Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said the effort was the first of its kind and was needed to build trust with the public and fight doubts and "paranoia" about the effects of hydraulic fracturing operations.
"The best way to fight back on that kind of misinformation is to be transparent ... to clearly demonstrate beyond any possible doubt that this doesn't happen," he told the Colorado Oil & Gas Association's Energy Epicenter conference in Denver.
The water sampling effort will be a statewide, voluntary program where groundwater samples would be collected by a third-party, with oversight and monitoring by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The department would also hold onto all the sampling data, which would allow it to evaluate trends and water quality, Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper also said many larger drillers, representing 90% of all the wells set to be drilled in 2011, have already signed up for the program. He said he is hoping for near 100% participation.
Years from now we may see some horrific water contamination but let's be realistic with your water testing campaign. You appear to 'fight fracking fears' with demonstrations that indicate negative contamination results.
We advise you test the deep injection wells and publish the chemical analytical results now so that the citizens of Colorado have future chemical benchmarks of non-point source pollution sites. We also strongly urge you to hire more field inspectors to prevent surface contamination as well.
Is the state in collision with its mission statement? Bullet point number four: 'The prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental impacts.' Prevention is a proactive approach of employing mitigating factors. It may appear that adaptive 'too-late' management is once again haunting us.
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