Fossil Fuels

Mark Duggan

The administration is putting the brakes on new oil and gas leases on public lands. The move is being met with cheers from conservation groups and legal threats from the fossil fuels industry. We look at what it means for one large drilling proposal in the mountains east of Bayfield.


Youth Add Their Voices to Drilling Debate on Front Range

Jan 28, 2021
Maeve Conran

A proposal for what could be the state’s largest fracking site is drawing community opposition in Boulder County, including a group of high schoolers who are adding their voices to the chorus of opposition.

Chad Reich

A Bureau of Land Management Field Office on the Western Slope decided to open 95 percent of lands under its watch to oil and gas leasing. But the State of Colorado and Western Slope conservation groups are suing to try to stop the lease sales.

Will the CORE Act Get a New Chance in Congress This Year?

Jan 28, 2021
Amy Hadden Marsh

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act would protect 400,000 acres of public lands across Colorado. It was introduced in Congress in 2019 but has yet to become law. We visit with some Roaring Fork Valley residents who have worked on public lands issues to learn their hopes for the what the act could achieve.

Why Colorado Coal Plants Won't Close Early After All

Jan 27, 2021
Cody Perry

Colorado regulators proposed early closures for three coal-fired power plants, to improve air quality and fight climate change, then did a 180 on the decision a month later. Why was it abandoned?

Jamesmartin111/Creative Commons

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the electrical utility cooperative that provides power to many rural areas of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska, has relied on coal and fossil fuels to generate the bulk of its power for many years.  Now, Tri-State is beginning a rapid shift towards increasing renewable energy.

Air Quality Reseacher Raises Oil Industry Ire

Jan 21, 2021
Maeve Conran/KGNU

Colorado’s Northern Front Range has been out of compliance with federal ozone standards since 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to downgrade the region’s ozone status from “serious” to “severe.” Better air monitoring in some cities shows that emissions from the oil industry is contributing to bad air quality. One researcher has been shining a light on it. It's made him a target of the industry.

Small Town Struggles with Mine Owner Clean Water

Jan 19, 2021
Roberta McGowan/Sopris Sun

Residents of a tiny, unincorporated, coal town on Colorado’s Western Slope are pitted against billionaire mine owner Bill Koch in a fight for clean drinking water. But this David vs. Goliath story isn't as simple as it sounds.

The Threat of Idled Oil and Gas Wells on Public Land

Jan 11, 2021
Ray Bloxham/Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

With changing commodity prices and speculation, oil and gas wells on public lands aren’t always producing. Some idled wells in Utah are serving to hold land from wilderness management. They may even be polluting.

New Oil and Gas Rules Split Counties, Families

Jan 8, 2021
Maeve Conran

New rules around oil and gas development in Colorado went into effect on January 1.  A central part of the legislation was giving local communities more authority to regulate the industry. But two Front Range counties have radically different ideas about what local control means.

Is Wyoming Losing to Other States in the Latest Wind Rush?

Jan 2, 2021

Wyoming is in a unique position to become a key exporter of wind energy to other states across the West. But talk from state lawmakers about raising taxes on renewables has led some industry experts to speculate that wind developers are losing patience. Will they take their business - and tax revenues - elsewhere?

Fossil Fuel Uncertainty Impacts Local Government Services

Jan 1, 2021
Lone Cone Library

Across Colorado, oil and gas companies pay for a lot more than just jobs and equipment. They pay taxes that fund countless public services. So, what does it mean for a local government if oil and gas revenues become more uncertain?

Daniel Rayzel

Photographers, migrating animals, and cultural histories all share a reliance and admiration for one thing: clear, dark, starry skies. But the preservation of dark skies is threatened by development, including evergrowing cities and the infrastructure needed for oil and gas production.

Less Oil and Gas Revenue Means Fewer Funds for Utah Communities

Dec 28, 2020
Photo by Bill Rau

Revenue from oil and gas in Utah hasn’t recovered since plummeting earlier this year. That means government grants and loans that rely on energy royalties have less in their coffers, just when communities need it the most. Justin Higginbottom with KZMU Radio in Moab reports.

Lucas Turner

About twice a week, oil and gas operators in Colorado’s Piceance Basin file “Form 19” also called a Spill/Release Report with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Nine times out of 10, the spilled substance is a form of hazardous waste byproduct called produced water.

Environmental Protection Agency

People in communities across the nation have found themselves the participants in a fracking experiment. In the small town of Pavillion, Wyoming, such a scenario has played out with a decade-long controversy.

Chad Reich

This past June, the West Elk Mine punched a mile of road and two drilling pads for methane venting into lands that conservation groups say should be roadless, according to federal policy. Mine operators, however, say their leases for a planned and approved expansion sit underneath the surface of the roadless lands and are not subject to the state's roadless rule.

Hilary Cooper

The town and two other local governments in Colorado are joining the growing ranks of communities filing legal action against fossil fuel companies for their role in climate change. Julia Caulfield with KOTO Radio in Telluride reports on the effect the suits could have even before they’re decided in court.