efforts to stop fracking in local jurisdictions.” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said that she fears the ruling will not end the divisive debate. “Instead some activists will continue to push anti-development initiatives undermining the state’s record of local cooperation on these policy issues.”

The NYT points out: “Spurred by the rise of hydraulic fracturing, Colorado has become one of the nation’s largest producers of oil and gas. The state has more than 50,000 active oil and gas wells.”

According to a press release, the Colorado Petroleum Council “welcomed the decisions for upholding the state’s primacy in overseeing oil and natural gas permitting and curtailing ‘arbitrary bans’ on fracking that could cost local jobs, deprive state and local governments of tax revenue, and limit access to energy resources.”

Upon hearing the news, I tweeted: “Great news! Colorado Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Fracking Bans.” Almost immediately, @AllNewSux responded: [email protected] Hooray…now we can all drink poisoned water here in Colorado!”

What is @AllNewSux thinking? He is regurgitating outdated propaganda as study after study—though funders are disappointed with the results—determine, as did the 3-year study by the University of Cincinnati released in February: “Hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells … does not contaminate ground water.”

The University of Cincinnati study, reports the Free Press Standard: “aimed to measure methane and its sources in groundwater before, during, and after the onset of fracking.” It concluded, “Dissolved methane was detected in all sampled wells; however, no relationship was found between the methane concentration and proximity to natural gas wells.”

amytsThe results of the study were released by Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, the lead researcher, during a February 4 meeting of the Carroll County Concerned Citizens in Carrollton, OH—part of a coalition of anti-fracking groups. Townsend-Small stated: “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.” Her revelations must have been a shock to the group whose pre-meeting promotion included this comment: “We saw the debate about fracking’s impact on groundwater methane in Pennsylvania and the results of failing to have pre-drilling or baseline data for comparisons. Dr. Townsend-Small’s study provides landowners with that baseline data and helps to differentiate shale sources from non-shale sources of methane.”

The Free Press Standard asked Townsend-Small about plans to “publicize the results.” She said there were “no plans to do so.” Why? “I am really sad to say this, but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping this data could lead to a reason to ban it.”

Just a few months earlier, October 2015, a Yale study, reported in Nature World News, came to the same conclusion: “Fracking does not contaminate drinking water.” The article, which ties in an earlier EPA report, states: “Yale researchers have confirmed that hydraulic fracturing—also known as ‘fracking’—does not contaminate drinking water. The process of extracting natural gas from deep underground wells using water has been given a bad reputation when it comes to the impact it has on water resources, but Yale researchers recently disproved this myth in a new study that confirms a previous report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted earlier this year.”

Then there is the 2014 research from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment that found: “(The) gas data appear to rule hoppyout gas contamination by upward migration from depth through overlying geological strata triggered by horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing.” Addressing the study, Hoppy Kercheval, in the West Virginia MetroNews, said: “Fracking opponents should be held accountable as well, and this new research illustrates some of their alarmist proclamations are just wrong.”

In 2013, the “highlights” of a study on the Fayetteville Shale in north-central Arkansas announced: “No relationship between methane and salinity in groundwater and shale-gas wells.”

A year earlier, an EPA study that sampled well water at 61 homes in the famed Dimock, PA, area, and “found health concerns in only five of them.” According to the Washington Times, “drilling is not the root of the problems in Dimock,” as “the substances found include arsenic, barium, and manganese, all of which are naturally occurring.”

The aforementioned studies don’t include myriad comments from public officials stating the same thing.

Perhaps, this preponderance of evidence is what caused so-called expert Anthony Ingraffea to base his recent testimony at the federal trial regarding whether Cabot Oil & Gas was a “nuisance to two families” on “speculation.” In its coverage of the “sparsely attended” February 2016 trial, Philly.com points out that the plaintiffs were “unable to establish that chemicals from hydraulic fracturing got into their water, or that the drilling caused illness.” Coverage at the conclusion of the trial added that the plaintiffs “maintained that the methane contamination disrupted their lives and deprived them of the enjoyment of their property.”

dimockDuring the trial, the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, both known anti-drilling activists, each acknowledged that they had no direct proof of claims they were there to support. Under cross-examination, hydrogeologist Paul Rubin admitted that he had not identified a specific pathway from any of Cabot’s natural gas wells to the plaintiff’s water supply. Regarding his “theory” about causation of the plaintiff’s allegedly impacted water, Ingraffea was asked: “In fact, you’re going to tell me I think or I’ll ask you that’s speculation on your part, it is not?” He responded: “You can call it that, sure.” The questioning continued: “You don’t have any direct proof of that, right?” Ingraffea agreed that he didn’t have direct proof and said his theory was “most likely” the cause.

Additionally, the trial discovered that the plaintiff’s water troubles actually began months before Cabot began drilling nearby. The judge repeatedly called out the plaintiff’s attorney for going “over the line.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson dismissed the property damage claim against Cabot, because as Philly.com reports: “The plaintiffs introduced no evidence that their property values had been affected.” Additionally, one of the plaintiffs, Scott Ely, “spent $700,000 to build his 7,000-square-foot home—after the water went bad.” Carlson, however, ruled that the plaintiffs had “elicited enough evidence that Cabot had been a nuisance.” A jury awarded $4.24 million to the two families based on nuisance.

Anti-fracking activists, like @AllNewSux, likely point to the award (which is being appealed) and see it as proof that fracking contaminates ground water. Though, a careful read reveals that no such evidence was found—only the “most likely,” theory, and speculation common among anti-fossil fuel claims.

One has to wonder how many more studies and court cases have to be carried out before the fear mongering and activist community finally stop wasting public money to kill jobs and raise energy costs.

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About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

CFACT policy analyst Marita Noon is the author of Energy Freedom.,

  • ScottDrysdale

    meanwhile in GB….. enjoy….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyIed1K5ylU

  • What’s Truth got to do with it ?

  • d-dectiri

    Hmmmm.. not a whisper of a word on the UNCONTROLLED WILDFIRES IN CANADA AROUND FRACKING SITES….eh? Yup you nasty scientists have all the answers… ROTFL……….

    • J T

      “Huh?”

    • Marita K Noon

      The fires in Canada and fracking are totally unrelated as the oil extraction there is mined, not fracked.

      • J T

        Oh, most definitely!

  • wally12

    It is refreshing that at least some recognize the truth on fracking and other climate change issues. The author f this article is correct. Those who oppose fracking will never back down. to them this a religion and if there is a set back , they simply go to another lie in an attempt to incrementally work their way to the ultimate goal of removing fossil fuel usage from the the planet.

    • Marita K Noon

      Thank you!

      • wally12

        @Marita K Noon: Thank you for your response. I have done many comments to various authors on various sites and this is the first time I have received a response either positive or negative from the author. Of course, I have received many comments both in favor or (“Your an idiot”) from other readers. I was getting the impression that the authors wrote their article and never went back to read what readers had to say. Thank you again for your response. Keep it up and even if the response is contradictory. I and I believe most readers appreciate the feed back. Have a nice day.

        • J T

          Only an idiot would write “your” an idiot; and I don’t mean you.
          Also, I think the truth might be making it’s rounds, regarding the present climate hustle…………

          • wally12

            @J T: I hope you are right.

        • moran

          When Marita Noon acknowledges and responds, it’s encouraging and heartwarming! She makes such an effort. It’s fortunate you notice!

          • wally12

            Thanks. I would be curious what percentage of authors really respond back to the reader.

            • moran

              Yes, Marita tries to acknowledge within two days of her posting. It helps to be germane and original.
              You may notice her gifted writing and public speaking. Her columns are at: http://www.EnergyMakesAmericaGreat.org

    • VACornell

      The idea of removing fossil fuels from use is totally foolish..
      We will still be using internal combustion engines in 2050…
      Powered by gasoline…

      • wally12

        @VACornell: I agree. Plus the claim that CO2 is the driver of global warming is absurd but the “warmers” can not see or believe it.

  • J T

    “Ha-ha-ha!” What a most inconvenient truth! Yes. Most inconvenient indeed.

    …as a sub-surface geo-technical engineer (foundation/environmental), I’d be more than pleased to respond to any & all foolish comments regarding the dangers of “fracking”.

    • Marita K Noon

      JT, I’d love to hear from you so I can add you to my list of experts whom I reach out to for insights.

      • J T

        I worked for GZA (Goldberg/Zoino & Assocs.) for 15 yrs., back in the 80s & 90s. We did a lot of environmental remediation work, as well as sub-surface geo-technical work for bldngs. as small as CVS, to as large as the Hancock, or the Pru in Boston and the surrounding cities. 3rd Harbor Tunnel, as well.

        William S. Zoino (retired), Donald T. Goldberg (also retired)…I’m not.

  • AllenBarclayAllen

    Morons methane from fracking will only purify Colarados acufers ! These idiots still don’t know methane has always been used to purfy water wells around mineing operations ! Global warmest activist are hidiously stupid when it comes to real science !
    Methane cannot be a global warming agent it’s heavier than air , in liquid form it’s heavier than water !

    ((((Upon hearing the news, I tweeted: “Great news! Colorado Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Fracking Bans.” Almost immediately, @AllNewSux responded: [email protected] Hooray…now we can all drink poisoned water here in Colorado!” -))))

    Methane and the microns that work with it would have easily cleaned up Flint Michgains water supply . Methane and the microns that work with would have easyly cleaned up the contaminated mine water this Stupid obaminight EPA did to the Colorado riverb!

    Pryor to the obummers administration methane was the EPA preferred sorce of decontaminating water contaminated with heavy metal !

    The day see irradicat this idiot Washington crowd the whole world will take a huge huge sigh of relief !

    • J T

      I like the way you think, but you’re a little screwy, or your English is poor; but that’s OK. Dutch, maybe. No amount of MICROBES will de-contaminate toxic metals, but they can go a long way towards remediating bacteriological pollutants. Right?

  • J T

    What is it? Hydraulic fracturing is endangering mongoloids? Or is it Mongols? Or are the brain-dead morons blithering about this even stupider……..more stupid, than……………….fill-in-the-blank.

  • J T

    Am In to undertand that the truck was spraying sht, human (I hope), or otherwise, on these dirty lib/left freaks? Tell me I’m right.

  • J.P. Katigbak

    It is a question of ideological and philosophical motivations behind environmentalism which is part of a grand grand scheme of things by left-liberal ideologues who are pursuing socialist-oriented agendas – and imposed such agendas upon various societies and economies around the world. I wonder why? It is so disquieting the left-liberal ideologues are doing like that. – J.P.K.