The biggest gas drilling plan yet for Green River Basin

Encana could add 3,500 gas wells SW of Pinedale, WY-

Already reeling from the massive Jonah gas field, now a new field covering 4 times as much area is planned.  The “Normally Pressured Lance” natural gas field” (Son of Jonah, as some call it) comes at a time when the formerly pristine air of the Green River Basin has wintertime air so dirty it violates the standards.

Encana project could add 3,500 gas wells in Wyo. Mead Gruver, Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to asked how new drilling of this huge magnitude can be done until the agency can be sure the residents are being protected from the activities that are already underway.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council has a story on the project too (and a map). Agency needs to protect the residents of the Upper Green River Valley. By Bruce Pendery

Wide-Ranging Ethics Scandal Emerges at Interior Dept.

So, is this what “drill, baby drill” means? 😉

As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.”

“Wide-Ranging Ethics Scandal Emerges at Interior Dept. By Charlie Savage. New York Times.

more Allred responds to Interior ethics scandal. Boise Weekly.

Stephen Allred is the former Idaho Department of Environmental Quality director. Kempthorne took him to Washington and made him head of the Land, Minerals and Management Bureau

A Push to Wrest More Oil From Land, but Most New Wells Are for Natural Gas

John McCain and friends are banking this issue to save them, but there is so much they don’t know (or more likely chose not to mention).

This is another. Most of the drilling is for gas, not petroleum.

A Push to Wrest More Oil From Land, but Most New Wells Are for Natural Gas. By Felicity Barranger. New York Times.

Regarding domestic discoveries of oil, those who think new petroleum discoveries in the U.S. will bring down the price of gasoline, they should read this article five times and post it on their wall.

Editorial: Offshore Oil Drilling Fixes Nothing

CBS News. Editorial: Offshore Oil Drilling Fixes Nothing.

CBS News goes through the economic and environmental arguments for drilling protected areas as any sort of a solution to energy woes.

In my view, this proposal which emerged suddenly (meaning it was politically carefully planned) shows that McCain and the Republicans have no idea how to deal with the energy problem, but are willing to appeal to peoples’ tendency for magical or wishful thinking that a problem years in the making has a simple, easy and quick solution.

During the 1970s energy crisis, President Ford announced “Project Independence” which would make the United States 100% free or foreign sources of energy in a decade using coal, drilling for oil and oil shale. Of course it was an utter failure. Now McCain and the Republicans reach back to the failed policy of 36 years ago.

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Upper Green River Valley air pollution blamed on drilling industry

Here is more on the striking decline in air quality in the Pinedale, Wyoming area.

Pollution blamed on drilling industry.
Associated Press

More on May 12. Once-idyllic Pinedale is ground zero in debate over energy quest, quality of life
By Brandon Griggs. The Salt Lake Tribune

Sublette County, Wyoming – A peaceful protest on the Pinedale Anticline

In a county that as gone from just a few gas well to one with more wells than residents, there is a protest demonstration scheduled today, Sunday.

The Casper Star Tribune reports that a “retired high school science teacher Elaine Crumpley has helped organize what she’s calling a ‘peaceful protest.’ ” It will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Pinedale Anticline, the hill on top of the gas rich geological structure just west of the town of Pinedale.  The protest is to call attention to the proposed gas-field development plan.

Drilling on the Anticline and nearby fields, such as the huge Jonah gas field, has brought standard breaking ozone air pollution and the resulting smog, disruption of wildlife, and damage to ten of thousands of acres of high desert to the formerly scenic upper Green River valley.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Chris Merrill.

Drilling operations reshape Colorado’s landscape

Drilling operations reshape landscape. By Todd Hartman, Rocky Mountain News

Drilling and production are also reshaping Wyoming (the most), Utah, New Mexico, and soon, Montana, and North Dakota. All attempts in Congress so far to tighten up the the drilling have failed. In fact, they were dropped from the recent massive energy bill to try to gather one more vote, that of Domenici of New Mexico. Bush says he will veto the bill anyway.

Two Colorado House members put BLM on notice about Roan Plateau plans. By Bobby MaGill. Grand Junction Sentinel.

National Geographic (photos) on drilling the Roan Plateau.

Skytruth looks at the Roan Plateau. 

Democrats drop drilling restrictions from energy bill

This energy bill keeps getting worse. This concession is certainly bad news for many ranchers who own what is called “split estate” land as well making sure the more sensitive parts of public lands are not drilled.

I don’t like the emphasis on renewables as written because much of this is corn ethanol which isn’t really a renewable, and produces little net energy and a lot of erosion while raising the price of all foods. There needs to be much more emphasis on energy efficiency, which is often the least cost source of new energy and the most benign.

The concession is to attract the support of Republican Pete Domenici, who is retiring next year due to a brain disorder. He will probably be replaced by a conservation-minded senator (Udall). Perhaps it would be better to wait for a bigger Democrat majority and new President.

Democrats drop drilling restrictions from energy bill. Casper Star Tribune.

Update: Corn prices have doubled as ethanol production has soared. Protests from livestock and food makers resulted in an amendment to order no more than 15-billion gallons of the energy-intensive fuel. The other 21 billion gallons of ethanol are supposed to come from “cellulosic” sources like switchgrass and wood chips by 2022. It is not clear yet how to economically convert cellulose into alcohol. Maybe the termites can teach us. 

Bush has now said he will veto.