Wave of the future

For those people who believe that renewable energy is not the wave of the future and will solve our energy problems from now on, you're like the dinosaurs.

With all the negativity in our social climate, would the TC Line consider making Thanksgiving week or Christmas week, or both, limited to comments reflecting what we are grateful for in our lives.

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Resilient St. Vrain Project Wins Sustainability Award

The first two completed reaches of the City of Longmont’s Resilient St. Vrain project have been selected as the 2018 winner of the “Sustainability” award for a large community given out by the Colorado chapter of the American Public Works Association (CO APWA).

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Debunking the gas industry’s pitch

Does unrestrained drilling really lead to the promised tens of thousands of new jobs and energy independence?

Marketing is a tough job, particularly when you’re trying to push something that most people don’t really want, say, for instance, a giant natural gas production platform stuck right in the middle of a neighborhood or next to a school or maybe even in someone’s backyard, provided the yard is big enough.

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Inspector Shortage in Colorado Oil Fields Sparks Concerns

The oil drilling boom along Colorado’s Front Range is generating a lot of tax revenue for cash-strapped governments. But it’s also putting a strain on state regulators whose job it is to make sure all the drilling and well sites aren’t polluting.


Loveland approves drilling moratorium

Residents of the Centerra neighborhoods in east Loveland, and others in the city core, got the time they asked for on Tuesday night with the City Council putting the brakes on new petroleum development in the city for nine months.An emergency moratorium on the processing of any new permits or approvals for natural gas and oil drilling operations within Loveland took effect shortly after 9 p.m. with the required six councilors voting in favor of the measure that will remain in effect until Feb. 16.

During that time, the city will undertake a study of the potential impacts of gas and oil exploration and production, the city’s current zoning structures, Loveland’s legal standing as a regulator of the industry, and the drafting of new zoning and land use rules.


Mark Ruffalo: Erie mothers battle to stop drilling

By Mark Ruffalo, denverpost.com

Every day, mothers take hundreds of little actions to keep their children out of harm’s way, from steering them away from traffic to keeping toxic household cleaners out of reach. When you add it all up, it’s a heroic body of work.

But every once in awhile, mothers will do something so extraordinary to ensure the safety of their children that it alters the way we think about our world. Four mothers in Erie, Colo., are attempting to accomplish just that, and in doing so they will help expose the truth about natural gas.

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Longmont’s new oil/gas rules still too strict say state, COGA

By Scott Rochat, Longmont Times-Call

LONGMONT — Longmont’s proposed oil and gas rules drew a simple response from the industry and the state: You don’t want them, you don’t need them and you can’t enforce them.

Letters released Tuesday from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office urged the city to drop some or all of its new rules. COGA, an industry group, called the regulations “unnecessary and overreaching,” arguing that the existing state system already protects local interests.


Moderate Your Power Bills

By and large, most water heaters work silently behind the scenes. They heat water to the desired levels. They also provide you with hot water whenever you need it. However, have you ever considered the cost of using a water heater indiscriminately? After all, pulling in water and heating requires sufficient levels of energy. The energy consumed each time you switch on the heater reflects in a few statements on your power bill.

According to Energy Star, the heating and cooling systems in houses usually account for 46% of your power bill. Water heaters occupy the next rung with 14% in terms of energy consumed. Hence, it can be worthwhile choosing your water heater with some planning and method. Its utility value remains unquestioned. Further, it could yield a considerable amount of saving on your power bill, month after month.

Most markets will usually have the following water heating technologies:

  • Tank or Storage: These heat water contained within an insulated tank. The thermostats present in these heaters automatically switch off the heating element once the water heats to desired temperature.
  • Instantaneous: These heaters heat a continuous stream of cold water on demand. Since they do not have tanks for storing water, these heaters do not lose heat when on standby. However, they do require large amounts of energy for heating water at a faster rate.
  • Solar: These utilize the sun’s energy for pre-heating cold water before channeling the water to a conventional water heater. Solar panels placed on the roof store energy from the sun. They transfer this energy to an antifreeze loop, which heats the water through a heat exchanger.

A little thought given to the type of water heater you need could well prove to be beneficial and economical, it could help you find the heater that best meets your requirements. Of course, the technology behind heaters is complicated compared to smaller products like space heaters, but that only means you need to give it more thought.

Some typical pointers to consider when buying a water heater include:

  • Estimate your hot water consumption per day especially at peak times. Buy a water heater that meets this demand. The first hour rating of the heater will usually be a good idea to assess this.
  • Buy a water heater that corresponds to the number of people living in the house. It could reduce your power consumption and expenses.
  • Read the Energy Guide labels on the water heaters to check the first hour rating, operating costs and relative efficiency.
  • Consider the fuel you use for heating your home. Buying a water heater that works on the fuel you use normally will be more economical in the long run.
  • Consider the Energy Factor listed on the heater. A water heater with a higher Energy Factor will be more efficient. Conventional water heaters will usually have an Energy Factor of 0.6 and above. However, this will be useful in comparing gas water heaters only. Electric water heaters will have a reading of 0.9 and above. However, they do not take into account any energy losses that may occur during generation or distribution.
  • Buy water heaters that feature the Energy Star logo on them, testifying to their efficiency.
  • In electric water heaters, try and go for a heat pump water heater. It will be more efficient than electric storage water heaters or those models that do not have tanks to store water.

A well researched purchase could save you from the regret of having bought a model that works out to be way over your budget. Efficient water heaters not only consume less power, they also fulfil all your requirements. However, you will only see that difference when you receive your power bill.

St. Vrain Valley Voices: Fracking makes world go ’round

At last! I’ve attempted to finalize and send this fracking column since November, but other topics kept grabbing my heart: Al Again, Sears, stories, songs, “Quarterback heartbreak” and so on, and thank you Dean Lehman and Times-Call for allowing me to speak my mind and my heart on your Opinion Page, and thank you Rob Spencer for your skillful, light-handed, considerate editing.


Boulder County commissioners extend oil and gas drilling moratorium (VIDEO)

By John Fryar Longmont Times-Calltimescall.com
Posted:   04/16/2012 05:29:12 PM MDT

BOULDER — Boulder County’s temporary moratorium on accepting and processing applications to drill for oil and gas in unincorporated parts of the county will remain in place through Feb. 4, 2013, county commissioners decided Monday.

On Feb. 2, the commissioners enacted a six-month drilling-permit moratorium that was set to expire on Aug. 2.

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Longmont looks at drilling suggestions

 City avoids new rules to comply with state law

By Scott Rochat Longmont Times-Call timescall.com
Posted:   04/17/2012 12:44:27 AM MDT
LONGMONT — A new draft of oil and gas rules will be on the table Tuesday — and this one has fewer “thou shalt nots.”

The draft before the City Council removes a ban on waste disposal facilities inside city limits, makes closed-loop systems a recommended instead of a required option for drillers, and cuts out a recommendation to use “green” fracking fluids.

According to city officials, most changes were made to avoid clashes with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state’s regulatory body.

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Fracking debate gets federal attention in Erie

Video of News Coverage, Fox 31, Denver
Posted on: 11:01 pm, March 14, 2012, by Tammy Vigil


ERIE, Colo. — The controversial natural gas drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing in Colorado is getting some attention at the federal level.

Congressman Jared Polis visited with some Erie residents about their concerns over the safety of fracking.

Last week, Erie enacted an immediate six-month moratorium on new gas drill permits.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study said the propane levels in the air in Erie are worse than in Los Angeles and Houston.

It’s the air and a host of other issues that brought out Congressman Jared Polis to talk to residents.

“This oil and gas has been under the ground for millions of years. They need to take a time out and show me scientific proof this is safe," says Boulder County resident Rod Brueske.

He and his family moved to the country from Denver a year ago, for the fresh air, a slower pace and better quality of life for his kids.

It’s bad. You breathe like fumes and stuff," says his 5-year-old son.

But Brueske fears fracking will ruin all of it.

Fracking pumps water and chemicals underground at high pressure to crack rock and release oil and natural gas.

“It’s a threat to my family’s dream. Ooh," he says as he staves off tears. “It’s a threat to our health and safety. And you can’t put a price on somebody’s dream. You can’t put a price tag on health," he says.

It’s those fracking fears bringing Polis to visit Brueske and others whose homes are about 100 feet from a completed mining site.

Thick, blackish smoke poured out of it last summer.

It’s clearer now. But some say it is still potentially dangerous.

“Those hydrocarbon vapors are poisonous fumes, that as you can tell, the wind is blowing toward us and blowing toward homes only 100 feet away," says Shane Davis of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Sierra Club.

Mothers are worried.

“So they breathe this here at home. Then they go to school. There’s no escape for these kids; there’s no escape," says April Beach, a mother of three boys. She says one of them developed asthma after the well was finished.

Polis is sympathetic to families who say they didn’t move here for city-like problems.

“You shouldn’t have to have fracking in your backyard. Colorado is wide open. The country is wide open. There are huge tracks of land where it’s not 300 feet from a daycare center or backyard," says Polis.

The Democratic Congressman from Boulder has introduced two fracking bills–both would require oil and gas companies to abide by the federal Clean Air and Safe Water Act.

And he’s still drafting another requiring fracking be a certain distance from daycares and schools.

The oil and gas industry insists fracking is safe. It claims it follows numerous state and federal regulations.

Longmont Drilling Questionnaire Says Stop!

An online questionnaire among citizens about the current drilling plans not surprisingly ended in a request to lessen the drillings. Financial arguments should be set aside and human interest should prevail.

Ridiculously high levels of NMHCs in Erie’s Air

“…especially the alkanes"  Were the exact words published regarding the air in Erie, CO in a NOAA/Appalachian State University report published Sept. 2, 2011 and conducted Feb-Mar 2011.

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