Friday, March 22, 2013

Concerned citizen letter to COGCC Director and response regarding the recent Parachute gas plant spill

Mr. Lepore,

Once again COGCC has failed to protect the public.

It is disappointing that the filed spill documents are absent of water contamination results.
I assume they are in the process of being conducted?  COGCC documents appear
misleading because they indicate groundwater and surface water were 'not' contaminated.
It's highly likely that both ground and surface waters were contaminated due to the volume
and proximity of release!

We citizens hold you personally accountable to notify the public of the BTEX results.  In particular, 
all down stream recipients must be immediately notified.  Once again, COGCC has failed to prevent adverse
impacts and the industry operator should be held accountable for all reclamation costs, fines and punitive damages.




COGCC Director, Matt Lepore's response

Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 7:51 PM
Subject: RE: Parachute Spill

Ms. Rosa:

The Form 19 is for the limited purpose or reporting the fact of a spill.  Subsequent to reporting the release, the operator responsible for the release of hydrocarbons will submit a Form 27, which describes the sampling and other work that will be done to characterize the extent and nature of adverse impacts to the environment and describe the remediation work that will be done to remediate environmental impacts.  All of those plans will be reviewed and approved by COGCC. 

The COGCC’s primary concern regarding protecting the public was and is to prevent contamination reaching Parachute Creek; to that end we issued a cease and desist order on Friday, March 15 directing the companies to take all appropriate measures to prevent the hydrocarbons from migrating to the Creek.  Those efforts appear to have been successful thus far. 

I am not sure what documents you interpret as saying groundwater has not been contaminated.  That is clearly not the case:  hydrocarbons have contaminated both soil and groundwater near the pipeline right of way associated with the gas processing plant operated by Williams.  The Form 19s clearly indicate those facts.  With respect to surface water (Parachute Creek), as noted, we have no data at this time indicating hydrocarbon impacts to the creek.  The companies involved, as well as COGCC, are collecting groundwater and soil samples which will be analyzed to determine the scope and nature of contamination. 

Finally, the COGCC has directed the companies involved to “Identify and evaluate all potential receptors of both surface water and ground water within a one-mile radius of the interceptor trenches” on the site.  Thus, any users of surface or ground water within one mile will be assured their water supplies have not been impacted by the incident in question.  Furthermore, in the event hydrocarbon impacts are detected in Parachute Creek, we will immediately notify the Town of Parachute, Garfield County officials, and the Parachute Municipal Water District. 

I and my colleagues at COGCC care deeply about Colorado’s environment.  Releases like this are not acceptable, and the responsible party or parties will be obligated to remediate the environmental impacts.  Fines and other remedies will be considered by the Commission at the appropriate time, consistent with the Commission’s statutory authority and our Rules.   

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me.


Matthew Lepore
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission


  1. Matthew -
    Yeah? Right!
    Exactly, how do you care about Colorado's environment?
    How do you sleep at night?

  2. He cares about Colorado's the extent he, and his comrades, can suck as much money and profit from it as is humanly possible.


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