Energy policy — oil and gas: Questions from South Park about the long-term and hydraulic fracturing

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Here’s a guest column written by Doris LeDue that is running in The Denver Post. From the article:

South Park has a nationally recognized heritage area. It provides angling, hunting and many other recreational opportunities. This heritage exists because of diverse populations of wildlife, which depend on a habitat base for their survival. Protection of this habitat base is critical to maintaining this heritage.

Of equal importance is the protection of water resources throughout the area. South Park is a major watershed supplying water to the Denver Metropolitan Area. Residents depend on water from wells to supply their domestic needs. Ranches depend on wells, springs and surface waters for cattle. Fairplay and Hartsel are reliant on wells, as well as surface waters. As Colorado’s population expands (10 million by 2050), the water resources of South Park will become more critical and deserve the highest level of protection…

Our single greatest objection is that there is no requirement to determine the cumulative impacts of such a massive gas production effort in one of Colorado’s most important watersheds. There is poor data on baseline water quality from which future monitoring will depend, as well as uncertainty of the flow patterns of fracturing material and methane gas through geological formations. To their credit Park County is considering funding it’s own base line water quality study.

Can it be demonstrated that if major gas reserves are found and developed throughout South Park, that the wildlife, historical and water resources will be protected both in the present, and long-term future? We believe the answer is No.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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