Energy policy — oil and gas: The Niobrara rush is moving into Jackson County

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

The rush to drill the Niobrara formation – the same oil and gas boom that required the construction of a paved truck bypass around tiny Grover in remote northern Weld County – is moving into Jackson County. Since September 2010, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved 15 drilling permits for companies seeking to tap the Niobrara in Jackson County. Approximately 50 have been approved for the area since 2007 and five more are pending. Many of the approved wells are being drilled by EOG Resources, the Houston company that is one of the biggest players in drilling the Niobrara in Weld County. In 2009, the company drilled the “Jake” well near Grover, which kicked off the rush to explore the Niobrara when the well produced more than 1,500 barrels of oil in one day…

Sportsmen’s groups are concerned new oil and gas development in North Park will contaminate water, fracture wildlife habitat, harm the threatened sage grouse and sully tourism in the region. “My concerns have to do with habitat disruption and potential contamination of surface water before we even get into the potential contamination of groundwater by fracking,” said Barbara Vasquez, a local organizer for the Colorado Wildlife Federation and co-chair of the North Platte Basin Roundtable. “All these wells are fracked, so you have the opportunity for spills of concentrated fracking fluids on site.”[…]

Because of the potential for…spills to pollute rivers and streams, the Colorado Wildlife Federation is urging energy companies and federal land managers to create a comprehensive regional drilling plan and ensure drilling occurs with as little environmental harm as possible, said Colorado Wildlife Federation President John Smeltzer, of Fort Collins.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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