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Whitewater, Colorado Residents Continue to Suffer Stench of Frackwater Ponds

Residents of Whitewater, Colorado, continue to suffer with noxious odors from the nearby Deer Creek frackwater disposal facility, despite ongoing efforts by owner Alanco Energy Services over many months to stop the stink emanating from their wastewater ponds.  
Alanco has tried dredging the ponds, adding bleach-based chemicals and cutting back on the number of trucks dumping at the facility, all efforts that have not only failed to yield a permanent solution, but at times have added even more layers of stench to the overall odor problem.

Beer Brawl Ensues Over Threat to Shut Down Colorado Coal Mine

Colowyo Mine near Craig, CO
Bars, liquor stores and restaurants in the small northwest coal mining town of Craig, Colorado have started boycotting craft beers made by Colorado microbreweries that have donated even tiny amounts of cash or in-kind gifts to environmental and sustainability causes.

Have You Read Rolling Stone's Coverage On High Rate of Stillbirths in Frack-Heavy Vernal, Utah?

Uintah basin gas field
Rolling Stone magazine published a comprehensive exposé on June 22 about the continuing high rate of stillborn and neonatal deaths occurring in drilling-heavy Vernal, Utah. The excellent article is titled “What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah? A fracking boomtown, a spike in stillborn deaths and a gusher of unanswered questions.” 
DeSmogBlog first published information about this spike in neonatal deaths in a May 16, 2014 article about Donna Young, the Vernal midwife who first brought the problem to the attention of Utah public health officials.

Whitewater, Colorado Neighbors Suffer with Stench from Frackwater Pits

Alanco frackwater pits at Whitewater, Colorado

For two years, residents around Whitewater, Colorado, have struggled to live with a terrible stench emanating from the Deer Creek waste disposal facility nearby. Operated by Alanco Energy Services, a subsidiary of Alanco Technologies of Scottsdale, Arizona, the facility was created expressly to profit from the waste and contaminated water produced by the oil and gas industry. 

Environmentalists Win Federal Lawsuit Over Colorado Coal Mines

Environmentalists won big May 8 in a lawsuit brought against the federal government over two coal mines near the northern Colorado town of Craig. 

The nonprofit environmental group WildEarth Guardians sued the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), a bureau within the U.S. Department of the Interior, over permits granted in 2007 to expand the coal mines, saying OSM failed to seek public input or consider impacts on the environment when it approved expanding the mines. The mines are operated by Colowyo Coal Company and Trapper Mining, Inc.  

Biggest Fracking Company in Utah Hires BP Executive Involved in Gulf Oil Disaster as CEO

Fidelity Exploration and Production Company, the largest hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operator in southeastern Utah, has chosen Patrick O'Bryan to replace its outgoing CEO, Kent Wells.

Both executives have ties to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and both have links to BP's questionable accountability structure, poor safety record and overall bungled responses to the oil disasters. 

O'Bryan was on the Deepwater Horizon rig on the day it exploded. His visit displaced key safety personnel that day, and delayed a key cement test that would have revealed faulty seals in the well. 

Rejection of Colorado Coal Mine on Global Warming Grounds Could Be Game-Changer

A U.S. District Court judge ruled on June 27 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service both wrongly approved expansion of the West Elk coal mine in Somerset, Colo., because they failed to take into account the economic impacts greenhouse gas emissions from the mining would have.
The federal agencies said it was impossible to quantify such impacts, but the court pointed out a tool is available to quantify the effects of emissions and the agencies chose to ignore it. The tool, the “social cost of carbon protocol,” puts a price on the damanges from drought, flood, storm, fire and disease caused by global warming. 
“It is arbitrary to offer detailed projections of a project's upside while omitting a feasible projection of the project's costs,” U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled.
Arch Coal, Inc. planned to bulldoze vegetation to build about six miles of roads and drill up to 48 exploratory holes in the scenic backcountry of western Colorado's North Fork Valley to vent methane and determine whether a coal seam actually lies beneath the area.
The federal agencies' final report on the West Elk Mine expansion listed the economic benefits of modifying public lands leases to allow the project, but failed to quantify the social or economic costs of carbon emissions from the project.  
The ruling could be game-changing because if the judge's reasoning holds up in other challenges to federal agency decisions, it could change the calculus on dozens of other major projects, such as the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Direct Action Protest Temporarily Shuts Down Utah Tar Sands Project

An environmental group called Women of Action Against Violent Extraction (WAAVE) shut down U.S. Oil Sands' mining operation in Utah temporarily on June 16, citing tension around whether the project's permits are legal.
The women swarmed a bulldozer on the site and asked the operator to stop working. A two and a half minute YouTube video posted June 19 by shows the bulldozer operator asking them to talk to his supervisor.

The protest was at the U.S. Oil Sands project at PR Spring on the Tavaputs Plateau in eastern Utah, about 50 miles west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The project is the first tar sands mine in the U.S.
Three protest groups, Peaceful Uprising, U.S Tar Sands Resistance and Canyon Country Rising Tide, have set up a permanent protest vigil at the site and are encouraging such direct action protests of the project. 

Second Earthquake in Under a Month Shuts Down Colorado Fracking Wastewater Injection Well

second earthquake struck Greeley in northeastern Colorado on Monday, June 23 prompting the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to order a halt to the injection of contaminated drilling wastewater into a deep disposal well in the area.

The ban on injecting wastewater will last for 20 days as officials explore a potential link between the injection activity and the sudden jump in seismicity in the area. The most recent quake was a 2.6 magnitude temblor that hit about five miles north of Greeley at 12:27 p.m. It follows a 3.4 magnitude quake which struck the same area May 30.

Two quakes in less than a month, in an area the U.S. Geological Survey formerly called “aseismic,” has led to speculation that the temblors are “frackquakes,” seismic activity induced by the injection of drilling wastewater into deep rock formations. 

Frackquakes in Colorado? Scientists Probe Fracking Wastewater Link to CO Earthquakes

At 9:35 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, Greeley, Colorado was struck by a 3.4 magnitude earthquake. Earthquakes are highly unusual in eastern Colorado, raising speculation that it was a “frackquake” — a man-made earthquake stimulated by the disposal of contaminated drilling water in deep injection wells. This disposal technique forces wastewater generated from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) deep into underground rock formations, lubricating layers of rock that would not ordinarily be subject to movement.

Earthquakes are so rare in eastern Colorado that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has labeled the area “aseismic.” The Greeley Tribune reported that the May 30 quake's epicenter was roughly two miles away from two deep oil and gas wastewater injection sites that have not been inspected for two years.

Scientists placed seismometers around the area to try to gather more detailed information on what may have generated the quake and its aftershocks. Colorado currently has very few seismometers in place because earthquakes are so rare in the state.