The oil drilling boom along Colorado’s Front Range is generating a lot of tax revenue for cash-strapped governments. But it’s also putting a strain on state regulators whose job it is to make sure all the drilling and well sites aren’t polluting.
There are now more than 47,000 active oil and gas wells in Colorado, but the state employs just seventeen inspectors to keep tabs on them. One solution being floated is to allow local governments to hire their own inspectors to ease some of the workload. But it’s getting mixed reviews across the state.
Governor John Hickenlooper is praising a proposal by the Obama Administration that would require oil and gas companies drilling on federal lands to disclose the chemicals they use in the process known as hydraulic fracturing.
The Obama administration today released a new set of rules for oil and gas drilling on public land. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, the rules are meant to keep companies from polluting water when they use the engineering technique known as fracking.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Hydraulic fracturing is what made the current drilling booms possible. Companies force hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to open up cracks in the rock and make the oil or natural gas flow faster.
Saying that the rules would "make sure that fracturing operations conducted on public and Indian lands follow common-sense industry best practices," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this morning issued proposed regulations that would:
-- Require "public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations on federal lands."
-- Ensure that "wells used in fracturing operations [on public lands] meet appropriate construction standards."
-- Require operators to "put in place appropriate plans for managing flowback waters from fracturing operations."