Statement to County Commissioners, March 16, 2021
Good morning, Commissioners. My name is Ed Behan, resident and retired in Fort Collins. I’m glad to see you all have managed to dig out from one of our famous “upslop” storms. While we won’t exactly be out in shirtsleeves right away, at least we do know Spring will be here soon.
In returning to Colorado a few years ago, and finding the issue of oil and gas was bubbling up in the land I love so well, I was reminded of stories I had seen in Westword back in the nineties. Hydraulic fracturing, which had been toyed with in modern times dating back until at least the forties, was beginning to be utilized with more frequency and success in Colorado. The reports I was reading then, however, focused on ranchers and other residents on the Western Slope finding their groundwater being contaminated with the onset of “unconventional” drilling processes, as fracking was labelled at the time.
Fast forward a few decades. Fracking has taken hold in numerous oil fields around the country, extracting new oil and gas products out of previously depleted sources, from the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania to the Permian Basin of Texas. . . and including the Wattenberg field of the Denver Basin, located largely to the East in Weld County.
I will provide you all with a reference page for your consideration, with links to articles highlighting some of the concerns about oil and gas development’s impact on water resources.
The issue, of course, is that the problems associated with potential contamination of both surface and ground water resources remain dire and salient. Both processing and disposal of waste water, and the infiltration of aquifers by petrochemicals and fracking fluids, are serious issues. Beyond that, the massive amount of water required to be injected with proprietary chemicals to execute the hydraulic fracturing has to come from somewhere. As evidenced by other water related issues perking in our region, we live in an arid climate, and it’s not getting wetter any time soon. Among other concerns, industry claims about the reprocessing of “produced water” from fracking sites are not necessarily to be taken at face value.
I also find it particularly interesting that the Delaware River Basin Commission recently made permanent what had been a moratorium on fracking in that entire Eastern watershed. You don’t suppose they know something we don’t, do you?
Thank you for your continued attention to these questions as you move forward with the revision of oil and gas regulations in Larimer County. You all have a good day.
(Provided a copy of this blog post page: https://www.larimerallianceblog.org/category/general-environmental-reference/ )