Glenwood city council supports removal of oil and gas exemption |

Glenwood city council supports removal of oil and gas exemption

John Gardner
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Glenwood Springs city council is considering supporting an effort to remove a current exemption of the oil and gas industry’s hydraulic fracturing process of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

City Council discussed the matter at its May 7 meeting and decided to draft a letter to Colorado’s congressional delegation in support of removing the exemption, in part, because of issued drilling leases in the Thompson Creek area. Thompson Creek is the largest sub-watershed of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Frank Smith, a representative of the nonprofit environmental organization Western Colorado Congress, asked council to support the repeal of the exemption saying it’s only in place for the process of hydraulic fracturing, which is used in 90 percent of all oil and gas wells. And since the exemption went into place drilling companies are not required to disclose what chemicals are used. It’s also unknown the volume that is left in the ground after operations have stopped.

Interim president for the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, a sister organization with the Western Colorado Congress, Randy Fricke said this is the second attempt to try and repeal the exemption behind legislation introduced by representative Diana Degette, but that support from Garfield County municipalities is needed. The citizen’s alliance is seeking support from other Garfield County municipalities.

“The longer the companies are drilling in our area, the more it’s going to affect our water supply,” Fricke said.

According to the May 7 meeting minutes, Councilor Stephen Bershenyi said the issue isn’t a current threat to Glenwood’s potable water supply, but he agreed with supporting any legislation that will remove the exemption.

Mayor Bruce Christensen also agreed saying Glenwood Springs has historically taken a position on important regional issues and that he supports a letter to the congressional delegation asking for removal of the exemption.

Councilman Dave Sturges commented that there is no disclosure of the chemicals in fracturing fluids so it is unknown whether they are harmful or not. He told the other councilors that disclosure of the chemicals is the issue and he wouldn’t support the resolution until a letter was drafted.

Council will discuss a draft of the letter at tonight’s meeting. A draft copy can be downloaded at

Other agenda items:

– Public hearing for the City of Glenwood Springs Wastewater Treatment Facility Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Assessment.

– Conceptual review of the new Sewer Lift Station

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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