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Political tension a constant companion to Utah's oil and gas fields

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  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Jan. 13, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    Natural resources won't go to waste if they sit there for a few decades or even centuries.

    So what's the urgency in exploiting all those natural resources now?

    It seems to me that Utah's self-described Conservatives are not really very conservative. What's so conservative about mindlessly, ruthlessly, and hurriedly exploiting every last natural resource in Utah as fast as possible.

    Whatever happened to securing "the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?"

    It sounds to me like short-sighted Utah Conservatives are more interested in profiting immediately and then letting their children and grandchildren deal with the clean up.

  • Bruce A. Frank San Jose, CA
    Jan. 13, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    Actually, fracking IS NOT a new process. It has been employed for over 40 years. The technology has improved significantly, but the test of time shows that claims of "potential" damage is a tactic by the anti-humanity/Gaea-worshiping crowd with NO basis in facts. Heck, even Obama's EPA, as much as they want to discredit the practice, in study after study can find no threats to water, air, or ground stability.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 4:48 p.m.

    Why is everything all or nothing with conservatives.
    No alternatives until we burn up all known fossil fuels first.
    If you drive a car, you should worship the oil companies?
    How about trying to conserve something conservatives, beside the wealthy folks, wealth.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Jan. 13, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    Re: the headline, the answer is probably "Both."

    The question becomes how much protection is cost-effective. And that's a question that most people will never bother asking.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Jan. 13, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    Fracking has not been proven to affect groundwater.
    The majority of these fracked wells are 2 miles below the surface, and the shale is a confining layer, so even if it is fractured does not mean it will break out of the confining layer.
    Fracking is also a new practice, hydrologically speaking fluids move up to a feet per day (that is an incredibly fast ground fluid rate) so it will take decades before contamination appears. Unless the well is improperly constructed without the proper seal.
    Hydrocarbons do come to the surface in a few places. I heard from a group of PhD geologists that hydrocarbons come to the surface in the Uintah Basin and therefore have affected any groudnwater.
    Ground Water contamination is a lot more likely to occur from pharmaceutical companies than the practice of fracking.
    I support alternative forms of energy, but don't blame everything on fracking.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 13, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    To "ingslc" so then you admit that we don't have the technology currently to change the power source that provides us with heat, electricity, fuel for our vehicles, etc.. We may be 10 to 15 years away from a new power source, so why limit what we have now? Even if a new source was put on the market tomorrow, it would still take a long time before it is fully adopted. Just like cell phones and mobile internet.

    My question wasn't about the future. My question was what is there right now to replace fossil fuels? Why keep pushing a power source that is not only highly inefficient, but is very unpredictable in its output? We can also discuss the fact that solar panels require highly toxic materials that are mined in 3rd world nations.

  • JNA Layton, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    It is my opinion that every environmentalist and person on this post who is against drilling should have all power and other energy sources turned off from their homes then they can feel all good and cuddly. Solar,wind, etc are a major waste of time and money. I choose oil, I choose coal.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    Gail, no research has ever said Fracking taints groundwater. There is on-going research, but nothing conclusive as of yet. I did see one last week that says it doesn't however.

    Nice use of the envirofreak talking points. Nuclear, BAD! Fracking, BAD!

    Now get in your car and drive to Wendover and gamble a little to bleed off the stress. Remember, you are using fossil fuels in the process.

  • jcobabe Provo, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    The biggest problem is not resource exploitation, it is compromise with conservation efforts. After a 2,000 year-old tree is chopped down, when will it ever be replaced? No technology however advanced can put back the things that are being taken away. Developing resources is undoubtedly a good thing, but consideration must be made for the down-side issues before acting. Such decisions have long-lasting consequences and probably can never be undone. We must discover a reasonable balance. Before it is too late.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    @Redshirt:
    Even just 10 or 15 years ago, did any of us ever imagine that most of us would be carrying the internet around with us in our back pockets? That you could make calls from anywhere with the same device we use for listening to music, taking photos, researching term papers? When I was in college, you actually had to walk to the library and turn paper pages in real books to research, and if you wanted a picture, you took your roll of film to the drug store to get developed (and I"m not even 40 years old!) Don't dismiss alternative energy just because you or I haven't invented a battery capable of storing surpluses to be used at night. Did our early settlers here understand all the problems they would encounter in search of a better life?? of course not. The pioneering spirit is about forging ahead to a better future and inventing things as needed. But currently our state and our industries stamp out that spirit at every turn because they fear becoming obsolete. So we pamper and coddle old technologies and slowly smother in the smog.

  • Gail Fitches Layton, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    What is missing in this article are the facts. Are they considering Nuclear Energy, when 75% of the Nuclear Plants in the US are leaking, that destroys the land forever? Are they considering Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) that poisons the ground water? I am not against coal, until they can find environmental friendly energy, but in order to save us, we must stay away from Nuclear and Fracking. Read what Shell has done to other parts of our country. They still do not address the real causes of air quality problems, which I believe a lot of it is caused from the experimental weather modification programs, with one being the North American Weather Modification out of Sandy, Utah. What do we really have, if we do not have our health? What happened to the cleanup for uranium in our state? Did that destroy that land forever? These politicians need to look at possible health effects down the line, and also look at Shell's history in other states.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    This contention has an economic and cultural sub currant. Most so-called environmentalists have employment which is not directly dependent on the private sector economy. Therefore, they really couldn't care less if the other fellows ox gets gored. Residents in small towns and rural counties need the jobs; many of them have been living on "lean rations" for a long time. A little reason and empathy would go a long way here, but I doubt it will come to pass as long as there is a large "overhead" economy that fosters unrealistic expectations about the environment and its relationship to energy development and use.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    To "ingslc" how well do those solar panels work at night? How about during a snow storm, rain, or foggy day?

    What viable alternative do we have to oil? Right now the only viable alternative is nuclear power, and that is blocked by environmentalists too.

    Tell us, how to live if you cut off the prime source of fuel?

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    Drill Baby Drill is still sounds good to me. If the USA can develop enough energy the middle east can starve to death. We won't have to send any more of our fine young people to fight their stupid tribal wars. I worked in an oil refinery in southern California, and yes its dirty smelly work but the pay is good and they are doing everything they can to improve the environment. Send the Sierra Club back west of the high Sierras and let them try to develop Obama fuel, but not with my money.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    Do we really want to go back to being an "extractive industry" state? Do we want our kids pushed into thousands of dirty, unskilled jobs? Do we want the boom-n-bust economic climate? Do we want to destroy the fragile landscape of Utah that feeds a highly sustainable tourist industry. Or do we want to build a clean, high-tech future based on renewable resources? I vote for the latter.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    D&C 104:17 so get out of the way and drill baby, drill!

  • goodnight-goodluck S.L.C., UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    seems the good governor could ask the legislature to raise the severance tax comparable to surrounding states. but ooooh that would be bad for business.

    so let us take it all back from the evil federal gubmint and make $$ from it.

    just remember boys and girls you may ony sell it once, and no one will want to look at it when it has four gas wells per square mile.

    jmho better to invest the $$ we currently give away as handouts to the fossil fuel industries, in clean solar and wind energy developments in the west deserts.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    God also gave us the sun - an energy source which literally falls out of the sky on top of us. God gave us all of creation and not caring for it properly is really what throwing gifts in His face looks like. People believe in God and country, AND the old pioneer values of thrift, waste not want not, cleanliness is next to Godliness. Utah is faced with a choice - renew its pioneering spirit by forging ahead of the pack and becoming a leader in renewable, clean energy (where the future lies), or it can attempt to wring a few last dollars out of an outdated, last century business model of digging and burning and polluting. I'm sure lots of folks thought walking over the Rockies and making the desert bloom was impossible, but our forebears did it. Will we continue in that spirit as we decide our future? Or will we choose to burn every last drop of fossil fuel until no one can breathe and every beautiful place has been dug up and destroyed? Which legacy will we leave our descendents?

  • Doug10 Roosevelt, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    I used to be an entrenched member of the drill baby drill team, then I haveseen what oil companies do in their epic pursuit of oil.

    Currently a drill rig is 18 feet from one houses yard. Drilling time is 60 days. That is 60 days of 24 hours a day with trucks coming and going, machines revving, pipes clanking, exhaust fumes from equipment. Additionally there are semi trucks, water trucks, equipment trucks, pickup trucks. People all hours of day and night, hollering, hammering, making a ruckus.

    At the end of the 60 days this equipment gets moved off with increased truck traffic again and the next crews move in to take the well to production stage.

    The Basin provides the recreation area for many sportsmen from Wasatch Front but in this instance the deer herd that winters where the drill rig is sitting is wintering elsewhere this year as is the elk herd that used to pass through on a weekly basis is passing elsewhere.

    The oil company is drilling their hole next to that home because the people who live there did not own the adjacent land. For the next 30 years they will have a noisy, smelly and obnoxious neighbor.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Until there is some sort of public trust set up to tax the resources extruded from the soil to ensure current and future generations of Utahn's benefit from the environmental exploitation, and not just the private companies, no action should be taken.

  • deserthound Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    Most of the comments so far are as one can expect from DNews readers. Looking at the world through the vacuum lens of Utah and only Utah. Energy policy and activity no matter where it is occurring affects everyone. If you don't think air quality along the Wasatch Front is affected by what is coming out of the Uinta Basin, you must have blinders on. Massive amounts of refinery emissions and planned expansions, massive amounts of big tanker trucks coming in and out every day, etc. We've had three major pipeline spills along the Wasatch in the last five years. More are sure to happen, along with truck accidents on the freeways, and more spills. And yes, it will run out. And the states who have diversified their energy portfolio will be okay, while states like Utah will suffer. One day the Uinta Basin will be a spoiled wasteland with no economy and the county commissioners and the conservative legislature will be asking Uncle Sam for financial help. The make a mistake is human. To repeat those mistakes is the mark of fool. And we have plenty of fools in state and certain county leadership positions.

  • Buzzards LEHI, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    There are places in Utah that we should leave alone, despite the resources that may lie beneath them. If we were talking about drilling in Arches, or Canyonlands, or the High Uintas, I'd be right beside the Sierra Club folks. But we are not. We are talking about Vernal. Nothing against these fine folks in the Uinta Basin, but have you ever even been to Vernal? Not exactly the garden spot of Utah. In fact, it reminds me a lot of North Dakota. A great place to go get the oil that our country, and even the Sierra Club types need. (They park a Chevy Volt in the driveway, but trust me, there is a Jeep in the garage).

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    "It is a huge mistake for Utah and the country in terms of where it should be going," he said. "At some point it is going to run out."

    Nice try. The Sierra Club is referring to Peak Oil, a concept which has already been proved to be false. The truth is, there is no oil "peak" but instead an oil "plateau" which began in the mid 90's and continues today and for the foreseeable future.

  • tophat utah, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    I assume that Tim Wagner walked to work and for other trips? Does he think his car will run on magic?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    What is interesting, is that the State of California environmentalists have the Delta power production site, utilizing coal, which they consider the worst of pollution. They want their cake and eat it too. They appear to be arbitrary and capricious on their own agenda. They want to be the last person to move in and don't let anyone else want the benefit of this land that was given for man to benefit from. The creation process brought various forms of energy and not the exclusion of one of those sources. There is a balance due to public interest but one of those sides wants all or nothing. It is sad that it appears to be political with Washington, D.C. in control and not the balance for the good of the people. There is a balance and the government is not serving the people. People complain about lobbyists but there is so much political in that hip pocket type of process that the society is on a binge from PACs, lobbyists, and special interests instead of for the people the Government is supposed to be supporting. Money = power along with politics of individuals, not the people as a whole.

  • leavingRparty boise, ID
    Jan. 13, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Most Utahn's believe in God and Country, in that order. God gave us this country and the endowed state of Utah. He also gave us the rich resources such as oil, gas, coal. Not to use them is throwing his gifts in His face. Of course land reclamation and cleaning up after ourselves is imperitive and there are laws governing those. Eastern Utah, yes, but also Southeastern Utah, would give upward mobility to to smaller communities as well. And while I am at it: I laugh when I see documentaries with a lone man on a horse (with a camera crew behind him) exclaiming how imperative it is that he ride his horse into pristene lands where he doesn't see another living soul. Utmost selfishness! The ultra wealthy who have hundreds of acres to himself can also rail against coal production in Carbon County.

  • Beowulf Portland, OR
    Jan. 13, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    Isn't it interesting that the Sierra Club person interviewed did not say anything about the possibility of local environmental dislocation caused by oil extraction. Instead he bssically said that oil and gas IN ITSELF is bad. This is reckless nonsense that ignores the reality of a world economy fueled by fossil fuels.

    Does the Sierra Club person drive a car? Does he heat his home? What are we supposed to do until alternative energy sources become viable, walk around and freeze to death?

    Don't let such people steer Utah resource extraction. They have already succeeded in California, where vast oil reserves exist offshore, but cannot be accessed because of the Sierra Club and such people.

  • sherlock holmes Eastern, UT
    Jan. 12, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    Count this article a win for the enviros. Front page picture of an office in SALT LAKE with a lawyer-like person sitting in it.

    The political tension discussed is in the large cities. Rural legislators and officials know who to make decisions and manage affairs in their areas. If the big city folks would stay out of it, things would happen just fine. Basin officials spend too much of their time trying to get $$ that are needed back into their communities. The dollars they are chasing seem to get stuck in SLC. The irony is that the $$ they are trying to get are energy revenues actually generated from their own counties.

    This is not to say that Gov Herbert has not been supportive. Local officials have appreciated the attention he has given to rural issues.

    Still, we wish the SLC enviros would stick with trying to get the air cleaner along the Wasatch Front(a audible objective) and let rural communities alone.