By Jennifer Oldham -
Feb 3, 2012
Proposed drilling on a former bombing range that contains unexploded munitions and a landfill promptedColorado lawmakers this week to introduce a bill that would require rules for fracking near toxic-waste sites.
“This is quite immediately a public health and safety issue,” said State Senator Morgan Carroll, a Democrat who co-sponsored the measure. “The room for error here is limited.”
With the measure, Colorado joins other states, includingWest Virginia, New York and Ohio, seeking to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which sand, water and chemicals are forced into rock under pressure, cracking it and releasing oil and natural gas.
In January, the Colorado State Land Board signed a tentative $137 million agreement with ConocoPhillips to lease oil and gas resources underneath 21,048 acres on the bombing range, said Davy Kong, a ConocoPhillips (COP) spokeswoman.
The Niobrara Shale formation extends from southeasternWyoming through northeastern Colorado and underneath the range, which is partly held in trust by the land board and includes the Aurora Reservoir, which provides recreation and drinking water for nearby residents.
There are 4,000 unexploded munitions on the former Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range, which was used by the U.S. Army during World War II, Carroll said, as well as a landfill listed under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund toxic-waste cleanup program because of contaminated ground water.