Exposed: Fracking in Floodplains Led to Major Oil Spill in Colorado River

Search form

Exposed: Fracking in Floodplains Led to Major Oil Spill in Colorado River

Exposed: Fracking in Floodplains Led to Major Oil Spill in Colorado River
Fri, 9/20/2013 - by EcoWatch
This article originally appeared on EcoWatch

A damaged oil tank dumped 5,250 gallons of oil into the South Platte River south of Milliken, Colo., on Wednesday. Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action said in a statement Wednesday night that the spill “exemplifies the danger” of drilling and fracking in floodplains.

“This state of Colorado and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must force Anadarko [the owner of the oil tank], to clean it up—no matter the cost—and make reparations to the public, including paying fines and enforcing the Clean Water Act which may include civil and criminal penalties,” said Wockner.

“In addition, the state must initiate new rules for drilling and fracking near rivers, streams and in floodplains that better protect the public and the environment.”

As reported on EcoWatch Tuesday, displaced condensate tanks near Greely and Kersey, CO, used to store waste liquid from drilling operations, have tipped over and are damaged from the severe flooding that has hit the region. Phillip Doe explained in his article that Colorado regulations do not require these tanks be secured to the ground. These tanks vary in size, but when full they contain between 12,000 and 20,000 gallons of liquid.

Wednesday night, Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed Colorado resident and Salon columnist David Sirota on The Last Word on MSNBC regarding the oil spill on the South Platte River.

“I think when you look at a lot of the west, the west has become essentially an energy colony. The energy industry dictates orders to the governments in the west and people forget that Colorado is one of the biggest natural gas reserves in the entire world not just the U.S.,” said Sirota in the interview.

“Here you have $4 billion of fossil fuel investment on a floodplain in the era of climate change. Now months after the Government Accountability Office said that individuals in the government need to be looking at climate change and are not looking at climate change when making permit decisions, months after that happened, guess what, President? We have a climate-enhanced change, intensified flood hitting in the middle of energy country now,” Sirota continued.

“You have got, as you showed, the breaking news of oil spills and major riverways. And, here’s the thing. This shows that what we are talking about here is not just a situation that affects one city or a couple of counties. The South Platte River, which you just mentioned, goes all the way out to Nebraska and goes all the way out and filters into the Ogallala Aquifer which serves much of the middle of the country.”

According to The Gazette, hard-hit Weld County has the highest number of active oil and gas wells in the state at 20,554—more than a third of the statewide total of 51,228. Yuma County to the east has the third highest number of active wells at 3,343.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has oil-absorbing booms in the water north of the confluence of the St. Vrain and South Platte Rivers. According to The Denver Post, Anadarko, the second-largest operator in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, has shut about 10 percent of its operations—250 tank batteries and 670 wells.

Originally published by EcoWatch

Article Tabs

The coalition was set to deliver more than 200,000 signatures to the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, calling for transparency and justice in police killings.

Divestment is less about denying fossil fuel companies the financial resources to operate – it's more about denying them reputation, legitimacy and “social license.”

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

Two political philosophers, Sheldon Wolin and John Ralson Saul, call for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago

This isn't just a right to revolt, it's a call to revolt, an outright slam against apathy and nonresistance.

Posted 4 days 5 min ago

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Posted 3 days 2 hours ago

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago

In times of crisis, the term “protect the women and children” might still come to mind.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Two political philosophers, Sheldon Wolin and John Ralson Saul, call for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Sign Up