Nuclear-blast-site ‘guinea pig’ sues over gas drilling

Rulison resident Marion Wells, who last summer told the Colorado Independent she was an oil and gas industry “guinea pig,” recently bit back with a lawsuit against Williams Companies, the largest natural producer on the Western Slope.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Wells, whose home is about 10 miles from the Project Rulison nuclear blast site, is suing Williams for building too large of a well pad for drilling on her property, as well as failing to remove construction materials and drilling waste. Those, Wells contends, are violations of her surface-use agreement.

Wells has been a frequent critic of the industry on a number of topics, including the failed 1969 underground detonation of a 43-kiloton by the Atomic Energy Commission. The federal government was trying to free up natural gas with the explosion but produced gas that was too radioactive for commercial sale.

Now energy companies want to drill closer and closer to the blast site, generating fear among some local residents.

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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