Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kansas seeks to beef up budget to deal with fracking

January 29, 2012


— The Kansas Corporation Commission, the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry in the state, says it doesn’t have the necessary staff to inspect the growing number of oil and gas drilling sites involving horizontal fracturing, or fracking.

“Current staffing resources cannot adequately and timely perform necessary field inspections with this increase level of activity,” the KCC said in its budget request for 2013.

The KCC said that since 2009 when the first horizontal wells were drilled in Kansas, the state has seen a 300 percent increase in permits for such wells. The number of permits the state has issued for horizontally fracked wells has gone from eight in 2010, to 250 estimated for fiscal year 2012 and 500 estimated for fiscal year 2013, according to the KCC.

While most of the recent fracking activity has been in south-central and western Kansas, the KCC also said the drilling has been moving northward and includes counties “as far north as McPherson County.”

The agency also raised concerns about being able to adequately inspect waste water generated by fracking, which has developed considerably and grown in popularity around the country in the last decade. The method involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the well to open cracks and help oil and gas flow to the surface.

Horizontal fracking has also drawn the attention of environmental groups that question whether the method contaminates groundwater. Oil and gas companies that use fracking have said the method is safe.

The Environmental Protection Agency has begun a study of fracking and said recently it found a possible link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater pollution in a central Wyoming town. The EPA said the findings from that study are specific to that town, Pavillion, Wyo. Calgary, Alberta-based Encana, which owns that Wyoming gas field, also said the compounds could have had other origins not related to gas development.

“Horizontal wells will require more frequent drilling rig on site inspections ... to ensure correlative rights and fresh and usable waters of the state are protected,” the KCC budget request said. “In addition, horizontal wells require larger drilling pits that need to be inspected and more waste drilling fluid. Also when wells are brought into production, each will produce more saltwater for disposal, meaning more new disposal wells to be permitted and tested.”

Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed dedicating more than $500,000 in the state budget to help the KCC deal with the increase of fracking.

“Due to the increased level of activity, current staff at the KCC are unable to perform the necessary field inspections,” the governor’s 2013 budget proposal says.

In the proposed budget, Brownback recommended adding $519,977 from the KCC’s conservation fee fund for inspecting and regulating “at an ever-increasing number of job sites where horizontal drilling is being performed.”


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 4 months ago

How much is the permit fee charged to these oil companies? I'm betting on either 1) nothing or 2) almost nothing. The permit fees should cover the inspection costs and other associated costs. This isn't rocket science boys. The oil and gas companies make millions of dollars off this. State subsidies for their extraction should cease! Take big oil of welfare. 100 years of welfare is enough.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 4 months ago

Your logic escapes me. I pay property taxes on my house. That doesn't mean the home builder shouldn't have paid a fee for the building permit. Why do you always accuse people you disagree with with not having done their homework?

Steve Malone 6 years, 4 months ago

On the western slope of Colorado over 5000 wells drilled in the last decade, people are having major health problems along with their ground water and streams being contaminated by fracturing!

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

Fracking Moratorium Urged by U.S. Doctors Until Health Studies Conducted Chemicals Used Fluids used in hydraulic fracturing contain “potentially hazardous chemical classes,” Kapil’s boss, Christopher Portier, director of The National Center for Environmental Health, said last week. The compounds include petroleum distillates, volatile organic compounds and glycol ethers, he said. Wastewater from the wells can contain salts and radiation, Portier said.

The government has found anecdotal evidence that drilling can contaminate water supplies. In December, the EPA reported that underground aquifers and drinking wells in Pavillion, Wyoming, contained compounds that probably came from gas drilling, including glycols, alcohols, benzene and methane. The CDC has detected “explosive levels of methane” in two wells near gas sites in Medina, Ohio, Kapil said.

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

Years After Evidence of Fracking Contamination, EPA to Supply Drinking Water to Homes in Pa. Town First, the earth around the rural town of Dimock, Pa., was cracked open as gas drillers used fracking [1] to tap the vast energy supplies of the Marcellus Shale.

Then, in April 2009, residents there lost their access to fresh drinking water [2]. Wells turned fetid. Some blew up. Tap water caught fire.

pace 6 years, 4 months ago

Didn't KDHE use to inspect? Brownback having stripped one department now needs to rebuild the very infrastructure he destroyed. Follow the money.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

We don't need no steenking regulations and inspections. We just need a libertarian utopia where after you and your family get poisoned and half of you die because your drinking water and breathing air are poisoned, you can sue the companies that did it, and those of your family that survive can enjoy your remaining, but shortened and very sickly, years as wealthy people.

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