Posts Tagged ‘fracking’

By Jonathan Romeo / The Durango Herald

A BP pipeline running along Sauls Creek in Bayfield was discovered ruptured last week, spilling coal-bed methane produced water into the creek and forcing the emergency construction of an earthen dam to prevent contamination downstream.

According to state reports, a 6-inch fiberglass gathering line was found leaking around 7 a.m. Dec. 13, about four miles west of Bayfield on National Forest Service land off County Road 527, also known as Forest Service Road 608.

BP reported the creek was dry on Dec. 13, but the next day a state oil and gas inspector found Sauls Creek “contained runoff from snow melt.” An early estimate shows the produced water traveled 2,300 feet along the channel bottom.

However, BP on Monday could not say how long the spill had been occurring, how much was released and what the contents of the product were.

The cause of the spill, too, remains unknown.

A Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission representative wrote in an emailed response that more information will be included in supplemental reports and through ongoing water sampling.

After discovering the spill, BP crews immediately closed the line, shut down 17 wells and constructed a temporary earthen dam to contain the produced water from spilling further downstream.

A Dec. 15 follow up report indicated hydro-evacuation trucks were removing the standing water in the creek bed, recovering a total of 150 barrels – about 6,300 gallons – of produced water mixed with snowmelt.

The pipeline repair required that County Road 527 be restricted to one lane of traffic for four days last week as BP crews partially excavated the road, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Bond.

Brett Clanton, a BP representative, did not address several of The Durango Herald’s questions about the incident. He wrote the spill was isolated within two hours of discovery, the produced water contained no hydrocarbons and that no residents in the surrounding area were affected.

“With safety as our highest priority, we will continue to coordinate with relevant agencies to complete any further remediation efforts as warranted,” Clanton wrote.

Produced water is a briny fluid captured in the rock of oil reservoirs that is extracted along with oil and gas. It is considered the largest toxic byproduct of extraction operations, and can contain salt, chemicals, residual oil and heavy metals, though the contents vary from well to well.

Although the chemical makeup of the substance released into Sauls Creek is unknown, a preliminary sampling showed the water contained 4,000 milligram per liter of total dissolved solids, compared to background values of less than 300 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids are a measure of all dissolved substances in water, and is generally used to gauge salinity. Salinity, in turn, can be an indicator for concentrations of chloride, sodium, magnesium, bicarbonate and sulfates, among others.

BP operates about 30 gas wells in the Sauls Creek area that produce coal-bed methane gas and produced water that is transmitted by pipeline to a processing facility in Bayfield.

BP likely faces “some kind of enforcement action due to impact on waters of the state,” oil and gas commission spokesman Todd Hartman wrote in an email.

The company must continue further remediation efforts and water sampling. The temporary dam remains in place as these actions continue, Hartman said.

As of Dec. 19, there have been 19 reported spills in La Plata County in 2016 accounting for approximately 350 barrels of spilled substances, mostly produced water.

BP has accounted for 12 of those incidents, spilling about 165 barrels, according to COGCC data.

Two spills (including this recent one) did not have estimates for amounts leaked.

Advertisements
A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

A group of Diné on the first day of a 200-mile walk through their ancestral homeland. (Photo: ©2015 Julie Dermansky)

By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors.  It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.

Click here to read the full article…

Photo courtesy of Skytruth

Drilling in the Uinta Basin near the town of Ouray. Drilling locations appear as bright spots and are connected by a network of roads and pipeline corridors. / Photo courtesy of Skytruth

By Robin Cooley, Earth Justice

The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment.  What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end?  And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.

During wintertime inversions, when cold air is trapped near the ground by warm air above, the Uinta Basin suffers from a thick blanket of smog that rivals Los Angeles on a bad day. In its recent State of the Air Report, the American Lung Association gave Uintah County an “F” for ozone pollution, the key ingredient of smog. Scientists have compared the effects of ozone pollution to getting a sunburn on your lungs. It is most harmful to children, seniors, and people with heart and lung problems.

In the Uinta Basin, fracking is the primary culprit. A recent study shows that oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin is responsible for smog-forming emissions (volatile organic compounds) that are equivalent to the amount coming out of the tailpipe of 100 million cars and trucks.

The EPA, the state of Utah, and the energy companies are spending millions to study the problem. The Utah Department of Health is also investigating after a local midwife raised concerns about a possible increase in infant death rates.

But studying this problem is not enough to protect people living and working in the Uinta Basin. EPA must take the steps necessary to ensure that the air is clean. In 2012, the EPA refused to designate the Uinta Basin as a “nonattainment area” for ozone, which would trigger the state’s obligation to develop a clean-up plan under the Clean Air Act. On October 21, 2014, Earthjustice went to federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, WildEarth Guardians and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, to argue that it is time for the EPA to stop dragging its feet and start protecting public health. Given the ongoing oil and gas boom in the Uinta Basin, there is no time to waste.

Fracking puts pressure on Moab

Posted: January 3, 2015 by earthfirstdurango in fracking, oil & gas, water
Tags: , , ,

A lunar eclipse is seen framed within Turret Arch at Arches National Park. The gas and oil industry around Moab is making a visible impression. Some are concerned it is threatening scenic views and recreation areas.

Proliferation of wells threatens scenic values, recreation industry (not to mention the land, its inhabitants, and our water supply!)

By Nancy Lofholm, The Denver Post

MOAB, Utah (AP) – A different kind of spire is jutting into the iconic red rock vistas of Moab.

It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab’s long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch amid this area’s popular national parks and renowned recreational backcountry is jarring to some residents.

Gas and oil wells have been drilled piecemeal around here for decades. But today’s wells represent a kind of backcountry industrialization that this area hasn’t dealt with before.

The area where the drilling is taking place attracts an estimated 500,000 backcountry recreationists a year. Those visitors are now a bedrock of Moab’s economy. Seventy percent of jobs in Grand County derive from tourism, and recreation accounts for three times more of the public lands revenue that brings in about $200 million to Moab each year. Extractive industries account for the rest.

On the other side of the economic impact pie, the gas and oil wells that currently are producing add about $2.6 million to Grand County coffers annually. And gas and oil money that flows back to the county from the state topped $1 million last year. The gas and oil reserves still in the ground under the red rock country point to even more future economic windfall. Grand County has an estimated 145 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 32.5 million barrels of oil.

Click here to read the full article…

Nihígaal béé Íina: Our Journey For Existence

The Navajo Nation sits on one of the richest energy corridors in the United States, and for close to a century, we have been on the frontline on resource colonization to provide cheap energy and water to the cities in the Southwest. Since the 1920’s, our land and people have been sacrificed for energy extraction for oil, gas, uranium, and coal, which is poisoning our land, water, air, and people. Despite being at the forefront of energy extraction, our people do not see its benefits; approximately 1/4 of our people today live without electricity and running water on the Navajo Nation, while our economy functions at an unemployment rate of about 60%, and our young people are leaving due to lack of opportunity. Now our people and land are facing the onset fracking and a proposed pipeline, which will transport crude oil through 130 miles in Dinétah, the emergence place of our people, in the name of “economic development”.

As young Diné people, we realize that we can’t continue on like this. We need clean air, water, and a viable lifeway for our people and for all human beings. In facing this crisis of our future, the idea of walking to raise awareness was born.

We are walking to honor the legacy of our ancestors during Hwééldi, who, a 150 years ago, were forced to walk hundreds of miles in the winter during away from our homelands in the winter to be imprisoned for four years in the name of American colonization. During this time of great suffering, our ancestors thought of our homeland, mountains, and prayed that future generations would carry on our way of life. It is in their memory and out of this profound love for the land that we are walking. It is time to heal from the legacy and trauma of colonization that we having been living under for too long.

It is our intention to walk throughout the Navajo Nation to document both the beauty of land and people and how this is being desecrated by resource extraction. We will do this through a social media campaign and a documentary films. Along our route, we will visit communities to listen to the issues our people are facing and share information about the state of water, air, land, and health, as our communities often have very little access to media or information about these issues. Our hope is that we can help to inspire our people to become engage in the care our land, air, and water, and culture so that we will have a future as Diné.

On January 6, 2015, we will start from the fireplace and doorway of Diné Bikéyah, at Dził Nahodiłii (Huerfano, NM) and Ch’ool’i’i , the emergence place of our people, which is threatened by fracking. There are over 400 proposed drill sites and within the past couple months over 100 have been started in the region. From there we will walk to communities through the Eastern Agency, and then to Tsoodzil (Mt. Taylor, Grants, NM) which also threaten by uranium mining. This first leg of our journey will be nearly 300 miles, and will take us approximately 3 weeks.

In the seasons to come, we will extend our walk to the other mountains and regions of Diné Bikéyah. To Doo’o’k’osliid (San Francisco Peak, Flagstaff, AZ) in the Spring, the Dibé Ntsáá (Hesperus, CO) in the Summer, and in the fall we will go all the way to Sisnajiní (Blanca Peak, Alamosa, CO). All combined, we will be walking over 1000 miles in 2015.

We are asking for support to cover the expenses of this journey through 2015 including gear, food, media/outreach and educational materials.

Gear – It is our intention to use as little fossil fuels as possible during our journey, so we want to carry as much as possible, therefore we are asking for funding for packs and lightweight gear including sleeping bags, tents, etc… We will also be facing extreme weather during this walk, so funding will also be used for jackets, thermals, and other cold/extreme weather clothing. We also will be needing socks, good shoes, and first aid supplies to keep us going.

Food – food to feed our walkers daily and our support crew.

Media/Outreach – a major component of this walk is to raise awareness about the issues we are facing and document the impacts of resource colonization, so we need funding for media equipment and too get the word out via internet, newspaper, radio, and television.

Educational Materials – this is to cover the expense of printing materials and documents to distribute to communities as we pass through. We want to share as much information as possible

Axhé’hee! Thank you for your support!

Fundraiser | Facebook

nihigaalbeeiina [at] gmail [dot] com

YOU CAN HELP! The terrible flooding in Colorado struck the heart of one of the busiest oil and gas fields in the country. Amid concerns that chemicals and #fracking fluids from these facilities are contaminating the water, we need your help documenting these problems! http://coflood.skytruth.org/  Just take a photo of the site and report it to SkyTruth, a nonprofit that uses remote sensing and mapping to expose environmental dangers. It's easy to do and will greatly help them map areas of high concern! Here's the link: http://coflood.skytruth.org/  You should also report the problem to Colorado's Oil and Gas Commission: http://ow.ly/oZYwc Please SHARE or LIKE especially if you have friends or family in Colorado that can help out!  (photos courtesy of East Boulder County United)

YOU CAN HELP! The terrible flooding in Colorado struck the heart of one of the busiest oil and gas fields in the country. Amid concerns that chemicals and #fracking fluids from these facilities are contaminating the water, we need your help documenting these problems! http://coflood.skytruth.org/ Just take a photo of the site and report it to SkyTruth, a nonprofit that uses remote sensing and mapping to expose environmental dangers. It’s easy to do and will greatly help them map areas of high concern! Here’s the link: http://coflood.skytruth.org/ You should also report the problem to Colorado’s Oil and Gas Commission: http://ow.ly/oZYwc Please SHARE especially if you have friends or family in Colorado that can help out! (photos courtesy of East Boulder County United)

By , Grist.org

Heavy rains returned to Colorado on Sunday and hampered rescue efforts after last week’s flash floods. The confirmed death toll has risen to seven, and hundreds are still unaccounted for. An estimated 1,500 homes are destroyed. Some 1,000 people in Larimer County, north of Boulder, were awaiting airlifts that never came on Sunday — they were called off because of the foul weather.

The floods have also triggered other problems that have gotten a lot less media attention: Fracking infrastructure has been inundated and its toxic contents have spilled out. Pipelines that transport fossil fuels are sagging and snapping under pressure. Tanks that store chemicals and polluted water are being overwhelmed and toppling over. Oil and gas wells are flooding.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado Floodwaters Cover Fracking And Oil Projects: ‘We Have No Idea What Those Wells Are Leaking’

By Rebecca Leber, ThinkProgress.org

CREDIT: East Boulder County UnitedColorado flooding has not only overwhelmed roads and homes, but also the oil and gas infrastructure stationed in one of the most densely drilled areas in the U.S. Although oil companies have shut down much of their operations in Weld County due to flooding, nearby locals say an unknown amount of chemicals has leaked out and possibly contaminated waters, mixing fracking fluids and oil along with sewage, gasoline, and agriculture pesticides.

“You have 100, if not thousands, of wells underwater right now and we have no idea what those wells are leaking,” East Boulder County United spokesman Cliff Willmeng said Monday. “It’s very clear they are leaking into the floodwaters though.”

Photographs shared by East Boulder County United, a Colorado environmental group that opposes hydraulic fracturing, show many tanks have been ruptured and others floating in the flood. At least one pipeline has been confirmed broken and leaking.

Click here to read the full article…

U.S.34 outside Greeley ripped apart by the South Platte River. (Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post)

U.S.34 outside Greeley ripped apart by the South Platte River. (Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post)

5,250 gallons of oil spills into South Platte River

By Bruce Finley and Ryan Parker, The Denver Post

MILLIKEN — Industry crews have placed absorbent booms in the South Platte River south of Milliken where at least 5,250 gallons of crude oil has spilled from two tank batteries into the flood-swollen river.

The spill from a damaged tank was reported to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources Wednesday afternoon by Anadarko Petroleum, as is required by state law.

State officials have responded to the spill site, which is south of Milliken near where the St. Vrain River flows into the South Platte.

Nearly 1,900 oil and gas wells in flooded areas of Colorado are shut, and 600 industry personnel are inspecting and repairing sites, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Crews are inspecting operations, conducting aerial and ground surveillance, identifying and determining locations of possible impairments, the association said Tuesday.

Anadarko, the second-largest operator in the operator in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, has shut about 10 percent of its operations — 250 tank batteries and 670 wells.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado Floods Causing Fracking Spills?

Posted: September 16, 2013 by earthfirstdurango in fracking
Tags: , ,

flood-in-Weld-County-yesterday-Sept-13-e1379256241135

Natural and Human-made Disasters Portend Future of Toxic Catastrophe

From Earth First! News

It appears that an unknown number of underwater frack wells are leaking into the flood waters tearing through Colorado. Although local activists have sent emails with photographs documenting toppled industrial tanks, there has been no response from media or authorities.

According to one activist, “There has been no mention of the gas wells on the Denver newscasts either last night or this evening although all stations have had extensive and extended flood coverage. You can see underwater wells in the background of some of the newscast videos, and yet the reporters say absolutely nothing.”

WeldCountyFloatingTank-e1379213713195

Torrential rains have led to days of flooding across the state, and 500 people remain unaccounted for. At least 4 people have died.

According to Brad Udall, director of the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, the floods are likely resulting from a combination of drought-hardened soil, wildfires that remove vegetation, and unusally strong rains due to warmer air that more holds moisture in clouds. “As the climate warms further, the hydrologic cycle is going to get more intense,” he told National Geographic, “Between the fires last year and this year, the unprecedented and continuing drought in the Colorado River, and now this shocking event,” he continued, “climate change feels very real to me.”

As climate change gets worse, disasters will increase. Fukushima may be just the front end of what’s down the pipeline for Earth.

Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historic Park. | Photo: gregorywass/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historic Park. | Photo: gregorywass/Flickr/Creative Commons License

By Char Miller, KCET

The falcon flew low and fast over Strawberry Rock, an outcropping high above the Rio Brazos Valley, just east of Chama, New Mexico.

We were sharing a picnic with good friends in a pine copse rooted in rough sandstone and marveling over the clear blue horizon, when the small raptor shot past; its backswept wings and breakneck speed were its only identifiable features.

As it stretched out and banked west, the falcon’s swift form was highlighted against the quartzite face of the Brazos Cliffs, glowing in the midday sun; it then hurtled down the dark green valley, following the silvery flow west toward the Rio Chama.

That shutter-click of a moment seemed suspended in time. Like our vacation, a lifting up and out, a release.

Yet at some point the falcon had to wing home, and so did we, though our pace was a bit more sedate. A day later we were rolling along U.S. 64 across northwestern New Mexico, straight through the state’s oil-and-gas patch in the San Juan River watershed.

The region contains the nation’s second largest gas reserves, a play that has gone through a series of booms and busts since the 1920s, but it has been experiencing a decline of late. The small towns along our route bear the marks of this economic withering — idled rigs, banged up pickups, pitted roadbeds, and dusty stores with little on the shelves. Even the relatively bustling Farmington, which received a substantial infusion of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dollars to repave an extensive portion of U.S. 64, has not been able to generate enough new work to break out of its doldrums.

That’s why so many are looking for salvation in two words: Mancos Shale. The formation, which extends from New Mexico into portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, is buried about a mile beneath the surface. Estimated to contain upwards of six billion barrels of oil, approximately one-third of which lies within New Mexico, the untapped resource is being touted as a godsend for the recession-hit area.

Click here to read the full article…

From EcoWatch:

Two months ago a story started ‘leaking’ out of Western Colorado about a fracked-gas pipeline break—loaded with cancer-causing benzene—with fluids heading toward and eventually into Parachute Creek which is a tributary to the Colorado River. As water wells close to the Creek started testing positive for benzene, and then as the Creek itself tested positive for benzene above drinking water standards, the news media started telling a story of how the Colorado River—a drinking water source for 35 million people across the Southwest U.S.—was threatened. As of this writing the leak is still not cleaned up and the creek is still testing positive for benzene.

This one leak may be the tip of the iceberg for fracking impacts in the Colorado River basin.

Across the Colorado River basin in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and in Southern California, a huge boom in natural gas and oil exploration and drilling—all using the extremely dangerous and controversial extraction method of fracking—is taking place that is increasingly imperiling water resources. Fracking has these impacts on water resources:

  1. Fracking uses enormous amounts of water.
  2. Fracking uses cancer-causing chemicals.
  3. “Spills and releases” of drilling and fracking fluids on the ground are commonplace during the drilling and fracking stage of each well.
  4. Unless wells are drilled and fracked properly, chemicals can leak into surrounding groundwater. Even when wells are drilled and fracked to the highest standards, there’s no guarantee that cement casings around wells can’t break and leak over time.
  5. After the drilling and fracking process, there’s no guarantee that fluids injected into the well can’t migrate up into groundwater through geological fissures and cracks.
  6. Millions of gallons of waste products from each fracked well are so badly poisoned with cancer-causing chemicals that the water is never purified and returned to rivers and streams, and instead is usually injected into even deeper aquifers and wells where government regulating agencies hope it stays forever.

More than a hundred thousand active oil and gas wells in the Colorado River already exist, and approximately a hundred thousand new wells—all to be fracked—are proposed. Many of these existing wells are near streams that connect to the Colorado River and some are right beside the Colorado River, and all of the proposed wells are in the same locations. Billions of gallons of toxic water and waste products have already been injected into deep disposal wells across the Colorado River basin every year, and billions more are proposed. Cancer-causing fracking chemicals are sometimes stored in tanks and open pits on the surface right beside rivers, including the Colorado River.

Click here to read the full article…

Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom. Photographer: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom. Photographer: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The mainstream media mother-Earth-fuckers at Bloomberg recently released this report:

Stan Dempsey, an oil and gas lobbyist, raced from one committee hearing to another in Colorado’s statehouse this spring, defending the industry against an onslaught of bills.

While only one of 10 measures passed, the flurry of activity is one of several worrying signs to Dempsey and others in the industry that Colorado, an oil-patch state long seen as friendly to energy producers, is becoming a battleground over hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process fueling the nation’s energy boom.

“The politics have shifted in the state,” Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association in Denver, said in an interview. “Energy has become a big issue.”

The debate extends beyond the state capital. Two Colorado towns have banned fracturing, or fracking. Other communities are considering similar restrictions. Environmental groups — encouraged by what they see as rising populist anger over drilling — are now exploring a statewide ban on fracking through a 2014 referendum measure.

At stake for developers is access to resources that have made Colorado the nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas and the ninth-biggest oil producer. One group — the Western Energy Alliance, which represents about 400 oil and gas companies — says it plans to increase its lobbying budget four-fold to meet the threat.

Fracking Ban

“Fundamentally, a ban on hydraulic fracturing is a ban on oil and gas development in Colorado,” said Doug Flanders, a spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, another energy group based in Denver. “And it begs the question: if not here then where?”

Communities from New Jersey to California have also sought to impose restrictions on fracking, according to data kept by Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based environmental group.

In Colorado, communities have made the most direct challenges to fracking, which injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to break apart shale rock formations so oil and gas can flow to the surface.

Voters in Longmont overwhelmingly approved a ban on fracking in November. Fort Collins had a moratorium on the process. The city council voted May 21 to lift it after Prospect Energy LLC, the only oil and gas company operating within city limits, agreed to standards that are stricter than state rules.

Boulder Ban

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, is also considering restrictions. Last night, the directors of FrackNation, which portrays the positive attributes of drilling, and GasLand2, which takes an opposing view, screened their films for residents.

“There is a new movement out there by local municipalities and communities to seize control of the permitting process,” said Tim Wigley, president of the Western Energy Alliance, whose members include Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) (APC) of The Woodlands, Texas, and Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) (DVN) based in Oklahoma City.

That’s worrisome, Wigley said, because it could add more delay to a state and federal process already slowing development.

Protect Our Colorado, a coalition of residents, social justice and faith groups, environmental organizations and companies such as outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia Inc., said it is considering pushing for a statewide limit on fracking through referendum on 2014.

“There’s nothing that’s off the table with regard to fracking and what would be on the ballot,” said Sam Schabacker, Mountain West region director for Food & Water Watch.

Predicts Defeat

Dempsey, of the Colorado Petroleum Association, said he was confident that ultimately the state’s voters would reject broader efforts to limit drilling.

“To pass a ballot initiative in Colorado takes a lot of work and a lot of money,” he said. Oil and gas companies historically have “contributed quite a bit of money in efforts to defeat ballot measures that would harm our industry.”

Colorado has a long history of oil and gas drilling. That’s one reason why oil and gas producers are wary of the growing resistance to fracking in the state.

A waterway that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska 100 million years ago left behind organic matter that time and pressure cooked into rich oil and gas deposits in Colorado. These include the Niobrara shale formation, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates may contain 2 billion barrels of oil, as well as the Wattenberg Field north of Denver.

High Production

In 2012, oil production in the state reached its highest level in 55 years, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that regulates the industry. Natural gas production increased by 27 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to agency information.

Wigley said the resistance to drilling in Colorado is being driven by new residents who aren’t used to seeing energy development.

“I’m not calling them dumb, they just don’t know where things come from,” Wigley said in an interview. “It’s a challenge to the industry, no question about it.”

The population of the eight counties along the Front Range, the scenic and resource-rich eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, grew on average 18.8 percent from 2000 to 2010.

The growth has helped turned the state from Republican red to Democratic blue. Colorado voted Republican for president six out of the seven elections between 1980 and 2004, before voting for President Barack Obama in the last two.

Click here to read the full article…