Fracking water 
‘drop in bucket,’
 attorney argues

PARACHUTE — Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development uses an insignificant portion of Colorado’s water supply, and the practice hasn’t been shown to contaminate that supply, a water attorney for the industry told the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board this week.

But some Garfield County residents worried that the practice results in removal of water from the water cycle, and took issue with Kent Holsinger’s contention that fracking hasn’t contaminated groundwater.

Holsinger is a former assistant director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and has represented energy companies and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association on water issues.

He said fracking, which involves high-pressure pumping of fluids into wells to crack open formations and foster oil and gas flow, uses only about 20,000 acre feet of water a year, or about a tenth of a percent of the state’s total water supply.

That’s “barely a proverbial drop in the bucket” compared to about 86 percent for agriculture, he said.

Fracking has occurred over many decades without contaminating groundwater, and it is in the industry’s interests to prevent that because if it occurs the oil and gas resource is lost, he said.

“At $5 million a pop for (developing) horizontal wells, I would think the companies are going to probably be pretty careful about that,” Holsinger said.

Rick Roles lives south of Rifle and long has contended that his health has suffered and he’s lost livestock due to chemical exposure from local gas development. He said when residents sue energy companies over toxic water concerns, the companies only accept settlements that include nondisclosure clauses.

“So they state that there’s never been any water contaminated because nobody’s been allowed to talk about it,” he said.

Holsinger said most Colorado water used in fracking doesn’t go back into the water cycle, with some of what comes back to the surface having to be disposed of in injection wells. But he said the water, even if lost, annually produces billions of dollars worth of oil and gas.

“All in all I’d say it’s a very small price to pay,” he said.

Some water is recycled by companies for use in other frack jobs. Stacy Stein of Carbondale said that while she appreciates the recycling efforts, “It really concerns me that a lot of the water used in fracking is removed from future use.

“… I think that we need to do more to be able to not take this resource, inject it into the ground and never see it again for generations and generations and generations,” she said.

Holsinger said water use for fracking has proven to be a boon to farmers and ranchers who in some cases are leasing their water for that purpose, he said.

“Agriculture is making more money in some cases leasing their water rights to oil and gas than raising crops,” Holsinger said.


COMMENTS

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Holsinger must have his head in fracking sand or elsewhere if he believes that there are no negative impacts on water with fracking.  To compare gas and oil use of water that cannot be reclaimed, thus trucking to holding ponds, with agriculture that provides for the very food and water he consumes is ignorant.

Oh wait, he is a lawyer for oil and gas companies, that gives him all the credibility he needs.

And directly to Holsinger,  the price to pay is yet to come and it will be hell when the water is not suitable for consumption.  That drinking gas and oil won’t go far in sustaining life as we know it!

We will never run out of potable water for centuries. It may come to piping / trucking in desalinized water from the coastal oceans or the melting of icebergs, but potable water will always be available. If we were to run out of potable water, the resulting wars and collapse of society, (which is on the way from other causes anyway) will create bigger problems than just water. I really don’t think our society will allow that to happen.

If we were to stop fracking, the resultant skyrocketing costs of energy would accelerate our collapse of society. Millions of everyday consumer items we use involve the use of petroleum products either in the energy used to make them, or in the ingredients of the item itself and most often, both. $10 a gallon gasoline and $1000 a month home energy bills are something most people don’t want to see. But it is very likely to happen if fracking is banned and the per well production volume is greatly reduced.

Maybe M. Todd Miskel needs to attend a water course at CMU. Somebody needs to tell him that all projections are that Colorado will have a water shortage by 2050. That is not centuries away.

I don’t need to attend a college course to know that most of Colorado water issues are mainly political in origin. Too much of our water is sold down the river (pun intended) to other states like California. I read it in several newspapers all the time. If 2050 is the big year, then we better get building those water pipelines and desalinization plants pretty soon.

By the way, I just looked up that Japan is currently paying $7.00 a gallon for gasoline. That’s what happens when you have no domestically available petroleum reserves, and have to import all your petroleum. Do we want to go back to relying on the middle east?

OOPS! we better not go back to relying on the middle east:

Turkey & Eritrea - $9.00+ per gallon for gas, Middle east unrest blamed for pricing.

Venezuela with large reserves and heavy government subsidies: $.06 per gallon. Yep that’s right…6 cents a gallon. Maybe we can talk BHO in to subsidizing our oil companies to get our gas prices down..OH WAIT! he’s trying to kill the coal and petroleum industries with his anti carbon initiatives.

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