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Once a week an oil or gas spill contaminates groundwater in Colorado (on average)

Amy Mall

Posted October 24, 2013 in Health and the Environment

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"Just about every day in Colorado, there’s a chemical spill caused by drilling and fracking. And once a week on average, a spill contaminates groundwater."

There's a startling new video from the Center on Western Prioirities (CWP). According to CWP, so far this year in Colorado there have been 328 spills reported to state authorities (and there were probably some more that weren't reported). Of those,

23 percent resulted In water contamination.

And the year isn't over yet. That level of contamination is unacceptable. It's why we need strong new rules to protect clean water at both the state and federal levels, and why we need stronger enforcement--with tough penalties--to rein in the oil and gas industry and it's disregard for our environment. Check out the video:

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Comments

Michael BerndtsonOct 25 2013 11:12 AM

You go Amy!

I was reading recently that some Northeastern Colorado folks want to secede from Colorado. This is the area being spoken about. Something about freedom(TM) or something. I might sound like a liberal book learn'n environmentalists here, so apologies if anyone takes offense. On land and groundwater remediation and restoration projects, there will be some in the area who will assign every problem, big and small, personal or general to environmentalists as the root cause. Even the ones working on a remedy. This could be any of many past and present industrial sites in the Rocky Mountains (or Chicago for that matter). The area's groundwater could have been soaked with creosote from the go-go era of rural electrification pole and railroad tie manufacturing. Ground surfaces laden with vermiculite dust from manufacturing stack emissions. Or an open pit mine full of god knows what. Despite all this, everything was typically the environmentalists fault.

Maybe there's something primeval going on. Our ancient ancestors would hover over a fire and breath in any and all byproducts of combustion. In caves with limited air circulation mind you. Some offspring may have had feet growing out of their heads. Others didn't. There was a lot of faith-based human sacrificing going on back then. Human health was catch as catch can. Gods were usually always upset back then. So sacrifices were in demand. The one's with feet growing out of their heads from combustion byproducts made good sacrifices. Maybe some people are simply hard wired to demand the right to drink groundwater saturated with fracking chemicals and petroleum hydrocarbons. Environmentalists are trying to take those rights away. I haven't read the constitution since 7th grade so maybe that's all in there.

I hope this helps you with future environmental policy development.

Kenneth GlickOct 25 2013 04:22 PM

No doubt many spills have occurred in Colorado, but you're assuming that CWP's claims are accurate one when, in fact, all one has to go on is a very short video put out by something called ' The New Venture Fund' (whatever that is).

I'm not saying the allegations aren't true; all I am saying is show me more evidence than a 31 second video.

Amy MallOct 25 2013 04:56 PM

Hi Kenneth: Thanks for the comment. This infographic from CWP cites the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's database as the source of the information:
http://westernpriorities.org/2013/10/21/toxic-release-colorado-oil-gas-spills/

A report from E&E News compiled the number of spills from 2009-2012:
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059983941

A Denver Post investigation from 2011 found similar statistics:
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/amall/colorado_four_oil_and_gas_comp.html

I will post any other information I come across.

Greg ZimmermanOct 25 2013 05:20 PM

According to data from Colorado’s oil and gas regulator – the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission – 328 spills were reported into the Colorado spills database (called COGIS) between January 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013. So far in 2013, fifty spills have impacted groundwater, while twenty-nine impacted surface water and two spills impacted both.

In 2012, there were 402 spills reported to COGIS.

The COGIS database is very user-friendly. I’d encourage you to sift through the data: http://cogcc.state.co.us/cogis/IncidentSearch.asp.

Comments are closed for this post.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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