Anti-fracking chaos in Colorado

Industry-crushing, economy-crushing monster buffer zones

“The “fracking” revolution has enabled the United States to produce more oil than at any time since 1970, and more natural gas than ever before,” says Paul Driessen. “But the technology is under constant assault by radical environmentalists who want to keep all our fossil fuels in the ground. They’ve now launched a new strategy, not to ban the process outright, but to create enormous “buffer zones” around homes, schools and intermittent streams. If they are successful in Colorado, they would shut down nearly all oil and gas production in the state … and cost it well over $11 billion per year and 62,000 jobs by 2030.

“If this crazy Colorado initiative is successful, it would also set and ominous precedent for the entire nation. At both the state and national level, notes energy analyst David Wojick, the impacts would be catastrophic – for oil and natural gas production, jobs and salaries, state and local revenues, pension plans, unemployment compensation and welfare programs, oil and gas exports, national security, and America’s newfound position as a global energy leader.”


Anti-fracking chaos in Colorado

Insane “eco” proposition would all but shut down oil production – and set bad national precedent

David Wojick, PhD

The anti-fracking folks are trying a clever new strategy in Colorado. Instead of banning fracking, they just make it impossible. In fact, they make nearly all oil and gas development and production impossible – which is exactly what radical “leave it in the ground” eco factions demand.

However, the Colorado focus seems to be fracking (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) because, being new, it is the scariest. And people sure are being scared.

The new trick is called “buffer zones,” which means areas where drill rigs and fracturing work cannot be done, so nothing can be found or produced. Colorado already has 500-foot diameter buffer zones around every house and 1,000-footers around things like schools and hospitals.

Fake “green” hummer

Now comes Proposition 112, which is on The Centennial State’s November election ballot. This fake “green” hummer does three bad things. First, it extends the buffer zone to 2,500 feet, which around a house is a whopping 25 times bigger circle than before.

Second, it adds these big buffer zones to natural features like “intermittent streams,” which pretty much covers the entire state. After all, every time it rains hard, the water has to run off in a temporary stream – and it rains everywhere at some point, even in arid Colorado. Right?

Note that these stream buffer zones are not circles. They are honking, gerrymandered rectangles almost a mile wide and as long as the so-called stream. Note that intermittent streams are not there most of the time, maybe 90% of the time. But their huge buffer zone is there 24/7/365, waiting for rains that may or may not come.

To top off this insanity, local governments are allowed to make even bigger buffer zones, as big as they like. If two jurisdictions overlap, the bigger buffer rules.

Analysts estimate that fully 85% of all the private land in Colorado will be closed to oil and gas exploration under Prop 112. That is more than enough to destroy the industry. But if “intermittent stream” is interpreted broadly enough, it could well be 100%. As I said, it rains everywhere.

No science to support it

Note that neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nor the State of Colorado is proposing this nonsense, because there is no science to support it. So rabid greens are trying to scare voters into passing it, thereby bypassing the responsible government agencies.

Of course, the greens have tons of pseudoscience on their side. The foundation of the scare is a huge March 2018 report from the Physicians For Social Responsibility (PSR), a well known far-left green group. The PSR report has this appropriately menacing title:

“Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking

Mostly speculation

What the infamous IPCC reports are to the cataclysmic climate change scare, this PSR report is to the fracking scare. Like the IPCC reports, it is mostly just speculation. There are all sorts of speculative “risks,” but very few actual, documented harms – and these harms are mostly oil and gas industry accidents, or relatively minor seismic activity associated with injecting all kinds of municipal and industrial fluids deep underground. They have nothing to do with fracking.

That there is no actual science supporting these industry-crushing, economy-crushing monster buffer zones does not deter the greens one bit. (Does it ever?) The leading environmentalist organization pushing Prop 112 is Colorado Rising. (Rising from or to what, we do not know.)

Colorado Rising’s “explanation page” features this screaming all-caps headline:



This is purely and simply a lie. But it is well masked by the impenetrable PSR report.

PSR has even produced a 4-page “special report” for Colorado, highlighting some supposed local studies. Not one looked at measures of proximity, such as 500 feet versus 2,500 feet. Some even looked at differences between counties!

Not one acknowledged EPA and other studies that found no impacts on groundwater from properly conducted fracking operations. Even a landmark 2015 Obama era U.S. EPA study found almost no instances where fracking contaminated subsurface drinking water.

Intermittent streams are the real killer

Even worse, none of these studies looks at intermittent streams, which are the real killer in Prop 112. Colorado Rising carefully avoids this issue, perhaps because ditches don’t vote – more likely because the economic impacts would be so devastating. Better to stick to scaring people.

In short, there is no science whatsoever to support Proposition 112. Colorado stands to lose billions of dollars with this “leave it in the ground” nonsense. But since they are not formally banning fracking, at least not on paper (just in reality), it all looks innocent and harmless.

However, a University of Colorado Leeds School of Business study projects that even a 2,000-foot setback could cut Colorado’s GDP by as much as $11 billion per year and eliminate 62,000 jobs by 2030. Prop 112 would likely double those destructive impacts.

A clever trick

There is a great deal of confusion over this clever trick, because some see it for what it is, but many do not. The press coverage is a study in confusion and chaos, which is just what the greens want. Scary assertions, no matter how far-fetched or unlikely, frighten voters. If there were a prize for brilliant green Halloween tricks, Prop 112 would surely get the blue ribbon.

Moreover, this is clearly a national issue, not just a Colorado fight. The Washington Post puts it succinctly with this headline:

Intense fight over Colorado oil and gas setbacks could end with national precedent

If any state implements a crazy rule like this, intense pressure will be placed on all the other states, as well as the Federal Government, to do likewise.

The results would be catastrophic

The results would be catastrophic – at both the state and national level – for oil and natural gas production, jobs and salaries, state and local revenues, pension plans, unemployment compensation and welfare programs, oil and gas exports, national security, and America’s newfound position as a global energy leader.

Let’s hope voters wake up to this pending disaster before November 6.

David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy. He also does confidential research and consulting.

23 thoughts on “Anti-fracking chaos in Colorado”

    • Maybe that’s true on your planet, but for those of us on Earth this is not true. Perhaps fracking has triggered earthquakes during a part of the drilling process, but it has only been documented in Ohio and Oklahoma.

  1. It’s success depends on how many people who originally were from the west coast continue to vote for self destructive policies. They move to new areas, bringing their old ideas with them. And like the locusts they are, will move on to fresh pastures and Never acknowledge their role in the downturn.

    • Correct.

      They move to States where the Demographics are 95% one “culture” and then complain that there is no Diversity.

      BUT, they left their Diverse, previous, State since the schools ”
      have changed” and “it’s not safe anymore”, etc. blah blah blah, and then vote in the Politicians, in their New State, to bring on this same destruction.

      And, not only do we have to suffer from the Demographic invasion, these same transplants still believe in Global Warming, cars are evil (as they bring their BMW’s and Honda SUV’s……), cigarettes are horrible but Marijuana is wonderful, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.

    • Then you should read your press and do your research far better than you have.
      The UK has far more low/medium intensity earthquakes than you realise.
      Coupled with ground subsidence and “Earthquakes” from coal mining areas, you were happy to have cheap energy based on coal for the last 100 years provided it happened elsewhere.
      Seismicity at Preston New Road, October 2018
      Since hydraulic fracturing operations started at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, some earthquakes have been detected close to the area of operations. Details of these events can be found here.
      BGS has deployed additional surface seismic sensors across the north of England to help provide an independent assessment of both the baseline levels of natural earthquake activity and any induced seismicity. This dense network of sensors allows us to detect smaller earthquakes than we are typically able to do in other parts of the UK. The data from this network is openly available and all the seismic activity that we detect will be published on our web site.
      The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has strict controls in place to ensure that operators manage the risk of induced seismicity. Details of which can be found here. This includes a requirement for operators to undertake detailed geological studies, and submit a Hydraulic Fracture Plan (HFP) setting out how they will control and monitor the fracturing process and assess the risk of induced seismic events.

  2. well I would want a mile preferably 5, between me n any frakking
    and the best option would be NONE near habitations anyway.
    we have a lock the gate initiative in sth aus and victoria and moratoriums in both states
    a huge amt of people in qld bought poor land cheaply to have a quiet safe rural lifestyle
    they started frakking
    homes are unsellable.
    recently re started frakking in UK and earthquakes followed just like germany.
    theres hardly a day without 5k or less depth quakes in oklahoma and other spots you guys are frakking in.
    standard drilling, not a problem pref offshore but on land in uninhabited places is ok

    • You also have an exodus of businesses in South Australia because the wondrous green electrical grid can’t supply reliable electricity. The ones who are staying have installed diesel generators to keep the doors open. You can’t use coal and you have blocked fracking? Congratulations on destroying the states you live in. Enjoy starving because you can’t grow enough food, which depends on diesel and petrol-driven farm equipment. Oh, that’s right. You could use electrically driven equipment, but there’s not enough electricity available for that.

      It’s nice you know so much about what is going on in the fracking industry in the U.S. We cry about how devastating it is as we keep prices stabilized for gasoline.

      Also, your grammar and spelling sucks.

      • nice chap arent you….I spell ENGLISH as english- not american
        ok so south aus has a HUGE oilfield found in the Flinders ranges that was raved up for months then all went quiet..blame the greens I reckon.
        we have more than enough coal at leigh creek and other areas to run our own coalpower BUT again the warmist green shit for brains got Pt Augusta power plant closed and demolished bloody fast. now? theyre bitching about the dust from the now barren site
        serve em right!.
        american/saudi deals and the trade is in US$ affects our fuel prices badly
        as does the fact we also shut down Pt Stanvac oil refinery in the 80s and it got flogged off for housing later.
        Labor govts/greens.
        our morons in govt admitted we have less than 40days petrol n diesel in emergency scenarios.
        power gen was govt and worked fine until , again Labor sold powercos off and prices soared.
        we do NOT provide the subsidies to fuel coal or other energy sources your govt does. or our farmers either, so we are at a massive disadvantage in trade. I moved from SA over a decade ago and it saddens me to see how bad the state now is;-(
        cant say Vic is much better, again a Labor govt but that might change very soon.

  3. Makes you wonder if they are being funding by Russia as it would certainly be to their benefit if the green nutters achieved their aims.

    • spit that koolaid out!
      russia markets to eu and china
      the recent push BY ussa to try and sell eu lpg etc into russias well established markets IS the real bugbear
      so start a rumour blaming russia for badmouthing frakking?
      ffs! oils got to be over 70 or more a barrel to make frakking even viable.
      keep your own product for home use and stop snaeking around trying to steal others markets would be wise.
      the refusal to halt the arms sales to saudis beggars belief..but…theres oil as well as megabucks for bigmil
      and no matter WHO you elects the mil industrial scum have them by the short hairs.

      • Some oil companies were happy to pump at $40 a barrel in Texas. That price broke the back of Saudi Arabia’s attempts to raise prices.

        • hmm from what i read a lot of well got shut down and they ran at a loss to do that. and thats your OWN peoples financial reports i quote you btw.
          most of aus doesnt give a flying F what you folks do, I happen to read widely.

      • You should watch the Russia Today TV-channel. I have seen anti-fracking reports there. It’s obviously in Russia’s interest to keep Europe dependent on Russian gas. (and maybe at an optimum moment, say in mid-winter, turn off the taps!).

        Also compare Lenin’s birth date with “Earth Week”. There does seem to be a link between communism and the Green Cult.

  4. You are talking Colorado mental midgets, some who call them people are just as dissolutioned as the/those mental midgets ?

    Coloradans will year in and year out line up at the polls and vote to their own destruction because that is what mental midgets do…

    Don’t expect sanity from that State !


  5. Fracking caused two earthquakes in the north of England recently. And it’s not the first time it happened. They had to stop fracking a few years ago because of this. They start again and, hey presto, two more quakes. There is definitely a link.

  6. They stopped for seven years because of earthquakes closely connected to their fracking. During the interval there were no quakes. They started again, and two quakes
    ensued almost immediately. It’s not cast iron proof, but it’s still a fairly telling pattern. If someone started hacking and coughing up black goo every time they smoked a cigarette, the medical profession wouldn’t be under pressure to make a causative connection between the two factors. It’s kind of obvious.

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