Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Governor Hickenlooper’s COGCC Has Failed To Protect Boulder County From Drilling And Fracking

Boulder, CO – As Governor Hickenlooper prepares to take the stage at the Thursday evening, May 2nd fracking event at the University of Colorado, Boulder, citizens groups allege that the Governor’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has failed to protect Boulder County citizens from the past effects, and imminent future effects, of drilling and fracking.

“Boulder County has already been negatively impacted by drilling and fracking,” said Shane Davis of  “Spills, complaints, violations, leaking wells, and ‘unsatisfactory’ inspections have occurred in a large percent of current and past drilling, and the fracking boom hasn’t even started here yet.”

“The State, County, and cities need to better protect Boulder county’s citizens and environment,” said Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action which has thousands of members in Boulder county.  “Governor Hickenlooper’s COGCC rulemaking processes have failed to protect citizens, the State Legislature is only taking baby steps forward, and Boulder County is poised to be fracked.”

In addition to the data that is directly reported to the COGCC and available on its public website (summarized below), citizens groups believe that air quality, wildlife impacts, road impacts, noise and light impacts, and myriad health impacts also accompany fracking across the Front Range of Colorado.

An analysis of data from the COGCC’s own website for Boulder County reveals:
Spills and Releases
  • 40 spills and releases of drilling and fracking liquids have occurred in Boulder County since 1993. Four of those spills occurred in 2012.
  • 14 (35%) of spills and releases caused groundwater contamination.
  • 7 of the spills and releases on COGCC’s website have never been updated to determine if they caused groundwater or surface water contamination.
  •  53% of the spills involved a “berm failure” (the landscape around the well head was breached causing the spill to escape beyond the well head).
  • 17 public complaints are on record with the COGCC
Well Status
  • 784 wells of all statuses ( as of 11/24/2012)
  • 169 – (AL) abandoned
  • 108 – (DA) dead and abandoned
  • 14 – (DG) currently being drilled
  • 141 – (PA) plugged and abandoned
  • 306 – (PR) producing/active
  • 2 - (SI) shut in
  • 1 - (TA) temporarily abandoned
  • 4 – (UN) unknown statues
  • 38 – (XX) well location unknown  
Inspections in 2011 and 2012
  • 159 Total inspections occurred in Boulder County in 2011 and 2012
  • 8 reported “leaking wells”
  • 106 inspections were “satisfactory”
  •  51 inspections were “unsatisfactory”
  • 2 inspections were “not reported”
Notice of Alleged Violations
  • 17 Notices of alleged violations on record (NOAV)
Abandoned Waste Pits                 
  • 99 historic toxic waste evaporation pits.  Some in residential areas.

Pending Permits
  • 20 approved drilling applications are waiting for the Boulder County moratorium to lift

Published On: 
05/01/2013 - 13:25

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