Anti-fracking lobby seeks new moratorium, keeps legal powder dry


http://bit.ly/1wYGYb4

Anti-fracking lobby seeks new moratorium, keeps legal powder dry

22nd July 2014

Anti-fracking lobby group Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and social rights group AfriForum hand delivered a letter to President Jacob Zuma this week calling on him to declare a fresh moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in South Africa, or face possible legal action.

TKAG CEO Jonathan Deal reported on Tuesday that the letter questioned government’s apparent willingness to proceed with the processing of exploration applications despite having failed to address several outstanding concerns that had been raised by fracking opponents over the past three-and-a-half years.

In his State of the Nation address on June 17, Zuma described shale energy as a “game changer” and said that the “the shale-gas option” would be pursued “within the framework of our good environmental laws”.

Subsequently, Shell’s Bonang Mohale urged government to accelerate the licensing process, warning that South Africa ran the risk of missing out on the shale-gas boom as it had with the commodity boom.

Untested estimates indicated that South Africa could have more than 300-trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the Karoo basin, which proponents believe should be exploited to help the country diversify its coal-heavy electricity mix and even, potentially, to produce transport fuels.

However, Deal said the alliance against fracking – which was led by TKAG and AfriForum, but also embraced civil society, labour and religious groups – felt there were at least five outstanding issues that had to be address before South Africa could consider proceeding.

The first, and most important, related to public consultation, which AfriForum’s head of environmental affairs Julius Kleynhans argued had been entirely inadequate to date.

However, the draft fracking regulations outlined in 2013 were also said to be “flawed”, with no indication yet given as to whether the final regulations would take account of public submissions – the alliance against fracking’s own submission ran to over 300 pages.

Thirdly, concerns lingered over the composition of the task team assembled by the Department of Mineral Resources to finalise the framework under which shale-gas exploration and development could proceed. Deal argued that a new task team should be assembled that included individuals who were more critical of fracking and its potential benefits.

Opponents also had serious misgivings about the quality of the environmental management plans that had been submitted by potential shale-gas miners. They also felt that the precautionary principle should remain in place until outstanding scientific questions were adequately answered.

There was a “golden opportunity”, Deal argued, for government to restart the consultation process, the length of the previous consultation should not be confused with a credible process.

Deal said he had been heartened by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s indication that he was willing to engage with the TKAG. However, neither he nor Kleynhans had received a formal approach from the Minister.

The alliance, which signed off its letter to Zuma with the words “in good faith”, said it hoped to receive a positive response from government to its “non-litigious” overture within the coming 30 days.

Should no response emerge, however, preparations would be made to take “legal steps”, the first of which was likely to be triggered should government grant an exploration licence to any of the current applicants.

Kleynhans indicated that AfriForum already had the financial wherewithal to take the matter legal and that it was convinced that there would be others willing to join the alliance in what threatened to become an expensive and drawn out legal battle.

“Our letter presents government with a valuable opportunity to address fatal flaws in its approach to shale-gas mining without the need for enormously expensive and embarrassing litigation from the citizens of South Africa,” Deal said.

But he likened the current approach to agreeing to “get on a plane where we don’t even know if the pilot has a licence, or if the plane has been serviced”.

“This is not about bunny hugging and we wouldn’t have the effrontery to talk about stars and birds and bees and rabbits when this country needs energy and it needs employment,” Deal stressed, adding that the debate needed to centre on economics and the science.

Deal also embraced the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) recent opposition to fracking, which drew a wry smile from Kleynhans, who admitted that AfriForum, which is known for fighting for minority Afrikaner rights, was not currently on speaking terms with JuliusMalema’s party.

“[The EFF] have indicated that they are going against [fracking], but obviously they have their own political motives . . . if they can put a piece of paper in front of us, we will definitely read through it and see what they have to say.”

Deal was more enthusiastic about the EFF’s potential involvement saying: “I’m not a political animal at all and I’ve had to learn politics fairly quickly in the last three-and-a-half years. But one thing I would say for Julius Malema is that, if he has an opinion, he’s not scared to make it known and not scared to stand up for it – and I admire that in him”.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

AfriForum and TKAG to reveal SA Shale gas development


MEDIA ADVICE

 17 July 2014

AfriForum and TKAG will reveal the contents and nature of an engagement with the State concerning shale gas mining (fracking) and specifically the recent announcements of President Jacob Zuma in this regard.
This will take place at a press conference at Sandton Convention Centre, 161 Maude Street Sandton, 2196 at 10h30 on Tuesday July 22nd.  Press packs will be distributed after questions from the media and this will be followed by refreshments.
If you wish to attend the briefing please respond to research@treasurethekaroo.co.za with the words ‘Will attend 22 July’ in the subject line. If you require an embargoed copy of the press statement and supporting documents please write to research@treasurethekaroo.co.za.
For more detail or to request a copy of the release and supporting documents after the press conference is concluded, please contact Jeanie Le Roux on 072-959-1818 or research@treasurethekaroo.co.za

ENDS/

Jonathan Deal CEO: Treasure the Karoo Action Group |  Landline: 023-358-9903 | Cell 076-838-5150 |

E-mail: jonathan.deal@treasurethekaroo.co.za

 

From New York to Nkandla shale gas is a ‘game-changer’


This article first published July 15 in Daily Maverick – South Africa’s leading online publication

TO ACCESS THE EMBEDDED LINKS FOLLOW THE DAILY MAVERICK LINK BELOW

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2014-07-15-from-new-york-to-nkandla-shale-gas-is-indeed-a-game-changer/#.U8TFT42SyCg

WINNING OVER CRITICS AND INFLUENCING PEOPLE.
15 JULY 2014 07:58 (SOUTH AFRICA)
OPINIONISTA JONATHAN DEAL

From New York to Nkandla, shale gas is indeed a game-changer

  • JONATHAN DEAL
Shale gas has been hailed as a game changer worldwide, but many of the numbers being crunched are outdated – and the reality is a little more sobering. It’s worth picking up on US shale gas hype and bringing it down to earth in the Karoo.
Since 2011, there have been some incredible statements from oil and gas executives, but the uncontested winner must come from Chris Faulkner: “There is enough oil and gas underground (in America) to supply America for an almost endless amount of time.”

Oil industry mouthpiece, RIGZONE speculates on SA fracking


An online article July 8, by oil and gas industry mouthpiece RIGZONE proclaims “SOUTH AFRICA EDGES CLOSER TO KAROO SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT” Peppered with inaccuracies, and drawing on phrases like ‘rolling blackouts in South Africa in May of this year’, the article regurgitates the industry speculation that we have heard in this country since January 2011. Here is the article. My reply to RIGZONE on their own online comment section may not be published, and is set out underneath the RIGZONE article.


A Rigzone nonsense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe that the article is poorly researched, and as one would expect biased towards the oil and gas industry that supports your publication. As proof, I mention just one point that jumps out of the text. ‘300 000 to 700 000 jobs over 25 years. (485tcf)’ Anyone who has done their homework knows that South African scientists long ago reduced that figure from 485 to 40tcf – so any estimates based on 485 are irrelevant – much like the industry hype and speculation over Monterey. No Sir, those backing shale mining in SA may feel that it is edging closer, but actually the news on shale gas globally is not good and is building a strong body of evidence against SA moving ahead under the current circumstances. Jonathan Deal, CEO, Treasure Karoo Action Group, South Africa.

B Rigzone nonsense-1

Colorado River shrinks in 14 year drought while Fracker’s play on its banks


A recent article by the exposed director of Fracknation in which he made a mockery of anti-fracking claims about the amount of water used in fracking, flies in the face of fact in more than one way. While he jests about water and fracking, communities in the South West may be bracing for a shortage of water for basic living.

McAleer

Phelim McAleer posted a story (http://bitly.com/1lugivV) exposing what he claimed are the ten biggest lies told by the anti-fracking lobby. Here is what he said about the supposed lie that fracking uses a lot of water:
8) Fracking uses a ton of water
Even fracking fans have a hard time swallowing the water stats for fracked wells: the EPA estimates that fracking used between 70 and 140 billion gallons of water in 2011. That sounds like a lot of H2O. Unless you have a lawn.
Americans use 20 times more water on their lawns than they do on fracking.

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States

To help the Colorado, federal authorities this year will for the first time reduce the water flow into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, created by Hoover Dam. JIM WILSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES
By MICHAEL WINES
January 5, 2014

LAKE MEAD, Nev. — The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years.

The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads.

But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished.

Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland.

A connector will link the existing water infrastructure to a tunnel being built under Lake Mead.

JIM WILSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES

Reclamation officials say there is a 50-50 chance that by 2015, Lake Mead’s water will be rationed to states downstream. That, too, has never happened before.

“If Lake Mead goes below elevation 1,000” — 1,000 feet above sea level — “we lose any capacity to pump water to serve the municipal needs of seven in 10 people in the state of Nevada,” said John Entsminger, the senior deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Since 2008, Mr. Entsminger’s agency has been drilling an $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead — a third attempt to capture more water as two higher tunnels have become threatened by the lake’s falling level. In September, faced with the prospect that one of the tunnels could run dry before the third one was completed, the authority took emergency measures: still another tunnel, this one to stretch the life of the most threatened intake until construction of the third one is finished.

These new realities are forcing a profound reassessment of how the 1,450-mile Colorado, the Southwest’s only major river, can continue to slake the thirst of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Agriculture, from California’s Imperial Valley to Wyoming’s cattle herds, soaks up about three-quarters of its water, and produces 15 percent of the nation’s food. But 40 million people also depend on the river and its tributaries, and their numbers are rising rapidly.

The labyrinthine rules by which the seven Colorado states share the river’s water are rife with potential points of conflict. And while some states have made huge strides in conserving water — and even reducing the amount they consume — they have yet to chart a united path through shortages that could last years or even decades.

“There is no planning for a continuation of the drought we’ve had,” said one expert on the Colorado’s woes, who asked not to be identified to preserve his relationship with state officials. “There’s always been within the current planning an embedded hope that somehow, things would return to something more like normal.”

Unfortunately, the Colorado during most of Lake Mead’s 78-year history was not normal at all.

Studies now show that the 20th century was one of the three wettest of the last 13 centuries in the Colorado basin. On average, the Colorado’s flow over that period was actually 15 percent lower than in the 1900s. And most experts agree that the basin will get even drier: A brace of global-warming studies concludes that rising temperatures will reduce the Colorado’s average flow after 2050 by five to 35 percent, even if rainfall remains the same — and most of those studies predict that rains will diminish.

Already, the drought is upending many of the assumptions on which water barons relied when they tamed the Colorado in the 1900s.

The Colorado basin states tried in the 1920s to stave off future fights over water by splitting it, 50-50, between the upper-basin states of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming and the lower-basin states of Arizona, Nevada and California.

In fact, the deal underestimated how much water the fast-growing lower-basin states would need. During most of the wet 20th century, however, the river usually produced more than enough water to offset any shortage.

Now, the gap between need and supply is becoming untenable.

Lake Mead currently stands about 1,106 feet above sea level, and is expected to drop 20 feet in 2014. A continued decline would introduce a new set of problems: At 1,075 feet, rationing begins; at 1,050 feet, a more drastic rationing regime kicks in, and the uppermost water intake for Las Vegas shuts down. At 1,025 feet, rationing grows more draconian; at 1,000 feet, a second Las Vegas intake runs dry.

Lake Powell is another story. There, a 100-foot drop would shut down generators that supply enough electricity to power 350,000 homes.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month forecasts of water levels at Powell and Mead do not contemplate such steep declines. But neither did they foresee the current drought.

“We can’t depend on history to project the future anymore,” Carly Jerla, a geological hydrologist and the reclamation bureau’s Colorado River expert, said in an interview. The drought could end tomorrow, she said — or it could drag on for seven more years.

That raises questions that the states are just beginning to sort out.

The river’s upper-basin states are worried that they might have to curb their consumption to meet their obligations downstream. But the thorniest problems are in the lower basin, where a thicket of political and legal deals has left Arizona holding the bag should the Colorado River continue to diminish.

In the 1960s, California’s legislators demanded first dibs on lower-basin water as a condition of supporting federal legislation to build the Central Arizona Project, a vast web of canals irrigating that state’s farms and cities. Should rationing begin in 2015, Arizona would sacrifice a comparatively small fraction of its Colorado River allotment, while California’s supply would remain intact.

Painful as that would be, though, it could get worse: Should Mead continue to fall, Arizona would lose more than half of its Colorado River water before California lost so much as a drop.

That would have a cascading effect. The Central Arizona Project would lose revenue it gets from selling water, which would raise the price of water to remaining customers, leading farmers to return to pumping groundwater for irrigation — exactly what the Central Arizona Project was supposed to prevent.

“By going back to the pumps, you’ll have made the decision that agriculture will no longer be an industry in central Arizona,” David Modeer, the project’s general manager, said in an interview.

Even Californians doubt Arizona would stand for that, but no successor to the 1960s agreement is in place. And California has a vital interest in holding on to its full allotment of water. The Southern California region using Colorado water is expected to add six million people to the existing 19 million in the next 45 years, and its other water source — the Sierra Nevada to the north — is suffering the same drought and climate problems as the Colorado basin.

“The basic blueprint of our plan calls for a reliable foundation that we then build upon, and that reliable foundation is the Colorado River and Northern California water,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “To the extent we lose one of those supplies, I don’t know that there is enough technology and new supplies to replace them.”

There may be ways to live with a permanently drier Colorado, but none of them are easy. Finding more water is possible — San Diego is already building a desalination plant on the Pacific shore — but there are too few sources to make a serious dent in a shortage.

That leaves conservation, a tack the lower-basin states already are pursuing. Arizona farmers reduce runoff, for example, by using laser technology to ensure that their fields are table flat. The state consumes essentially as much water today as in 1955, even as its population has grown nearly twelvefold.

Working to reduce water consumption by 20 percent per person from 2010 to 2020, Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District is recycling sewage effluent, giving away high-efficiency water nozzles and subsidizing items like artificial turf and zero-water urinals.

Southern Nevada’s water-saving measures are in some ways most impressive of all: Virtually all water used indoors, from home dishwashers to the toilets and bathtubs used by the 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas each year, is treated and returned to Lake Mead. Officials here boast that everyone could take a 20-minute shower every day without increasing the city’s water consumption by a drop.

Moreover, an intensive conservation program slashed the region’s water consumption from 2002 to 2012, even as the area added 400,000 residents.

Even after those measures, federal officials say, much greater conservation is possible. Local officials say they have little choice.

“The era of big water transfers is either over, or it’s rapidly coming to an end,” said Mr. Entsminger, the southern Nevada water official. “It sure looks like in the 21st century, we’re all going to have to use less water.”

Die Burger vandag oor skaliegas. Lees en dink.


http://www.dieburger.com/opinie/2013-11-13-forum-s-nee-vir-skaliegas


Forum: Sê nee vir skaliegas


JONATHAN DEAL

Woensdag 13 November 2013
Suid-Afrikaners moet die waarheid oor hidrobreking hoor voordat dit te laat is, skryf Jonathan Deal.

Wêreldleiers is desperaat – desperaat om oplossings te vind vir werkloosheid, om energietekorte uit die weg te ruim en inkomste te verhoog. Intussen wil kiesers goedkoper en toeganklike energie hê. Die kiesers wil hê!

Ook groot multinasionale maatskappye is desperaat. Die aandeelhouers wil opbrengste hê, en aandeelhouers betaal salarisse – én prestasiebonusse. Die direkteure wil opbrengste hê; daarom moet hulle die aandeelhouers gelukkig hou, wat ook wil hê.

Intussen ontvou in die Amerikaanse olievelde ’n vreemde situasie. Groot maatskappye verloor geld; juis die groot name wat gewoonlik met groot winste vereenselwig word: BHP Billiton, BP, Chesapeake en Shell, om net ’n paar name te noem. Die verliese is miljarde dollars – $2,84 miljard, $2,1 miljard, om ’n paar voorbeelde te noem. (Onthou, een miljard dollar is die ekwivalent van sowat R10 000 000 000 – tien miljard rand.)

En terwyl jy hierdie artikel lees, raak Shell ontslae van sy skaliegasbates in Texas en Colorado.

Oorkant die Atlantiese Oseaan, in Shell se hoofkantoor, doen nog ’n vreemde verskynsel hom voor. En in dié kringe is daar spyt, gróót spyt.

Peter Voser, uitvoerende hoof van Shell, het onlangs aan die internasionale media erken Shell se betrokkenheid by skaliegas in Amerika is een van die dinge waaroor hy die meeste spyt is.

Shell besit rondom $24 miljard in skaliegasbates in Amerika en moes onlangs $2,1 miljard in verliese afskryf.

Maar aan die suidpunt van Afrika, in die Karoo, verkondig die einste Shell se bestuur aan Suid-Afrika se leiers en mense hoe wonderlik skaliegas vir Suid-Afrika sal wees. “Honderdduisende volhoubare werkgeleenthede,” basuin hulle uit. “ ’n Game changer vir Suid-Afrika,” trompetter hulle. “Suid-Afrikaners sal elektrisiteit hê: geen brande in informele nedersettings weens paraffienlampe nie” en “die land sal energie-sekerheid hê”, belowe hulle. Wanneer ’n mens luister na hul verleidelike beeld van die nuwe land van melk en heuning, wonder jy hoe Suid-Afrika dan ooit sonder skaliegas – en Shell – sou voortgaan.

Shell se litanie oor rykdom van skaliegas herinner ’n mens aan dié ou gesegde: As iets te goed klink om waar te wees, is dit gewoonlik nie waar nie.

Reis dus saam om die wêreld deur die skaliegasbedryf en besluit self of ons op pad is na ’n pot goud aan die punt van die reënboog, of eerder na ’n gekkeparadys.

Laat ons begin met waar hidrobreking onwelkom is: in meer as 200 plekke wêreldwyd – lande, provinsies, stede en dorpe, waaronder Frankryk, Bulgarye en, Shell se hoofkantoorland, Nederland.

Daar is miljoene mense wat nie hidrobreking wil hê waar hulle hul drinkwater kry, kinders grootmaak en voedsel verbou nie.

En wat glo ons in Suid-Afrika? Die stories oor “permanente” werkgeleenthede? Rykdom vir die arm Suid-Afrikaners? Elektrisiteit in elke huis? En dat klimaatsverandering opgelos sal word?

Die feit bly: Nóg Shell nóg ons regering het al ooit die skaal en erns van die internasionale beweging teen skaliegas erken nie. Ek glo dat hulle die proses in die land aan die gang wil kry voordat Suid-Afrikaners die omvangryke waarheid daaroor hoor. Dan sal dit te laat wees.

Wat is die ekonomiese implikasies? Shell het Econometrix betaal om ’n verslag op te stel oor skaliegas in Suid-Afrika. Dit is syfers in daardie verslag wat aangehaal word deur ons leiers, en deur Shell. Dit is die verslag wat Suid-Afrika se energiebeleid beïnvloed het.

Nie net was die ekonomiese modelle waarop die verslag gebaseer is, onvanpas vir ’n projek soos skaliegas nie, maar daar is staatgemaak op modelle wat bloot enige ekonomiese voordele vermenigvuldig.

In die verslag is geen poging aangewend om die kostes te beraam wat jý, die belastingbetaler, sal moet dra nie: die herstel van die paaie, die behandeling van siek mense, watervoorsiening aan gemeenskappe (soos in Carolina in Mpumalanga, of Beaufort-Wes in die Karoo), of om onderhoud weens werkverlies in die landbou- en die toerisme-sektor te verskaf.

Die waarheid oor skaliegas-boorgate is dat hulle slegs ’n paar jaar aktief is en dat ’n menigte binne die eerste jaar ongeveer 70% van hul gaslewering verloor.

Nadat die gas ontgin is, bly die gevaarlike chemikalieë bo en onder die grond.

Wat van openlikheid, eerlikheid en deursigtigheid?

Shell beweer dit ís hoe hy dit doen. In 2011 en 2012, terwyl Shell aan Suid-Afrika verkondig het hoe voorbeeldig hy is en hoe die maatskappy ’n wêreldleier in standaarde is, het staatsdepartemente en -agentskappe vir omgewingsoortredings in die VSA op dieselfde tydstip grondwaterbesoedeling by hul skaliegasboorgate uitgewys.

Toe hy gekonfronteer is met die oortredings in die VSA, het Jan-Willem Eggink van Shell Suid-Afrika, dieselfde man wat ’n “ekologiese voorbeeld van die Karoo” wil maak, gesê dat die oortredings “administratief van aard” was.

Dit is nie korrek nie. Uit die 37 oortredings van Shell Western Exploration and Production (Swepi) was net vier “administratief”.

’n Oorsig oor die oorblywende oortredings behels vyf gevalle waar Shell toegelaat het dat besoedelende stowwe waterbronne binnedring, tien gevalle waar boorgate verlaat is sonder dat dit verseël is, ’n geval van grondwaterbesoedeling waar vloeistowwe van dieper formasies toegelaat is om grondwater binne te dring, asook drie gevalle van die onvoldoende berging, hantering en storting van die afvalwater van die hidrobrekingsproses.

En dít is die maatskappy wat sweer dat hy ’n wêreldleier is? Die een wat belowe dat hy “die Karoo beter sal agterlaat as wat hy dit gekry het”, die een wat “die Karoo met meer water sal agterlaat as wat daar voor hidrobreking was”? Die maatskappye wat nie bewus is van enige geval van grondwaterbesoedeling weens hidrobreking nie – maar ook die einste maatskappy is wat water in Pennsilvanië besoedel het, waarna ’n gesin hul huis moes agterlaat en trek?

As dít die wêreldleier is, dieselfde een wat die power resultate in Nigerië behaal het, wat kan ons verwag van die Bundu’s, die Falcons, die Sungu-Sungu’s, Cairn Energy, Rhino en die ander wat kan volg?

Skaliegas is dalk wel ’n game changer in Suid-Afrika, maar slegs Shell en ’n paar sakemanne sal in die wenspan wees.

Jonathan Deal is die uitvoerende hoof van die Treasure Karoo Action Group.

 

Colorado cities’ fracking bans could be canary in a coal mine


Yet SA pro-frackers are like a ‘turkey looking forward to thanksgiving’ in their rush to get gas out of the Karoo

The Colorado vote, happening in a state with a long history of energy development, was a trial of whether the oil and gas industry could overcome passionate opposition to the drilling practice that’s helped create an American energy boom.

Voters in Fort Collins and Boulder banned hydraulic fracturing — fracking — for at least the next five years, while a prohibition on all new oil and gas wells passed in Lafayette. A fracking ban in Broomfield fell just 13 votes short, and a recount is likely. Advocates of banning the drilling process argue it is a threat to air and water.

Natural Resources Defense Council spokeswoman Kate Sinding said she expects local anti-fracking ballot efforts to continue to spread.

“It’s already bubbling up in California,” she said.

California is home to the largely undeveloped Monterey Shale, which is potentially the richest oil shale formation in North America and lies under the agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley. Other states with limited fracking experience could also see multiplying wells. New York state is debating whether to start allowing fracking. North Carolina is on course toward dropping its fracking moratorium.

Fracking, in which high-pressure water and chemicals are pumped underground to break shale rock and release the oil and gas trapped inside, has created a drilling boom across the country. Colorado saw its crude oil production spike 64 percent in four years and its natural gas production rise 27 percent.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association spent nearly a million dollars on a campaign against the proposed fracking bans, dwarfing the spending on the anti-fracking side. Tisha Schuller, president of the oil and gas trade association, said such bans are shortsighted and the industry is being wrongly painted as a villain.

“If I thought that something was going to poison my children I would be scared to death, and I’d be at the meeting, too, with a sign,” Schuller said. “In many, many cases they’ve been given misinformation.”

The energy boom is bringing money and jobs to Colorado, and the industry has influential allies. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and a former Denver mayor, insists that cities don’t have the power to ban fracking. Hickenlooper is suing to overturn the city of Longmont’s fracking ban, which passed with 60 percent voter support a year ago.

“The state government is hellbent on making Colorado an extraction colony,” said Rod Brueske, who lives near Longmont.

Brueske’s farmhouse is surrounded by golden barley and enjoys a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains, with the iconic Pikes Peak visible on a clear day. It would look like a Coors beer commercial if not for the oil and gas wells.

Brueske said members of his family had uncontrollable nosebleeds, migraine headaches and gastrointestinal problems after wells were drilled near his property. He complained of foul-smelling air to state regulators, who discovered a wellhead leak and an emissions control device not big enough to handle vapors.

Activists now plan to seek a statewide fracking ban in Colorado. The local bans so far have centered along the Front Range, which includes the most populous cities in the state and lies east of the Rocky Mountains.

There tends to be more support for drilling on the less populated western slope, where a fracking ban could be a tough sell.

“It’s a different mentality here than in Aspen or Boulder. This is a working community,” said Howard Orona, an assistant manager at the Clark’s Market Store in Battlement Mesa and a member of the county energy advisory board.

Orona said oil and gas workers make their homes in the area and care about keeping it clean.

But accidents happen. Orona lives along Parachute Creek, contaminated earlier this year with benzene and other cheicals following a natural gas pipeline spill. Sonny Lindauer, who also lives along the creek, said oil and gas companies shouldn’t have the right to affect people’s homes by introducing odor and noise.

“I know they need the natural gas. I wouldn’t object if they were honest and did it right,” said Lindauer’s wife, Ruth. “But a lot of it is sloppiness and a lot of it is lying.”

Schuller of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association said the industry is continuing to improve. Schuller said most Colorado towns live in harmony with oil and gas development, and people need energy.

“We need to take away this good guy/bad guy label and instead engage in ‘I need it, we all want it, we’re going to use it, so where are we going to get it and how are we going to do it well,’ ” Schuller said.