Hydraulic fracturing: ‘All it is, is really a fracture of the bedrock below the surface.” — Stan Dempsey, Jr. with the Colorado Petroleum Association

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From 9News.com (Kyle Cabodi):

On Monday night, Commerce City residents met to talk about a new fracking project near the intersection of 104th Street and Tower Road. Their biggest concerns are over water contamination and exposure to chemicals used in the extraction process. Petroleum experts say the process has a proven safety record, and say the key to understanding fracking is knowing exactly how it works.

Professor Will Fleckenstein with the Colorado School of Mines says most fracking operations take place between 5,000 and 10,000 feet below ground. That can be the equivalent of more than eight Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. In all cases, the fracking operation takes place below the water-saturated aquifer. “All it is, is really a fracture of the bedrock below the surface,” Stan Dempsey, Jr. with the Colorado Petroleum Association said…

“You’ve got multiple defenses of contamination of surface aquifers,” Fleckenstein said. He says every fracking well is lined with thick pipe and cement, which makes it virtually impossible for the chemicals to ever come into contact with underground water. “From Pennsylvania to New Mexico to Colorado and Texas – all of them have not found a single instance of contamination of aquifers,” Fleckenstein said [ed. maybe not]…

“We are all environmentalists and we want to make sure Colorado’s land and water are safe,” Dempsey said. Currently, petroleum companies are not legally required to reveal the mixture of chemicals they use in fracking. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission plans to vote on a measure in December that would make that mandatory.

More coverage from Sara Castellanos writing for the Aurora Sentinel. From the article:

Anadarko applied in August to drill up to 36 wells in a 30-square-mile patch of land near Aurora’s eastern edge. The area stretches from Gun Club Road east to Watkins Road and from East Yale Avenue north to East Colfax Avenue. Anadarko also hopes to drill as many as 24 other wells around rural Arapahoe County.

The mood in the room at Arapahoe County Centre Point Plaza, where more than 50 people gathered, was much calmer than previous meetings on the topic of fracking like the one held last month at the Community College of Aurora.
Still, opponents of fracking said they’re concerned the technique will pollute drinking water, cause property values to decrease, and contaminate the environment. And they said Arapahoe County officials should be concerned about those things as well.

“I just don’t understand how they’re going to protect our water,” said Sandy Toland, who lives in southeast Aurora.
Aurora Water officials have said in previous fracking meetings that they will take all measures necessary to ensure that drinking water is safe. Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said at a meeting last month that fracking occurs between 6,000 and 8,000 feet below the earth’s surface, whereas drinking water aquifers are typically less than 1,000 feet deep…

“I think it’s wonderful so many people care,” said Nancy Jackson, Arapahoe County Commissioner. “There’s really so much uncertainty and so much nervousness around this that I think it’s really important that we have these kind of educational opportunities for folks.” She said the county will be sifting through residents’ suggestions before the county approves the Oil and Gas Regulations proposal after the final public hearing on Dec. 13.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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