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BLM Caught Making ‘False Claims of Containment’ in Utah Oil Spill

SOURCE: ecowatch.com

Utah Oil Spill Cleanup Continues After BLM’s False Claims of Containment

by Brandon Baker

As rain poured on Utah land this past weekend pushing oil about five miles upstream into a wash adjacent to the Green River, it appeared that a Bureau of Land Management assessment of a leak was completely wrong.

A BLM report released a week ago stated that a breached oil well had been contained after the May 21 leak.  Now, the federal agency says “intense thundershower activity overcame prevention measures” and, as a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues cleanup efforts that could take another week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“This pollution of the Green River could and should have been prevented,” said Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council.  “The fact that the BLM claimed it was contained before it went on to contaminate the Green River with carcinogens is disturbing.”

Thompson-20140522-00202

 

Initial BLM estimates indicated that the damaged well gushed 80 to 100 barrels of oil per hour for more than 30 hours.  Groups like the Utah Rivers Council, the Sierra ClubLiving Rivers and the Colorado Riverkeeper believe that amount equals 100,000 gallons of crude oil into a wash adjacent to the river.  It is unknown how much of the oil entered the river, which is the largest tributary to the Colorado River, the main source of drinking water for about 35 million people.  It is also the habitat of four endangered fish species.

Officials told Utah’s KSL that the oil’s contact with the river was “minimal.”

The spill is the third to occur in the state in just three months.  Utah is now ranked 11th in the country in terms of crude oil production.  The state isn’t trying to slow its oil boom down, either.  The annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit begins June 3 and is typically an effective recruiting tool for new development.  Additionally, thousands of proposed new wells are awaiting approval.

“It’s unlikely that [Gov. Gary R. Herbert] and his friends from the fossil fuels industries will be talking about another oil spill in Utah,” Tim Wagner of the Sierra Club said.  “Rather, we can be sure that they will be discussing additional ways that they can tap into more of Utah’s black gold, including plotting to take away our public lands.”

Environmentalists are worried about what the miscalculation means for the future.

“With the energy policies of our state leaders, lower basin residents can see the future, which means more pollution in their taps,” said John Weisheit, conservation director of Living Rivers and Colorado Riverkeeper.

9 replies »

  1. Well, it is typical to hide the disastrous environmental destruction wrought by careless and over reaching oil and gas development. Watch The Big Fix, documentary on the Gulf blowout. Test your water if you are in CO.

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  2. I think at this point the only thing regarding the BLM that would actually surprise anyone is if they EVER actually TOLD the Real truth! Since we All know that happen we need a petition to the President to ask the BLM be investigated by Federal Authorities from top to bottom and allow the public comments to be presented in every aspect ofvhow the BLM has become a failure and then Ask for Justice. This is a Signifigant reason along with the deaths ofvthe horses and the mess with welfare ranching that the President needs to step in. Sally Jewel can no longer actually be a valid perspon to runvan agency that is now cracking at the seams with issues and lies as it now is blatantly proven. This blog us excellent but until the President reads the issues on it daily hes not really deeply aprised of the BLM issues. This is a True Black Eye on this Agency to match the other black eyr from the handling of horses they were sworn and Paid to protect. The Presodent needs to hear and see the true damages this Agency has caused so many. Please send these issues to the President. These are environmental even withbthe horses. without the horses running free the land is being destroyed. The horses gave a natural balance to the land and permitted regrowth spreading seeds and their manure is cleaner than cattle and rejuvenates the earth. We have to get the seriousness of everything the Agency is doing wrong out there.

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    • a petition to the President to ask the BLM be investigated by Federal Authorities from top to bottom and allow the public comments to be presented in every aspect ofvhow the BLM has become a failure and then Ask for Justice,

      Can you just imagine what would come scuttling out from under that rock? The Justice Department dropped the investigation into Tom Davis’ missing horses for a reason. Ken Salazar? What a rogue agency the BLM is.

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  3. BLM knows how to do nothing but make false statements and tell lies.
    The entire agency needs to be done away with.
    I would not trust them to clean my toilets much less over see the management of our public lands and all that live upon it.

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  4. BLM-UTAH QUARTERLY OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE RESULTS
    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/may/quarterly_oilgas_sale_results.html
    Release Date: 05/20/14

    SALT LAKE CITY—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah received bonus bids totaling $2,842.261.25 for 62 parcels covering 50,072 acres at the quarterly oil and gas lease sale held today at the BLM-Utah State Office in Salt Lake City.
    The BLM sold 62 of the 93 offered parcels. In addition to the bonus bids, the sale grossed $75,133.50 in rental fees and $9,610 in administrative fees, for $2,927,004.75 in total receipts. Receipts from federal oil and gas leases are shared with the state and county where the leased lands are located.

    Kimmeridge Four Corners, of Roswell, N.M., submitted the highest total bid per acre—$270—for parcel number 2222 located in the Canyon Country District.

    Johnston Land Company Inc. of Durango, Colo., submitted the highest total bid per parcel—$436,800— for parcel number 2223 also located in the Canyon Country District.

    All leases are issued with conditions on oil and gas activities to protect the environment; these can include limits on when drilling can occur or restrictions on surface occupancy. Once an operator proposes exploration or development on a BLM-issued lease, further environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act is conducted to determine the site-specific need for various types of impact-limiting or mitigation measures. In addition, many operators routinely use best management practices, such as remote monitoring of producing wells, to minimize surface impact.
    Additional information regarding competitive sale lists, detailed results of oil and gas lease sales, or the leasing process is available by writing the Bureau of Land Management, 440 West 200 South, Ste. 500, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101, or by visiting:

    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/oil_and_gas/oil_and_gas_lease.html.

    May 2014
    Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale Results Summary
    Parcels Offered for Auction 93
    Parcels Sold 62
    % Parcels Sold 66.67%
    Acres Offered 102,262
    Acres Sold 50,072
    % Acres Sold 48.96%
    Average Bid/ Acre Sold $56.76
    Average Bid/ Parcel Sold $45,842.92
    Highest Bid/ Acre $270
    Parcel with High Bid/ Acre 2222
    Highest Bid/ Parcel $436,800
    Parcel with High Total Bid 2223
    Total Bonus Bid $2,842,261.25
    Total Rental Due $75,133.50
    Total Administrative Fees Due $9,610
    Total Receipts Due* $2,927,004.75
    *Total Receipts Due includes bonus bids, first year’s rental and processing fees.

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  5. I have a home in Moab, not far from this area. It is pristine. The BLM is only stopped when militia take them on. I see that we citizens armed with our voices, pens, tweets, emails and petitions are laughed at, and probably mocked by the entire organization. Our legal, traditional methods of protest are not being respected. It’s frustrating.

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