LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

April 10, 2012

 

 

EAB Members:

LEPC Members:

Guests:

Ruben Blanco

Erik Nilsson, Larimer Co OEM

Stuart Ellsworth, COGCC

Melissa Chalona

Mike Gavin, Fort Collins OEM

Rob Helmick, Planning Dept

Michael Jones

Chris Lochra, City of Fort Collins

Rich Grossmann, Health Dept

Evelyn King

Becky Bond, Sinclair Pipeline

Jerry Blehm, Health Dept.

Jennifer Lee

Sherry Bartmann, PVHS

Adrienne Beckman, Intern

Brian McCluskey

Doug Bjorlo, Health Dept

Meegan Flenniken, Natural Resources

Ryan McShane

Kim Meyer-Lee, Health Dept

Jeffry Boring, Natural Resources

Kate Muldoon

 

Lois Rellergert, City of Fort Collins

Joseph Wilson

 

Eric Sutherland

 

 

 

 

 

Staff :

 

 

Doug Ryan, Facilitator (Health Dept)

 

The meeting was held as a joint meeting of the Larimer County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), staff from several departments, and the EAB.

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves. 

 

Citizen Comments:

Eric Sutherland addressed the Advisory Board, and indicated that he was disappointed that the EAB had not been consulted regarding recent County decisions concerning the application of Magnesium chloride for on gravel roads in communities with General Improvement Districts.

 

Discussion Items:

Hydraulic Fracking.  Stuart Ellsworth, Engineering Manager for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, provided a presentation about the Commission’s regulatory programs for oil and gas development, with an emphasis on hydraulic fracking.  He used a PowerPoint presentation to show information on the location of oil and gas fields in Colorado, details of the drilling and fracking process, illustrations of well casing and grouting concepts, horizontal fracking techniques, and an outline of the Rules that the Commission administers. 

 

The Commission rules include provisions for public process, including notification and comment opportunities for drilling permit applications.  A local government designee is also notified.  Rules for environmental protection include setback requirements, standards for the wellbore construction including  casing and grouting to isolate formations that contain groundwater from deeper formations containing oil and gas, and testing and monitoring requirements. 

 

Mr. Ellsworth explained that about 90% of oil and gas wells are hydraulically fractured.  The purpose of fracking is to open many small fractures in the petroleum-bearing formation in order to allow the oil or gas to flow out of the formation and be recovered through the well.  On average, about one million gallons of water are used for a horizontal well fracking.  The fracking fluid consists of about 90% water, 9% sand, and 1% other chemicals.  Chemicals are added to control bacteria or algae growth, to thicken the water, and to lubricate the flow of sand.  Following the high-pressure fracking, a portion of the fracking fluids flow back up the well.  This “flow back” can either be contained in a closed-loop system, or may be allowed to flow into a onsite pond.  The waste water is typically hauled off for treatment or disposal.  In some cases this process water is directed to an underground injection well for disposal.  Hydrocarbon air emissions can be associated with the flow back.  In some case, “green finishing”, where the gasses are sent to a product pipeline, is performed. The well site must be reclaimed after drilling to a smaller footprint necessary for the ongoing production phase. 

 

A discussion session followed.  Questions from the group related to technical issues such as casing and grouting, air emissions, drilling site disturbance, traffic and other offsite impacts, public and local government notifications, best management practices for spill prevention, adequacy of state inspectors, MSDS sheets for onsite chemicals, and the issue of local land use controls vs. the Commission’s rules.  Although a few issues, such as air emissions, were outside the regulatory responsibility of the Commission, Mr. Ellsworth was able to address the questions posed at the meeting. 

 

The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission website contains information about hydraulic fracking, as well as links to specific regulations and requirements.  The site can be found at http://cogcc.state.co.us/. The site includes a link to and industry site with information about the chemicals contained in fracking fluids.  

 

Doug Ryan distributed a list of websites with other information related to fracking, such as the ongoing EPA study, new federal air emission regulations, and the Governor’s task force on state and local regulation. 

 

A related issue of planning for potential oil and gas development on County open lands will be considered at the May EAB meeting. 

 

Approval of February and March Minutes:

Minutes from the February 14 and March 6 meetings were approved as presented.

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.  Michael Jones will research the current status of the Holnam cement plant environmental issues, and Doug Ryan will research the status of the Atlas missile silo cleanup. 

 

May Meeting Agenda:

Oil & Gas development potential on County lands and the Energy by Design planning process, and Community impacts of needle exchange programs related to disposal of syringes and needles. 

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 PM