Mountain States

Rocky-Mountain Lie: State of Colorado Debunks Josh Fox and GasLand

A longtime New York Times editor says Gasland is “one-sided, flawed,” and done “in the Michael Moore mode”. A “propagandist” is how the top environmental watchdog in Pennsylvania, Dept. of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger, described Gasland’s Josh Fox. And the reviews just keep rolling in.

The latest one? This week the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) – yes, the official, state oil and gas regulatory body of Colorado, presided over by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter – issued a document debunking a host of groundless claims lodged in the film Gasland, particularly about the 60 year old energy stimulation technology known as hydraulic fracturing.

For context, here’s COGCC’s chief mission:

  • The efficient exploration and production of oil and gas resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare
  • The prevention of waste
  • The protection of mineral owners’ correlative rights
  • The prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental impacts

Here are key experts from COGCC’s ‘Gasland Correction Document’:

  • “[W]e concluded that Mike Markham’s and Renee McClure’s wells contained biogenic gas that was not related to oil and gas activity. Unfortunately, Gasland does not mention our McClure finding and dismisses our Markham finding out of hand.”
  • “Indeed, the water well completion report for Mr. Markham’s well shows that it penetrated at least four different coal beds. The occurrence of methane in the coals of the Laramie Formation has been well documented … dating back more than 30 years.”
  • “Based on these results, the COGCC has concluded that the gas seep on Ms. Bracken’s property resulted from the fermentation of organic matter by methanogenic bacteria. This is not uncommon in wetland areas, such as those that exist along West Divide Creek.”

Hydraulic fracturing – which has been safely used to stimulate oil and natural gas production in the United States more than 1.1 million times – has never been credibly proven to impact groundwater: not in Colorado, Pennsylvania, or in any other energy-producing state. And that’s no accident. This critical, proven and tightly regulated technology is effectively regulated by individual energy producing states. And without it, enormous amounts of job-creating, homegrown oil and natural gas reserves would remain out of reach. Understand that, and now you understand the true motivation of Josh Fox.

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