Thursday, January 12, 2012
Fracking to expand on county land
Boulder County is bracing for a frack job, and not just in Longmont and Erie.
County officials confirm that oil and gas companies, primarily Encana, are preparing to drill on several sites in the county during 2012, including seven open space properties involving 48 wells. All are expected to be subject to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” That is the extraction method of choice in the Wattenberg Field, a large bed of natural gas that extends into Boulder County, primarily east of Highway 287 between Longmont and Broomfield.
This time, county officials hope the impacts won’t be as severe as in 2006 and 2007, when drilling operations rendered some county-owned agricultural land virtually unusable.
Erie residents, following an outcry by Longmont residents and a recent Longmont City Council moratorium on new drilling applications, have voiced concerns about hydraulic fracturing near homes and schools due to worries about health threats. Fracking, a long-used approach employing water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas and oil, has recently gained notoriety in part because of concerns that it could cause illness through groundwater contamination or other means.
Boulder County officials say that, aside from the health worries about fracking, the drilling operations themselves can be harmful, especially on agricultural lands.
In 2006 and 2007, the impacts of drilling rendered some open space lands unusable for farming…