Oil and Gas

Flickr user diwineanddine

Last Friday saw two big developments concerning oil and gas development in the North Fork Valley.

Governor John Hickenlooper gave his annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly Thursday. In the speech the governor spoke of his upcoming policies, initiatives, budget proposals and some looming state challenges.

So what does it all mean for the year ahead?

Jim Ramey / Citizens for a Healthy Community

Friday saw the release of a document that’s been a long time in the making.

Governor John Hickenlooper received a warm reception from lawmakers in both parties during his annual State of the State Address. The Governor talked about policies he wants the legislature to adopt, announced a few new initiatives and urged lawmakers to face facts about the challenges facing Colorado.

During his roughly 45-minute speech Hickenlooper highlighted many of his budget proposals, such as giving more money to higher education and K-12 schools. He also pledged to look at ways to creatively fund roads and bridges, and threw his support behind a felony DUI law. Colorado is one of four states without one.

While oil and gas development is a hot topic, state legislators are waiting for a report from the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force, mostly holding off on introducing energy related bills. The task force is charged with crafting recommendations to help mitigate the impacts of drilling to communities, and harmonize local and state regulations.

"I have told some members of the task force, you don't have to send something if there's not a problem," said Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). "I want to know before you send me a solution, the problem we're trying to fix. And if you can't agree on a problem, don't send me legislation just because you're a task force."

Bill Ellsworth, USGS

There’s been a big shift on the fines that companies pay when they’re in violation of regulations. 

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it proposes closing nearly all of the Thompson Divide to future leasing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Colorado State Capitol Building

With the dust from the election finally settling, all eyes are on the next legislative session.  To figure out what exactly is on the horizon, KVNF's Jake Ryan talked with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland.

Bente believes the biggest issue facing the legislature will be the topic of oil and gas.  The Governor's task force will be giving suggestions, but the impact they will have is unknown.  With a divided legislature, gun control will come up but she doubts any changes to the existing laws will happen. 

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

It's lunchtime in Douglas, Wyo., a town smack in the middle of the state's booming oil patch, and the line of cars at the McDonald's drive-through wraps around the building. A hiring poster hangs in the window, and the parking lot is full.

Troy Hilbish, a tool hand for the oil field servicing company Schlumberger, says while he didn't know oil prices have been falling, he does know what falling prices mean.

"If the oil prices go up, we drill more," Hilbish says. "If they go down, we don't drill as much."

A few weeks ago, we reported on a US Geological Survey study that looked at the connection between the injection of produced water, a byproduct of oil and gas production, and earthquakes in the Raton Basin in southern Colorado. 

North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano

The United States is the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer. North Dakota and Texas are experiencing an oil boom. And many other states are seeing natural gas production increase through hydraulic fracturing.

Colorado has nearly 53,000 active wells. But, the state’s energy boom is a source of tension. 

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Think of California's Santa Barbara County and you might picture the area's famous beaches or resorts and wineries. But in the northern reaches of the vast county, oil production has been a major contributor to the economy for almost a century.

So it's no surprise that the oil industry there is feverishly organizing to fight a local ballot initiative — Measure P — that would ban controversial drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing. What is turning heads, however, is the sheer volume of money flooding into this local race, mainly from large oil companies.

University of Colorado Boulder

There’s a recent study out of University of Colorado Boulder. 

After four years in office Governor John Hickenlooper is facing the toughest campaign of his political career. A recent poll from The Denver Post shows his race against Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez statistically tied. What's more, Beauprez is also making gains on Hickenlooper in the Denver metro area and in rural Colorado.

Copyright 2014 KUNC-FM. To see more, visit http://kunc.org.



Jake Ryan

Last weekend, conservationists, students, and volunteers were spread out across the North Fork area, collecting water samples.  KVNF’s Jake Ryan found out why.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced a last-minute compromise to avert a costly political battle over oil and gas drilling. As Dan Boyce of Inside Energy reports, the deal is meant to find a solution to disputes related to fracking — but it also serves the political interests of Colorado Democrats.

In a news conference Monday Governor John Hickenlooper, alongside Democratic Congressman Jared Polis and other supporters, announced a deal on local control for oil and gas, heading off a showdown on the November ballot.

"Hello. Are you registered to vote in Colorado?"

It's a refrain many in the state have grown to loathe this summer — heard outside their favorite grocery store or shopping mall as signature gatherers race toward an Aug. 4 deadline to put four energy-related measures on the November ballot.

With two of those measures backed by environmentalists, and the other two by industry-supported groups, all of the energy talk is leading to confusion among potential voters.

Governor John Hickenlooper has formally pulled the plug on the possibility of a special legislation session to consider stricter rules for the oil and gas industry. Hickenlooper said there weren't enough stakeholders on board for a bipartisan solution.

Wednesday night, the Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance held a meeting in Parachute. 

Loveland voters will soon become the sixth Front Range community to weigh restrictions on hydraulic fracturing. The June 24, 2014 special election asks voters to decide whether to impose a two-year moratorium on fracking, the process of pumping sand, water and chemicals that are proprietary to oil companies into the ground to extract resources.


The White River National Forest is working toward the final stages of updating its oil and gas plan. 


  • Avalanche Near Vail Kills One, Injures Three
  • Snowpack Levels Off to Better Start than Last Year
  • New Medical Marijuana Licenses on hold in Pitkin County
  • Oil & Gas Groups Say New Rules will be costly
  • Telluride Foundation Awards Millions in Grants


  • State Lawmakers Face Tough Political Climate Next Session
  • Authorities Still Waiting on Answers from Well Leak
  • Aspen-area Eco-Flights Highlight Regional Environmental Issues


  • State Democratic Leaders Won't Push Major Policy Changes
  • Grand Junction Airport Investigation Continues as Lawsuit is Filed
  • Colorado Issues First Ever Retail Pot Licenses
  • Colorado State University Researchers Take Part in Oil & Gas Studies


  • Civil Suit Filed against GJ Airport Administration
  • Grand Mesa Plane Crash Victims Were Looking for Lost Cattle
  • Future of Pot Shops in Mountain Village Still Undecided
  • Ouray Residents to weigh in on City Administrator's Performance
  • Future of Mining & Drilling Uncertain Across Western Slope
  • State Economy Has Some Bright Clouds