Colorado's Natural Gas Exploration & Water Contamination

Hayes, Oakley (2013) Colorado's Natural Gas Exploration & Water Contamination. In: 8th Annual Natural & Behavioral Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium Program, April 18, 2013, Fort Lewis College.

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    Colorado has a long history of natural gas exploration. The style and amount of exploration have changed over time. New, more efficient processes for extracting natural gas have been developed. These new technologies have increased the amount of gas exploration in Colorado. This increase has coincided with economic gains to both the state, and the natural gas industry. These economic gains have come at the cost of contaminating state water supplies. This contamination caught the eye of the national government, forcing the development of federal regulation, as well as the formation of a state regulatory agency. These regulations and regulators were set up to ensure that natural gas exploration was performed in a safe manner. There are many rules in place to protect water resources from gas exploration processes. Unfortunately, the gas industry has been exempted from key sections of the country’s major water protection laws. This, coupled with a meager enforcement staff at both the state and federal levels, has led to countless water contamination incidents in Colorado. This contamination results in harm to human health and reduces the amount of clean water in an arid state. The main issues—regarding gas exploration and water contamination—that must be addressed are the exemptions from federal laws, and the lack of enforcement at both the state and federal levels. Forcing the natural gas industry to adhere to U.S. water protection laws by amending the Energy Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act are key steps towards protecting water resources. Once the gas industry is subject to these laws, the enforcement staff for the state and federal levels must be increased. This will ensure that Colorado’s water is protected while natural gas exploration is occurring.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
    Created by Student or Faculty: Student
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Colorado, natural gas, water contamination, water quality, water pollution, water supply, environmental aspects
    Subjects: School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences > Environmental Studies
    NBS Symposium
    Depositing User: Alejandro Marquez
    Date Deposited: 06 May 2013 11:17
    Last Modified: 06 May 2013 11:17

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