The fatal explosion in April in Firestone, Colorado has increased scrutiny on the oil and gas industry in the state. How close is too close when it comes to setbacks for wells near homes and occupied buildings? Some communities, like Broomfield, are trying to establish concrete rules for drilling nearby. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson explores the conflicts that arise when oil and gas production comes to your town.
When oil and gas drilling bumps up next to homes and communities, there are tensions. That has long been evident in Colorado, where a handful of cities have fought to ban the practice within their borders. Now, state regulators are considering some new rules which would would give local governments more input over oil and gas development.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force are meeting to find compromises around oil and gas drilling in the state. Members are hoping to settle on policy recommendations for the Governor and the legislature during two days of meetings early next week.
In Colorado, the debate over pumping pressurized water underground to extract oil and natural gas has turned local and state governments into rivals. When one city banned fracking altogether, the state launched two lawsuits.
There are plenty of similarities in the ongoing fracking debate in Texas and Colorado, but the parallels end when it comes to how oil companies and politicians are dealing with the public’s questions. While concerned residents and anti-fracking groups fight to regulate or ban fracking, oil companies in each state have responded in their own way, as Zain Shauk and Bradley Olson reported for Bloomberg Business Week:
In Texas, drillers are doing their noisy in-your-face fracking as usual. Meanwhile, on a small farm about an hour from the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the oil industry is giving fracking a makeover, cutting back on rumbling trucks and tamping down on pollution. Of course, the fracking battle is not limited to these two states. Various cities and counties across the country have passed 430 measures to ban or restrict the practice, according to Food and Water Watch.