Will the pro-energy-industry advertising campaign costing thousands of dollars go down the drain with this latest oil and gas chemical mishap near Parachute?
Energy companies and their lobbying partners are fighting proposed new rules that would tighten state regulations concerning wildlife protection, wastewater storage and chemical use. In a statewide newspaper, radio and TV advertising campaign, the industry has taken the position that Colorado’s economy will be negatively affected if the state’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission adopts more stringent drilling standards.
Proponents of the new rules say energy development needs to be done responsibly to protect the environment and human health.
Right now, without COGCC oversight and state laws, Parachute-area guide and outfitter Ned Prather would have little recourse for his problem. On June 2, he took a drink of water from his cabin’s natural spring, which sent him to the hospital with throat problems. He filed a complaint with the COGCC, which had a chemical analysis done: traces of benzene, a proven carcinogen, were found in Prather’s spring water that exceeded the state’s Water Quality Control Commission water standards.
After the test results were in, the COGCC issued alleged violation notices to Nonsuch Natural Gas, Marathon Oil Co., Williams Production RMT and Petroleum Development Corp., which have oil and gas wells near Prather’s cabin. Wastewater pits at well sites may be a source of contamination. Williams Production is supplying fresh water to Prather while the investigation continues.
In the meantime, it could take more than an advertising campaign to convince state officials that more stringent oversight rules aren’t needed for the oil and gas industry.