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Your Letters

Post IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

In a testimony on a draft study report – Evaluation of Impacts to Underground sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs: Subject: Federal Register Aug. 28, 2002, Volume 67, Number 10 – Mr. John Bredehoeft, a hydrogeologist of 32 years service, stated that Coalbed methane (CBM) is an energy source that is associated with underground drinking water, some of the best aquifers. Furthermore, he argued, the current development of CBM is a direct conflict between national/state energy policy and the preservation of USDW (United States Drinking Water). He continued his report stating that the use of petroleum based hydraulic fracture fluids during CBM drilling will make some private water wells unusable. At the time this letter was written (2003), the Piceance Basin had only 50 wells (numbers gathered in year 2000). He argued that hydraulic fracturing would be pushed to stimulate well production in all the basins and contamination will increase as development proceeds. And so it has.The problem fluids in hydraulic fracturing – fluids that exceed the drinking water standards – are benzene, naphthalene, 1-methylnapthalene, 2-methylnaphalene, aromatics and methanol. Bredehoeft estimated that fluid recovery is only 25% to 61% of the injected fluids. In undisturbed conditions, groundwater moves slowly so these contaminants will remain in an aquifer for long periods of time – years, decades or longer. The EPA has said that the use of water-based frac’ing fluids will eliminate problems caused from the products that are currently used in “problem fluid” hydraulic fracturing. Alabama, a very Republican conservative state (my words), has successfully regulated the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids associated with CBM and does not allow any chemicals to exceed the drinking water standards. The Bredehoeft letter was written before the Piceance Basin explosion, but as he stated, contamination will make some aquifers unusable. An aquifer is a large amount of water to lose. What then are we waiting for? Unusable water. Gas in our wells. No man’s land? Health problems. Contamination of the Colorado and other streams? Where are our leaders? Alabama and not Colorado?Alice GustafsonGlenwood Springs

The guest commentary by Kathy Hall in the Aug. 16 Post Independent reaches a new high in slanted, misleading and misinformation. It must be very galling to have to praise the Colo. Oil & Gas Conservation Commission’s new oil and gas rules – at the same time her employers are suing them in court to get the rules rescinded – in order to show the proposed new frac’ing law is not needed. Lets look at a few of her statements such as, “… there hasn’t been a single case of contamination by hydraulic fracturing fluids …” It should be, “there hasn’t been a single case proven because the exact types and amounts of chemicals used are not released to state regulating agencies.” Case in point, the Prather spring is contaminated by benzene, but with three companies drilling nearby and all claiming they didn’t do it, how do you prove who did? The problem is with wells being drilled close to domestic wells and no monitoring of potable aquifers required before or after drilling, who knows what is happening. Contamination is usually discovered by people getting sick. You may think natural gas is absolutely essential to your well being. But, I think the need for good drinking water will trump that. Ms. Hall’s insinuation that guar, potassium chloride and gel are the only chemicals involved in frac’ing is a gross misrepresentation. No one is questioning the need for natural gas or that frac’ing is a viable recovery technique. But, no one can determine all the natural fractures present or where they extend to, and humans do make mistakes. What we are asking is that when an upset condition occurs with aquifer contamination, the industry be required to mitigate and clean up the contamination. I know that is very expensive but that is a cost of doing business, not a burden for the taxpayer to assume.Bob ElderkinSilt

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