State officials tracking numerous flood-related spills
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A spate of potentially dangerous spills from oil and gas producing facilities resulting from recent flooding in Colorado may be scrutinized under a congressional spotlight.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) hav asked the House Resources Committee to hold a hearing on oil and gas spills caused by the recent catastrophic floods in Colorado.
“Not only have my constituents been dealing with damage to their homes, schools, and roads, they are increasingly concerned about the toxic spills that have occurred from the flooding of nearly 1,900 fracking wells in Colorado,” Polis said. “Congress must deal with this issue to ensure that natural disasters do not also become public health disasters.”
As of Sept. 24, state and industry officials were tracking 11 significant releases, with nine teams in the field, including:
- A Noble location east of Kersey near Highway 34 and Highway 56 released 121 barrels;
- A PDC location east of Greeley, near the intersection of Highway 34 and the bypass for Highway 34 released 60 barrels;
- A Mineral Resources location north and west of LaSalle released an unknown
According to the state, the 11 releases account, in total, for more than 822 barrels, or 34,524 gallons. The amount for two of these 11 releases is unknown. This volume is approaching a volume equivalent to three, standard, 300-barrel oil storage tanks.
“The more we know, the worse it gets, and it’s not over yet. The State of Colorado needs to continue inspecting and reporting, and then testing water and soil for contamination,” said Gary Wockner, a Colorado program director for Clean Water Action. “We support Rep. Polis’ proposal for a congressional hearing to investigate the oil, gas, and fracking spills and contamination caused by this industry,” Wockner said. “The State’s regulations are very weak — which is why this debacle and contamination occurred in the first place — and do not protect the public or the environment, and so federal oversight is sorely needed.”
“This is not a partisan issue,” said DeFazio. “People dealing with aftermath of a catastrophic natural disaster don’t need to worry that their health is at risk because of oil and gas spills. Congress needs to hold a hearing so we can assess the consequences of this flood and figure how to bring relief to the affected communities.”
In a letter to Resource Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), the representatives cited reports from state and federal agencies tracking oil and gas spills and leaks that threaten public health and local drinking water.