DENVER – According to the latest state data, drilling and fracking operations led to 495 chemical spills in Colorado in 2013. Nearly a quarter of spills impacted groundwater or surface water, refuting the oil and gas industry assertion that drilling and fracking never pollutes water. The inaugural edition of the new Colorado Toxic Release Tracker from the Center for Western Priorities (CWP) details those spills and their impacts on Colorado’s land and water.
“The numbers show oil and gas operations were responsible for more than one spill each day last year,” said Greg Zimmerman, CWP’s policy director. “The spill tracker brings transparency and accountability to Colorado’s oil and gas spill problem.”
The Toxic Release Tracker is a summary of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s (COGCC) spill database. According to the tracker, 71 spills impacted groundwater and 41 spills impacted surface water in 2013. CWP’s tracker details spill size, proximity to water sources, and a variety of other data.
CWP will update the Colorado Toxic Release Tracker each month to inform the media and public of the effects oil and gas companies have on the state’s communities and natural resources.
“We can have responsible energy development, but we have to be realistic about the risks to our communities and our water,” continued Zimmerman. “Now, more than ever, we need to ensure companies are held to the highest standards and we have to be thoughtful about where we permit companies to drill.”
Energy company spills total 495 in state for 2013, group claims [subscribers only]
Oil and gas companies reported 495 spills in Colorado last year, a nonpartisan group says, an apparent significant increase over 2012.
Those included 278 spills in Weld County and 71 in Garfield County, which respectively are first and second in the state for both total well numbers and level of current drilling activity …
… The county breakdowns weren’t immediately included on the group’s tracker but the group plans to include them going forward, according to Dave Georges, a public relations agent representing the Center for Western Priorities.
The COGCC didn’t confirm the group’s figures, but if accurate the total spill count would be a sizable increase from 399 in 2012 and comparable to the 493 reported in 2010. In 2011, 527 were reported, the most dating back to at least 2003. Spill numbers generally have increased over the last decade as the state’s active well count has shown dramatic growth …
… In December, the COGCC formally adopted into its rules a new law requiring reporting within 24 hours of all spills of a barrel (42 gallons) or more if no secondary containment exists. It also decided to require reporting within 24 hours of all spills of five barrels or more — a requirement previously applying to spills of 20 barrels or more …