Demands from the Residents of Longmont
The residents of Longmont hereby demand that the Longmont City Council act decisively to protect their health, safety, community, and homes from the destructive incursion of fracking into the city limits.
The current Longmont City regulations were written in 2012 and no longer reflect even the minimal setbacks required by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). They don’t reflect Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) regulations written in 2014. Also, since 2012 hundreds of peer reviewed articles revealing detrimental effects of fracking on human health and safety have been published.
Based on these facts, we are calling on you to enact at least a one year moratorium of all fracking within the city limits. During that time period, the city council must appoint Longmont citizens to work with the council and city staff to rewrite the city regulations pertaining to fracking.
See below for omissions and weaknesses of the current regulations. A moratorium will provide time to develop regulations that would more adequately protect Longmont residents.
Regulations 15.04.020 state:
These regulations are enacted to preserve the rights and privileges of both surface and mineral estate owners and lessors, while ensuring the health, safety, and general welfare of the present and future residents of Longmont and surrounding areas and the preservation and protection of wildlife and the environment. The city’s goal is to work cooperatively with oil and gas applicants and operators, affected individuals, groups or institutions, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and other municipal, county, state and federal agencies and interested parties to ensure that potential land use and environmental conflicts are adequately addressed and mitigated.
Areas of Concern:
Making Health & Safety Primary
The paragraph above should reflect that the primary concern in the health, safety and welfare of residents. Rights and privileges of surface and mineral owners can never be primary over health, safety and general welfare.
The Colorado constitution states:
Section 3. Inalienable rights. All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
COGCC regulations: (see Appendix A below for a few of the rules that were made after the Longmont Regs were written)
- • Setbacks stated for high occupancy buildings such as schools are now 1000 feet. Revised regulations must at least meet this minimum standard, which is now known to be inadequate for protect of residents. Since new drilling methods frequently have a very large foot print, the setback must be measured from the edge of the well pad, not the well head.
- • No reference is made for Urban Mitigation Areas and must be studied and added.
- • Setbacks from water are to be based on average high water, this needs updated to reflect the 2013 flood.
- • New regs adopted in 2014 are not reflected in the current Longmont regulations. (See appendix A)
Physicians for Social Responsibility stated in the 2015 Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking:
The pace at which new studies and information are emerging has rapidly accelerated in the past year and a half: in the first few months of 2014, more studies were published on the health effects of fracking than in 2011 and 2012 combined. Indeed, the number of peer-reviewed publications doubled between 2011 and 2012 and then doubled again between 2012 and 2013. More than 80 percent of the available studies on the impacts of shale gas development have been published since January 2013 and over 50 percent since January 2014. In 2014, 192 peer- reviewed studies on the impacts of fracking were published. In the first six months of 2015, 103 studies appeared.
Residents have a right to health and safety where they live, work, go to school and play. These new studies must be reflected in the Longmont Regulations. (See Appendix B for Articles related to fire and rescue needs and Appendix C for Peer Reviewed Health Care References) Based on the right of residents to a safe/healthy environment, the following must be included:
Recommended Improvements to Longmont’s Regulations:
- Increased opportunity for citizen input Residents request that all people living with in 1 mile of any proposed well be notified of the application. This notification must be at least 100 days prior to any drilling so that residents can consider options of selling or moving. This also allows time to complete pre-drilling health assessments and air monitoring. Open citizen meetings must occur when the application is first proposed and at every step including revocation. These meetings must not be monopolized by the industry has occurred in other cities. Citizen input must be equally considered.
- Consequences for spills and leaks must be improved. Fines are inadequate and should include permanently remove driller from working within the Longmont City limits
- Planning for fire and rescue services must be included and any costs for additional equipment and supplies attributable to the added risks posed by Oil and Gas operations must be charged to the industry. (See Appendix B)
- Open pits, injection wells, or flaring must not be allowed within city limits. Open pits and flaring add dangerous air pollutants. Injection wells are documented by the Geological Society of America to be connected to earthquakes.
- The city should not allow eminent domain to any company to install pipelines for fracking water, waste or product.
- Mention is made that seismic survey operations on city property requires city council approval. Those same operations on private property should require approval of the surface owner and adequate notice must be given.
- No special exemptions should be allowed. The state says that our regulations are protective, the city council has written and hopefully studied those regulations, so why would you allow exemptions? If this is kept in these regs, an additional study time of 30 daysmust be given prior to application approval. This allows the city council and all residents living with in 1 mile additional time to assess the need and consequences of the exemption.
- If a special exemption is given to allow drilling closer to homes, the operator must compensate the homeowner commensurate with the reduced market value of the home as a result of the proximate heavy industry. Such loss of home values has been well documented in recent years.
- Do not just state that you will give in to Operational Conflict. You were elected to represent us. Bargain for the best interests of the residents of Longmont.
- There is a right to enter clause. This needs to be strengthened to immediate access including right to enter for monitoring.
- Impact fees must be increased to cover expected costs of additional monitoring required to ensure health and safety of residents. Fees for road damage must be strengthened. A “Damage Deposit” should be exacted from operators to be held in reserve for road damage commonly caused by and associated with Oil and Gas operations. Such deposit may be returned upon completion of the heavy industrial portion of the operation less any cost to repair road damage caused by that activity.
- Bond payments must be increased to reflect current financial instability in the market for fossil fuels. This must be high enough to cover costs of plugging and reclaiming land if the wells are abandoned. Many fossil fuel companies declare bankruptcy and move their assets to another company. Bond must be high enough to cover this situation.
- Best management practices. We shouldn’t be dealing with any operator who doesn’t use these on every well. Instead, be specific about requirements to operate within our city.
- Setbacks from water are to be based on average high water, this needs to be updated to reflect the 2013 flood. (See Appendix A for recent COGCC Rules)
- Part of the application process for every well must be an evacuation plan provided by the Fire and Rescue Department. Special attention must be placed on evacuation of any school, including preschools, and nursing homes. The public meeting prior to approval of the plan must include this information. The plan must include a method to notify residents of the emergency. The blast zone is known to be up to 3 miles, the evacuation zone must include this scenario.
- Hazardous material is present at every drilling site. The MSDS must be immediately available to all emergency personnel, hospitals and physicians. This means within minutes, even during the night. A system of storing these with the city or emergency services may be needed.
- All spills must be reported to city immediately and made available to the residents of the city. Additional air monitoring must be done to determine possible health impacts to residents and warnings to avoid the area may be required.
- Health impacts are widely and unequivocally known to occur due to toxins released in the air. Residents who will have drilling operations within 1 mile of their home need to have the ability to request a pre health assessment and pre air monitoring. These assessments must be repeated at 30, 60, 90, 180 and 360 days and after any well is re-entered or any spill occurs. The city must do routine air monitor sampling and also FLIR camera checks for leaks.
- Health assessment should include BTEX, and methane, blood and urine checks.
From COGCC Rules
These rules are new since the Longmont Regulations were written.
603.h. Statewide Floodplain Requirements. When operating within a defined Floodplain: (1) The following requirements apply to new Oil and Gas Locations and Wells:
A. Effective August 1, 2015, Operators must notify the Director when a new proposed Oil and Gas Location is within a defined Floodplain, via the Form 2A.
As of March 16, 2016
B. Effective June 1, 2015, new Wells must be equipped with remote shut-in capabilities prior to commencing production. Remote shut-in capabilities include, at a minimum, the ability to shut-in the well from outside the relevant Floodplain.
C. Effective June 1, 2015, new Oil and Gas Locations must have secondary containment areas around Tanks constructed with a synthetic or geosynthetic liner that is mechanically connected to the steel ring or another engineered technology that provides equivalent protection from floodwaters and debris.
(2) The following requirements apply to both new and existing Wells, Tanks, separation equipment, containment berms, Production Pits, Special Purpose Pits, and flowback pits:
A. Effective April 1, 2016, Operators must maintain a current inventory of all existing Wells, Tanks, and separation equipment in a defined Floodplain. Operators shall ensure that a list of all such Wells, Tanks, and separation equipment is filed with the Director. As part of this inventory, Operators must maintain a current and documented plan describing how Wells within a defined Floodplain will be timely shut-in. This plan must include what triggers will activate the plan and must be made available for inspection by the Director upon request.
B. Effective June 1, 2015 for new and April 1, 2016 for existing, tanks, including partially buried tanks, and separation equipment must be anchored to the ground. Anchors must be engineered to support the Tank and separation equipment and to resist flotation, collapse, lateral movement, or subsidence.
C. Effective June 1, 2015 for new and April 1, 2016 for existing, containment berms around all Tanks must be constructed of steel rings or another engineered technology that provides equivalent protection from floodwaters and debris.
D. Effective June 1, 2015 for new and April 1, 2016 for existing, Production Pits, Special Purpose Pits (other than Emergency Pits), and flowback pits containing E&P waste shall not be allowed within a defined Floodplain without prior Director approval, pursuant to Rule 502.b.
E. An Operator may seek a variance from the effective date for the requirements for existing facilities referenced in subparts 603.h(2)B, C or D by filing a request for an alternative compliance plan with the Director on or before February 1, 2016.
604. SETBACK AND MITIGATION MEASURES FOR OIL AND GAS FACILITIES, DRILLING, AND WELL SERVICING OPERATIONS
a. Setbacks. Effective August 1, 2013:
(1) Exception Zone Setback. No Well or Production Facility shall be located five hundred (500) feet or less from a Building Unit except as provided in Rules 604.a.(1) A and B, and 604.b.
A. Urban Mitigation Areas. The Director shall not approve a Form 2A or associated Form 2 proposing to locate a Well or a Production Facility within an Exception Zone Setback in an Urban Mitigation Area unless:
i. the Operator submits a waiver from each Building Unit Owner within five hundred (500) feet of the proposed Oil and Gas Location with the Form 2A or associated Form 2, or obtains a variance pursuant to Rule 502; and
As of March 16, 2016
the Operator certifies it has complied with Rules 305.a, 305.c., and 306.e.; and
iii. the Form 2A or Form 2 contains conditions of approval related to site specific mitigation measures sufficient to eliminate, minimize or mitigate potential adverse impacts to public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife to the maximum extent technically feasible and economically practicable; or
iv. the Oil and Gas Location is approved as part of a Comprehensive Drilling Plan pursuant to Rule 216.
B. Non-Urban Mitigation Area Locations. Except as provided in subsection 604.b., below, the Director shall not approve a Form 2 or Form 2A proposing to locate a Well or a Production Facility within an Exception Zone Setback not in an Urban Mitigation Area unless the Operator certifies it has complied with Rules 305.a., 305.c., and 306.e., and the Form 2A or Form 2 contains conditions of approval related to site specific mitigation measures sufficient to eliminate, minimize or mitigate potential adverse impacts to public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife to the maximum extent technically feasible and economically practicable.
(2) Buffer Zone Setback. No Well or Production Facility shall be located one thousand (1,000) feet or less from a Building Unit until the Operator certifies it has complied with Rule 305.a., 305.c., and 306.e. and the Form 2A or Form 2 contains conditions of approval related to site specific mitigation measures as necessary to eliminate, minimize or mitigate potential adverse impacts to public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife.
(3) High Occupancy Buildings. No Well or Production Facility shall be located one thousand (1,000) feet or less from a High Occupancy Building Unit without Commission approval following Application and Hearing. Designated Setback Location and Exception Zone Setback mitigation measures pursuant to Rule 604.c. shall be required for Oil and Gas Locations within one thousand (1,000) feet of a High Occupancy Building, unless the Commission determines otherwise.
(4) Designated Outside Activity Areas. No Well or Production Facility shall be located three hundred fifty (350) feet or less from the boundary of a Designated Outside Activity Area. The Commission, in its discretion, may establish a setback of greater than three hundred fifty (350) feet based on the totality of circumstances. Designated Setback Location mitigation measures pursuant to Rule 604.c. shall be required for Oil and Gas Locations within one thousand (1,000) feet of a Designated Outside Activity Area, unless the Commission determines otherwise.
(5) Maximum Achievable Setback. If the applicable setback would extend beyond the area on which the Operator has a legal right to locate the Well or Production Facilities, the Operator may seek a variance under Rule 502.b. to reduce the setback to the maximum achievable distance.
From AQCC regulations memo regarding 2014 update
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/AP_Regulation-3-6-7- (see site for full memo)
Regulation Number 7, Sections II., XVII., and XVIII.
Revisions regulate hydrocarbon emissions from oil and gas on a state-only, state-wide basis.
Beginning January 1, 2015, the revisions require that open-ended valves or lines be sealed or become subject to leak detection and repair (“LDAR”) requirements, centrifugal compressors reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 95%, and reciprocating compressors at natural gas compressor stations replace rod packing every 26,000 hours of operation or every 36 months.
• The revisions expand the requirement to use good air pollution control practices to minimize hydrocarbon emissions from hydrocarbon liquid collection, storage, processing, and handling.
- The revisions expand the requirement to use auto-igniters. Combustion devices installed on or after May 1, 2014, must utilize an auto-igniter upon installation. Combustion devices installed before May 1, 2014, must utilize auto-igniters beginning May 1, 2016.
Storage Tanks (Section XVII.C.)
• The revisions require storage tanks with uncontrolled actual VOC emissions ≥ 6 tons per year (“tpy”) to control hydrocarbon emissions by 95% (and if using a combustion device, the device must be designed to achieve 98% control). The revisions require all storage tanks, except temporary frac tanks, utilized during the first 90 days of production to control emissions by 95% (and similarly meet a 98% design control efficiency) unless projected emissions during those 90 days are < 1.5 tons.
o The revisions require controlled tanks to conduct audio, visual and olfactory (“AVO”) and additional visual inspections at the frequency of liquids loadout (not more than every 7 days, and at least every 31 days). The revisions require controlled tanks to operate without venting during normal operation.
- The revisions require storage tanks subject to system-wide controls and storage tanks with VOC emissions ≥ 6 tpy to develop and employ Storage Tank Emission Management (“STEM”) plans to meet the “operate without venting” standard, which includes Approved Instrument Monitoring Method (“AIMM”) inspections.
Glycol Natural Gas Dehydrators (Section XVII.D.)
- The revisions require glycol natural gas dehydrators constructed on or after May 1, 2015, with uncontrolled actual VOC emissions greater than 2 tpy, to control emissions by 95% (and if using combustion device, the device must be designed to achieve 98% control). The revisions require glycol natural gas dehydrators constructed before May 1, 2015, with VOC emissions greater than 6 tpy, or 2 tpy if located within 1,320 feet of a building unit or designated outside activity area, to control by 95% (and similarly meet a 98% design control efficiency).
LDAR (Section XVII.F.)
- The revisions require owners/operators to inspect components at natural gas compressor stations and well production facilities for leaks.
- Natural gas compressor stations must be inspected beginning January 1, 2015. The frequency of inspections is based on fugitive VOC emissions, Well Operation
- Beginning August 1, 2014, the revisions require gas from newly constructed, hydraulically fractured, or recompleted wells be routed to a gas gathering line or controlled by 95% (and if using combustion device, the device must be designed to achieve 98% control).
Well Maintenance and Liquids Unloading
- Beginning May 1, 2014, the revisions require best management practices to minimize hydrocarbon emissions and the need for well venting during well maintenance and liquids unloading.
- The revisions expand the low-bleed pneumatic controller requirement statewide, beginning May 1, 2014. The revisions also require no-bleed pneumatic controllers where on-site electrical grid power is used and the no-bleed pneumatic controller is technically and economically feasible.
Fire And Rescue Articles
- Colorado http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/osha-fines-halliburton-7k-in-fracking-site-blast-that-killed-1-worker-injured-2-in-weld-county
- New Mexico https://thinkprogress.org/fire-from-new-mexico-fracking-site-explosion-keeps-burning-three-days-later-984d644f5f5#.6u5xfqdma
- Texas https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21052015/well-explosion-douses-karnes-texas-neighborhood-already-weary-fracking
- Oklahoma http://kfor.com/2016/01/14/fracking-fire-damage-totals-almost-50-million/
- West Virginia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfPtIRXc-Dg
- Ohio http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/10/29/well_explosion.html
- Pennsylvania http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/18/us/chevron-pennsylvania-explosion-pizzas/
Two websites now detail peer reviewed studies on fracking:
This is a sampling of Peer Reviewed Studies that were published from 2014 to 2016
Environmental Science & Technology, 49, 3175-84. doi: 10.1021/es504315f
Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 2. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000035
Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study. Environmental Health, 13(82). doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-13-82
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14, 10977-10988. doi: 10.5194/acp-14-10977-2014
Nature, 514(7522), 351-354. doi: 10.1038/nature13767
Jemielita T., Gerton G. L., Neidell M., Chillrud S., Yan B., Stute M., … Panettieri, Jr., R. A. (2015), Unconventional gas and oil drilling is associated with increased hospital utilization rates. PLoS ONE 10, e0131093. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131093
Shaina, L. S., Brink, L. L, Larkin, J. D., Sadovsky, Y, Goldstein, B. C., Pitt, B. R., & Talbott, E. O. (2015). Perinatal outcomes and unconventional natural gas operations in southwest Pennsylvania. PLoS One, 10, e0126425. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126425
McKenzie LM, Guo R, Witter RZ, Savitz DA, Newman LS, Adgate JL. Birth outcomes and maternal residential proximity to natural gas development in rural Colorado. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2014; Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306722