Welcome to Habitat For Horses!|Monday, December 22, 2014

BLM can’t keep up with new oil wells 

The mailbox of New Castle, Colo., resident Joann Aramillo stands a few hundred yards from an oil and gas rig on a well pad. Four in 10 high-priority oil and gas wells are not checked by BLM, the Associated Press says. (Brennan Linsley/The Associated Press)

You may wonder what new leases for oil wells and fracking have to do with horses. In May 2014, of the 193 parcels recommended to be up for auction for new oil leases, 14 of them overlap with two important wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Drilling for oil is very disruptive to the wild life in the regions it happens. And as we have mentioned before, fracking uses an enormous amount of water from the area its done in, drying up creeks and water holes vital to wild horses and other wild life. The new oil boom needs to be managed in order not to destroy public land – and as this article points out – that is exactly what is NOT happening. ~ HfH

From: Albuquerque Journal
By: Hope Yen and Thomas Peipert / The Associated Press

The mailbox of New Castle, Colo., resident Joann Aramillo stands a few hundred yards from an oil and gas rig on a well pad. Four in 10 high-priority oil and gas wells are not checked by BLM, the Associated Press says. (Brennan Linsley/The Associated Press)

The mailbox of New Castle, Colo., resident Joann Aramillo stands a few hundred yards from an oil and gas rig on a well pad. Four in 10 high-priority oil and gas wells are not checked by BLM, the Associated Press says. (Brennan Linsley/The Associated Press)

NEW CASTLE, Colo. – Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America’s drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks.

Roughly half or more of wells on federal and Indian lands weren’t checked in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, despite potential harm that has led to efforts in some communities to ban new drilling.

In New Castle, a tiny Colorado River valley community, homeowners expressed chagrin at the large number of uninspected wells, many on federal land, that dot the steep hillsides and rocky landscape. Like elsewhere in the West, water is a precious commodity in this Colorado town, and some residents worry about the potential health hazards of any leaks from wells and drilling.

“Nobody wants to live by an oil rig. We surely didn’t want to,” said Joann Jaramillo, 54.

About 250 yards up the hill from Jaramillo’s home, on land that was a dormant gravel pit when she bought the house eight years ago, is an active drilling operation that operates every day from 7 a.m. until sometimes 10:30 p.m. Jaramillo said the drilling began about three years ago.

Even if the wells were inspected, she questioned whether that would ensure their safety. She said many view the oil and gas industry as self-policing and nontransparent.

“Who are they going to report to?” she asked.

Government data obtained by the AP point to the Bureau of Land Management as so overwhelmed by a boom in a new drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that it has been unable to keep up with inspections of some of the highest-priority wells. That’s an agency designation based on a greater need to protect against possible water contamination and other environmental and safety issues.

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