Senate hears woman’s water well woes
The story of Laurie Amos’ contaminated water well and subsequent health problems was on the lips of Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., last week. Jeffords was introducing a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing fluids under the Safe Water Drinking Act.Amos contends that her water well was contaminated by fracturing chemicals from four wells EnCana drilled in 2001 near her house in Silt. She believes one particular chemical, 2-BE, caused the rare adrenal gland tumor doctors diagnosed her with in 2003.The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued EnCana a notice of alleged violation but did not impose a fine. COGCC has said the contamination of the water well was not due to natural gas production.”Frac’ing” as it is commonly called, is part of the oil and gas production process. Fluids and other components are injected into a well bore under high pressure to force the release of oil or gas from rock formations. One frac’ing fluid in the production of natural gas is diesel fuel, which contains volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, known to cause cancer. “We need to do the right thing and take action now to protect our nation’s drinking water supply,” Jeffords said in introducing the legislation. “According to the oil and gas industry, 90 percent of our oil and gas wells will be accessed through hydraulic fracturing. Congress and the EPA have to work together to provide a consistent and safe supply of drinking water for all Americans.””In Colorado, surface owners have serious concerns about the gas industry and they don’t have many resources available to them,” Amos said. “I’ve spent months trying to get some resolution in Garfield County and Denver, and I was beating my head against the wall, especially with the COGCC.”Jeffords’ bill would ban the use of diesel fuel and other hazardous chemicals and would also require states to regulate fracturing.Environmental groups have taken issue with a 2004 report by the EPA that said frac’ing does not need federal regulation because it poses no threat to drinking water safety.Amos spent time last month lobbying legislators in Washington, D.C., to vote against the federal energy bill that would support the EPA’s contention that frac’ing fluid does not need to be regulated.”For three days I went from office to office, and evidently my story made its way to Sen. Jeffords’ office,” she said. “He told my story. I felt encouraged to know that my story was being heard and appreciated and repeated.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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